26 stories of solutions and progress from January 2023

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Until now, Squirrel News has only looked back at the stories of the year. From now on, readers can expect a monthly recap of the the most important and exciting solutions. In January 2023, we saw fewer traffic deaths, more 988 lifeline users, zero-interest loans for Black home buyers, and literary treasure hunts.

Death penalty and criminal defamation abolished in Zambia

Following 24 other African nations, Zambia has abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Source: Premium Times Nigeria

Jersey City records zero traffic deaths on its streets

Jersey City’s roads have not had a single traffic death in 12 months. In 2018, the city adopted Vision Zero – an international plan for traffic safety that lowers speed limits and puts pedestrian safety first.

Source: Bloomberg

New York supervised injection site program cuts drug deaths to zero

Since 2019, drug users in New York have been able to inject into supervised sites. More than 2000 people used the facilities, which boast no on-site deaths.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

988 Lifeline sees increase in usage and funding in first months

More people are using the crisis support service, which has received funding increases in order to meet demand.

Source: NPR

How Niger halved postpartum haemorrhage fatalities at clinics

Severe bleeding after childbirth accounts for at least 25% of maternal mortality in developing countries. Researchers are counting on a three-step approach to prevent further deaths.

Source: BBC

US cancer deaths have been declining since 1991

Better treatment, more accurate detection and public awareness are just some of the factors that have steadily reduced cancer-related deaths in the US since 1991.

Source: CNN

Graduates develop AI-powered app that can identify cervical cancer

Dubbed “Smart Tampon,” the technology can be used to screen for the disease, providing potentially lifesaving insight to the public.

Source: CBS

Scottish government opposes new oil, gas projects

Scotland’s previous energy policy set a 2030 renewable energy target of 50%. Amid the energy crisis, Scottish officials say they can no longer favor the former approach.

Source: BBC

Innovative technologies to replace animals in drug research

In a departure from a 1938 congressional mandate, a newly signed US law authorizes drugmakers to use organs-on-chips or miniature tissue models instead of lab animals in safety trials.

Source: WIRED

South Africa and India collaborate to relocate cheetahs to national park

Cheetahs disappeared in India around 70 years ago. Now South Africa will provide the Asian nation with more than a hundred of its own cheetahs to populate national parks.

Source: Reuters

Gaza’s first boxing club for girls opens

The new facility gives girls the opportunity to practice their sport in a more suitable environment than beaches or rented spaces.

Source: The National

Hawaii makes preschool available for all pre-K children in the state

The island state plans to publicly fund preschool for an additional 9,200 children, in a bid to help all 3-4 year-olds have access to these programs.

Source: The Associated Press

Indigenous-led activists have successfully conserved millions of acres

Indigenous communities in Canada are setting aside millions of acres of land for conservation and research by making agreements with the Canadian government.

Source: Yes Magazine

Bubble barriers used to catch plastic before it enters the sea

A Dutch startup has developed a method to ‘catch’ water-borne plastic waste before it enters seas or oceans, using an innovative perforated tube. The technology is set to be implemented in other European waterways.

Source: positive news

Spain passes law forcing tobacco companies to clean up cigarette butts

Starting this year, tobacco companies will have to foot the bill for cleaning up discarded cigarette butts in Spain. Additionally, these companies will have to pay for informational ads discouraging citizens from littering.

Source: The Guardian

Belgian town rewards young people who arrive to parties sober – with beer

In an effort to combat youth drinking, the Belgian town of Balen has developed a program where partygoers can get free beer if they show up sober.

Source: BBC

British city aims to boost biodiversity through a ‘ring of blossom’

Birmingham has planted hundreds of fruit trees around the city to improve food sources, biodiversity and health.

Source: positive news

Zero-interest loans for Black homebuyers instead of reparations

A San Francisco Bay Area loan program called the Black Wealth Builders Fund provides low-to-moderate-income homebuyers in Black neighborhoods with zero-interest loans to cover the down payment on their first home.

Source: Prism Reports

Co-buying helps people of color and those in low-income communities buy homes

Buying a house with someone you know is becoming an increasingly popular affordable route to get off the renting cycle and onto the property ladder.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful / Next City

Conservationists preserve prairies by selling them—with a condition

Oregon ranchers are buying prairie grasslands from conservationists with an agreement to never develop the land, leaving the ecosystem pristine and intact.

Source: Reasons to be cheerful

The Sioux Chef’s Owamni restaurant wows critics – and decolonises cuisine

‘We need to reclaim our Indigenous foods,’ says Sean Sherman, the founding chef and co-owner of the award-winning Minneapolis eatery.

Source: The Guardian

To encourage reading, initiative takes kids on hidden book quest

A literary treasure hunt trend has hit the streets of Braidwood, a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Children can find books hidden in a variety of locations including parks and shop windows.

Source: ABC News

Pakistani town known for gun trade turns to local library

The area has been transforming its gun-runner reputation into one of a place of information and knowledge.

Source: VOA

Re-Entry 2.0 assists previously incarcerated individuals

It can be daunting for returning people to find resources and keep up with technology. This is where a network of people once affected by the justice system comes in.

Source: Next City

How citizen participation helped increase red squirrel population

In Scotland, locals were instrumental in conservation efforts that saw a rise in red squirrel population.

Source: BBC

Super sniffer dogs help save Italy’s vulnerable olive trees

For a decade now, Southern Italy’s olive trees have been plagued by a type of bacterium that is notoriously difficult to spot. Now an elite sniffer squad has been called in, as the remaining crops are at risk.

Source: BBC

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