Good News 2016

Louise Bourgeois' son gifts $4M West Village townhouse to Native American tribe

December, 2016

Louise Bourgeois' son gifts $4M West Village townhouse to Native American tribe

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, son of the celebrated sculptor Louise Bourgeois, is transferring the deed for his $4 million West Village townhouse to a non-profit organization run by the Lenape tribe, who were among the original Manhattanites. The 76-year-old architectural historian and activist told the New York Post, 'This building is the trophy from major theft.' Bourgeois explained his romance with the city and the fact that he feels guilty that he has profited from actions that have appalled him. “The right thing to do is to return it.”

Read the full story at: 6SQFT

Cigarette Smoking In The U.S. Continues To Fall

November, 2016

Cigarette Smoking In The U.S. Continues To Fall

The number of cigarette smokers in the United States has dropped by 8.6 million since 2005 - and that fall could be accelerated by a tobacco tax just passed in California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking rates have fallen from 21 percent of the adult population in 2005 to 15 percent in 2015, when the agency conducted its latest survey. The smoking rate fell by 1.7 percentage points between 2014 and 2015 alone - a substantial decline, according to a report Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Read the full story at: NPR

The world just agreed to the strongest protections ever for endangered animals

October, 2016

The world just agreed to the strongest protections ever for endangered animals

With some scientists predicting a sixth mass extinction, the world’s protectors of wildlife acted with a greater sense of urgency at a marathon meeting to toughen regulations against killing such endangered animals as sharks, manta rays and anteaters and trading their remains.

By the time the gathering in Johannesburg ended a day early Tuesday, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, had issued several trade bans, including one for the African grey parrot, favored by animal lovers for its ability to mimic human speech. CITES also moved to shut down the black-market trade of an exotic anteater called the pangolin, which is killed and sent mostly to China so its scaly skin can be roasted for traditional medicine.

Read the full story at: The Washington Post

How Michelle Obama quietly changed what Americans eat

September, 2016

How Michelle Obama quietly changed what Americans eat

Shortly after President Obama was elected to the White House in 2008, first lady Michelle Obama divulged some sensitive, personal details: The Obama children, Malia and Sasha, were gaining weight.

In interviews and speeches, she described her worry about her family’s health and a pediatrician’s warning that her daughters’ body mass index (BMI) was creeping up.

'Even though I wasn't exactly sure at that time what I was supposed to do with this information about my children's BMI,' the first lady said in 2010, 'I knew that I had to do something. I had to lead our family to a different way.'

How Michelle Obama quietly changed what Americans eat

That personal struggle became political. Obama has spent the bulk of her time in the White House doing something unprecedented for a 'mom-in-chief': pushing hard against childhood obesity. Today, her Let’s Move campaign is her highest-profile endeavor, far better known than her Joining Forces campaign to support service members and their families, or Let Girls Learn to advocate for girls’ education around the world.

Read the full story at: vox.com

Italy passes law to encourage all supermarkets to give unsold food to needy

August, 2016

Italy passes law to encourage all supermarkets to give unsold food to needy

The Italian government has overwhelmingly backed a new set of laws aimed at cutting down the vast amounts of food wasted in the country each year.

A bill passed by 181 Senators will encourage families to use 'doggy bags' to take home unfinished food after eating out and removes hurdles for farmers and supermarkets seeking to donate food to charity.

The goal to cut the five million tonnes of food wasted every year by at least one million tonnes was only opposed by two Senators and abstained from by one when put to a vote in Italy's upper house on 2 August.

Read the full story at: The Independent

Plastic bag use plummets in England since 5p charge

July, 2016

Plastic bag use plummets in England since 5p charge

Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year, the government has said.

In the six months after the levy was brought in last October, 640 million plastic bags were used in seven major supermarkets in England, it says.

In 2014, the waste reduction charity Wrap estimated the same shops had used 7.64 billion bags over the full year.

If that trend were to continue over the year this would be a drop of 83%.

It follows the pattern seen in the rest of the UK since the introduction of charges for bags.

Read the full story at: BBC News

India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, Smashing World Record

July, 2016

India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, Smashing World Record

More than 800,000 volunteers pitched in to help the country fight climate change.

Although the feat has yet to be certified by Guinness World Records, Indian officials have reported that volunteers planted a whopping 49.3 million tree saplings on July 11, blowing past the previous record for most trees planted in a single day.

That record, a mere 847,275 trees, was set by Pakistan in 2013.

A reported 800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh worked for 24 hours planting 80 different species of trees along roads, railways, and on public land. The saplings were raised on local nurseries.

Read the full story at: National Geographic

New US ivory regulations mark a victory in the fight to save elephants

July, 2016

New US ivory regulations mark a victory in the fight to save elephants

Setting an example for the world in the fight to save elephants, the United States has finalized new regulations that will help shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas.

The change in US elephant ivory policy shifts the burden to the seller to prove that a piece of ivory is legal—a significant advancement in enforcement efforts. It also ensures US consumers are not unknowingly complicit in the slaughter of elephants.

“Today, the US solidified its role as a leader in the fight to save elephants,” said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation at WWF. “The new regulations will make it much harder for criminals to use the United States as a staging ground for illegal ivory trade. They also send a strong signal to the international community that the US is committed to doing its part to save elephants in the wild.”

Read the full story at: World Wildlife Fund

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