33 stories on progress and solutions from 2022

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Coral, Mexico

To mark the end of 2022, we’re excited to present you with a compilation of the most interesting and powerful solutions-focused journalism Squirrel News shared this year—from children saved from Malaria to prisons without wardens and guns and much more.

More than one million African children inoculated with the first malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization declared that more than a million children in Kenya, Malawi and Ghana have received at least one dose of the first anti-malaria vaccine.

Source: France24

Life expectancy in Africa increases significantly

For a number of reasons, healthy life expectancy in Africa has increased by ten years between 2000 and 2019 – more than anywhere else in the world.

Source: DW

Historic change’: Number of poor people in India has decreased drastically

The number of poor people in India fell by about 415 million between 2005-06 and 2019-21. According to the UN, the ‘historic change” demonstrates that the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing global poverty at least by half is achievable.

Source: The Economic Times

Great Barrier Reef has highest coral cover in 36 years

Fast-growing species of branching and plate-like corals push cover up, but are also the preferred prey for crown-of-thorns starfish.

Source: The Guardian

Probiotics diet could save coral reefs

A Brazilian microbiologist has made the ground-breaking discovery that innoculating corals with probiotics can make them more resilient against climate change and environmental damage.

Source: RTBC

Historic COP27 deal to compensate countries vulnerable to climate disasters

The agreement reached at the climate summit in Egypt was ‘a step towards justice,’ according to the UN Secretary-General. It has been agreed that a fund will be established to assist poor nations with climate-related loss and damage.

Source: Bloomberg

For first time, youth take official ‘seat at the table’ at COP

The children of today and future generations will bear the brunt of the worsening climate change impacts. Being given a COP platform means young advocates can participate in policy discussions and promote cutting-edge initiatives.

Source: Euronews

A hundred UK companies sign up for four-day week with no loss of pay

In a big step forward, thousands of employees will be switched permanently to a four-day workweek without wage cuts.

Source: The Guardian

Germany to legalize cannabis use and limited possession for adults

Germany aims to make the possession and use of cannabis legal by 2024. Adults will be able to buy and grow the plant in limited quantities and possess no more than 30g for personal use.

Source: BBC

How Hawaii reduced its population of girls in prison to zero

While a decade ago more than 100 girls were imprisoned on the island’s only youth facility, now thanks to Mark Patterson, the facility’s administrator, no female minors are detained.

Source: NBC News

US launches 988 mental health hotline

The UN has been urging states to improve their health systems, saying there are nearly a billion people with mental conditions worldwide. Now the United States is heeding the call by introducing a support network patterned after 911.

Source: Bloomberg

Museums on prescription: Brussels tests cultural visits to treat anxiety

Psychiatrists in the city can now prescribe free visits to cultural venues to complement other treatments.

Source: The Guardian

Standup comedy course for men at risk of suicide wins NHS funding

After success in Bristol with trauma survivors, Comedy On Referral has been given NHS funding for vulnerable adults to learn standup comedy.

Source: The Guardian

Standup comedy for men at risk of suicide

In our podcast, we talked to Angie Belcher, the founder of Comedy on Referral. In this episode, Angie explains how she came up with the idea and how using self-satire on stage makes people stronger and more self-confident.

Source: Squirrel News

Pakistani comedians challenge gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms

Stand-up comedy has long been a male-dominated field in Pakistan. Now all-female comedy troupes are carving out a position for themselves in the industry.

Source: DW

World’s largest seagrass restoration project proves that ocean ecosystems can be revived

A 20-year project off the Virginia coastline has successfully restored water quality levels and promoted marine biodiversity.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful

Tasmania goes carbon negative

By reducing logging, the Australian state has become one of the first places in the world to have gone beyond carbon neutrality.

Source: ABC News (Australia)

The tallest building made from hemp is now in Cape Town

The 12-storey block is made of hemp shiv and the woody core of the cannabis plant. The new building is a sustainable solution for construction that is carbon negative and allows for emissions to be taken out of the atmosphere by the growth of the cannabis plant.

Source: Business Insider

Rainwater-harvesting hospital named world’s ‘best new building’

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) named a small health facility in Bangladesh the world’s best new building. The rural Friendship Hospital takes pride in its climate-conscious concept.

Source: The Guardian

First US neighborhood microgrid to provide backup power to Black neighborhood

The project is set to become the country’s first neighborhood-scale microgrid. Deemed as a potential model for communities, it will enable residents and hospitals to access power during outages.

Source: Canary Media

From adversity to university: homeless people get degrees

The University of Chichester gives people who have experienced homelessness access to higher education – “something that you wouldn’t have dreamed that you’d be doing”, one of them says.

Source: The Big Issue

Adversity to university: degrees for homeless people

In our podcast, we have talked with Becky Edwards and Darren Higginson who are part of the pioneering program at the University of Chichester that opens up access to higher education for people who have experienced homelessness.

Source: Squirrel News

Amazon workers in New York make history by voting to form union

‘Historic victory’ as Staten Island workers voted 2,654 to 2,131 in favour, in first successful US organizing effort in Amazon’s history.

Source: The Guardian

Millionaires call on governments worldwide to ‘tax us now’

A group of 102 wealthy people say “permanent wealth taxes on the richest” would reduce extreme inequality.

Source: The Guardian

Patagonia stock donated to environmental non-profit

The founder of the outdoor gear company, Patagonia, has decided to transfer 100% of his voting stock to an environmental trust. This stock is projected to provide the trust with 100 million dollars annually from dividends.

Source: ABC News

Open source seeds give small farmers opportunity to avoid agricultural patents

Farmers have been forced to buy expensive, patented seeds from large corporations. Now, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) has introduced seeds that are not restricted, allowing for more biodiversity in the industry.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful

‘Once in a generation’ scheme to restore nature in 22 areas across England

The landscape recovery scheme is being hailed by land managers and conservationists as the most ‘exciting and important’ step in a generation to restore lost biodiversity.

Source: The Guardian

Spanish city raises itself out of decline through pedestrianization

This Spanish city near the Portuguese border has reinvented its design over the last two decades in order to focus on pedestrian traffic.

Source: Euronews

Opium production down as communities in Mexico’s Golden Triangle turn to forestry

Four communities in Mexico’s ‘Golden Triangle’, an area known for opium and marijuana production, embarked on a sustainable forestry project to reduce dependence on illegal crop production. The project has helped lift the Tamazula municipality off the state’s poverty list, raise their income above the minimum wage and contain narcotrafficking.

Source: Monga Bay

How Nepal’s vulture restaurants help keep the birds from extinction

In Nepal, NGO and locals are working together to stop the decline in vulture populations whilst whilst solving other issues as well

Source: DW News

How $10 radios and taxi bikes are helping to end the mutilation of girls

Across the continent, young Africans are using their unique local knowledge and bargaining power to challenge beliefs about female genital mutilation.

Source: The Guardian

Trust-based incarceration in India’s open prisons

The convicted felons of Sanganer’s open prison, one of 88 in India, can leave the premises of the prison for 12 hours a day to visit families pursue careers – all based on mutual trust.

Source: Reasons to be cheerful

India’s open prisons

In our podcast, we have talked with researcher and activist Smita Chakraburtty who has studied India’s open prisons and contributed to their spreading in India. In this episode, she explains to us how the systems works and what benefits it has.

Source: Squirrel News

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