World’s first hydrogen-powered trains, duck ‘soldiers’ protecting vineyards, wiping out medical debt

“Ocean-Sunset-Manchester_United (Unterstriche beachten)”

In today’s edition of squirrel news, Germany puts the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains into use, South African vineyards employ ducks as guards and a non-profit wipes out 6.7 billion in US medical debt.

World’s first hydrogen-powered trains start operating in Germany

Lower Saxony will see the first train route operated by hydrogen-powered trains in the world. These environmentally-friendly trains will succeed older diesel models.

CNN Travel

South African vineyard employs 1600 flightless ducks to protect their crop

Ducks are used as an environmentally-friendly alternative to pesticides in South Africa. More than a thousand birds patrol the Vergenoegd Löw Wine estate, eating pests and producing natural fertilizer.

CNN Travel

Nonprofit forgives billions of dollars worth of medical debt

RIP Medical Debt has a simple methodology. It buys up US medical debt, then forgives it. Now the organisation also shares its model with hospitals to help identify cases where charity is needed.


White House makes federally-funded studies available without a paywall

A new policy put in place by the White House will make all federally-funded studies freely available. This changes a previous practice of hiding research behind a paywall for one year after publishing.


French drivers will be able to receive 4000€ if they swap their car for an electric bike

In an effort to lower pollution and free up traffic, the French government has come out with an initiative that will give an individual 4000€ if they trade their car for an electric bike.


The Netherlands leads the way in bee infrastructure

The Netherlands’ national pollinator strategy is aimed at protecting and revitalizing its bee and insect population. This is done through infrastructure developments, such as “honey highways”, zones reserved for flowers between roads, insect hotels and rooftop gardens.

Reasons to be cheerful

Migrants help develop heat and climate change resilient policies

Migrants from Honduras and the Marshal Islands are bringing their experience and knowledge regarding heat and environmental disasters to the US. Policymakers and locals in the United States have benefited from the insights learned from countries at higher risk of climate change.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

“Right to repair” scores another victory as “smart” tractor software is hacked

The software that limited the ability of farmers to fix their tractors without going to select dealerships has been “jailbroken.” It is a victory for the “right to repair” activists and also marks another case in which activists break through restrictive software to assist end users.

Positive News

New initiative to reforest 1.4 million hectares unites conservationists and farmers

New methods of regenerative agriculture guide an alliance of conservationists and farmers in Mexico, who seek to implement sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices in the state of Chiapas.


From the black rhino to the tiger, these 8 animal populations are recovering

A combination of habitat restoration and monitoring efforts has succeeded in assisting the recovery of eight, previously endangered species of animals. For example, Mainland eastern barred bandicoot is no longer “extinct in the wild”, while the number of grey whales has increased to almost 20000.


#25: India’s open prisons

In India’s open prisons, there are no wardens or guards, but inmates can live with their families instead. Researcher and activist Smita Chakraburtty has studied these prisons and contributed to their spreading in India. In our new podcast episode, she explains to us how the systems works and what benefits it has.

Squirrel News

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