Tag Archives: Good News

Hydropanels At Navajo Homes Take Much Needed Water Out Of Thin Air

Good News Network 
Sep 10, 2020

What if there was a way of pulling vapor from the atmosphere and bringing it through faucets as clean, drinkable water?

Harnessing the power of the sun, Zero Mass Water’s Source hydropanels do just that.

Navajo Power

Through a grant provided by the Unreasonable Group and Barclays Bank, an initial demonstration project is bringing this pioneering air-to-water technology to 15 Navajo households.

This project is being managed by Navajo Power, Public Benefit Corporation, and Arizona-based Zero Mass Water.

Already, the demonstration project is proving to be a hit. “We are so happy to see these systems come to our communities who have not had basic access to water for all of these years,” said Mae Franklin of the Cameron and Coalmine communities.

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But how exactly does this unique technology work?

While some of that answer is shrouded by proprietary trade secrecy and multiple patented inventions, we do know the hydropanels—powered by off-grid solar energy—have fans that draw air in the atmosphere and push it through what’s called a hygroscopic. From there, the trapped water vapor is extracted and gets condensed into liquid that’s collected in the reservoir of the hydropanel.

So that it has the ideal taste and composition, that collected water is then mineralized. Now it can be run through the faucet and is ready to drink.

The state-of-the-art technology doesn’t end there. Each Hydropanel connects to a cloud-based network and is monitored for performance and quality that way.

Source hydropanels are already well-established globally, with the technology currently supplying clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people in 45 countries through partnerships with governments, corporations, and development organizations.

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There’s potential for this technology to go bigger still: Similar to cellular telephones and renewable energy technologies, the scalability of Source enables hydropanels to be deployed at small residential homes, roof-mounted on schools or community halls, and even in “water farms” adjacent to entire communities.

“A standard, two-panel array, produces 4-10 liters of water each day, and has 60 liters of storage capacity,” said Cody Frisen, CEO of Zero Mass Water. In addition, each panel ”lasts for 15 years and utilizes solar power and a small battery to enable water production.”

As for the quality of the water? It ”exceeds the standards of every country where the systems have been deployed.”

“We are excited to help shine a light on the potential of Hydropanels to help solve the clean water access challenge our communities have been facing for decades,” said Clara Pratte, President of Navajo Power.

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“There are thousands of homes without water and this is a more cost-effective approach to getting clean water to these families. While our focus as a company is the development of large clean energy projects, our commitment to the well-being of Navajo communities is our north star, and we want to do everything we can to help the Nation mitigate the threats brought by the pandemic.”

Face-Masked Batman is ‘The Superhero to the Homeless’, Bringing Food to Them Across Santiago

Judy Cole 
Aug 22, 2020

The streets of Santiago, Chile may be a long way from Gotham City, but among its citizens dwells a true superhero. Far from being a fictional crime-solver, he’s a real-life hunger fighter who distributes food to the city’s homeless population on a regular basis.

With his Batmobile—or in this case, white SUV—fully stocked with a cargo of hot meals, he dons a shiny black costume complete with a cape and two masks (one with pointy comic book ears and eye slots; the other, for COVID-19 protection).

The self-proclaimed “Solidarity Batman” is doing his part to make life during Chile’s months’ long lockdown more bearable for some of those hardest hit by the current pandemic.

But this Batman’s do-good mission is about more than simply delivering food. Knowing that sometimes all it takes to nourish the soul is a little humor or a few kind words, he aims to feed people’s hearts as well as fill their stomachs.

He chose the Batman outfit to cheer people up, and it fosters a feeling of togetherness.

“Look around you, see if you can dedicate a little time, a little food, a little shelter, a word sometimes of encouragement to those who need it,” he told Reuters.

And, like Bruce Wayne, this modest caped-crusader prefers to keep his identity anonymous.

Yet, no matter who the man beneath the mask is by day, the message he delivers along with his meals is clear. As Simon Salvador, one thankful beneficiary of Batman’s compassionate outreach told Reuters, “It is appreciated…from one human to another.”

First Grader Turns Her Dream of Feeding Homeless People Into Reality –By Launching Her Own Foundation

Judy Cole 
Aug 21, 2020

Paris Williams is six years old. Like many of her first-grade peers, she’s adorable, but this little girl is also driven by a mission to help others who are less fortunate. So driven in fact, that she’s launched her own nonprofit foundation, Paris Cares, to feed the homeless in her area.

Paris’s mom, Alicia Marshall, says her daughter’s inspiration to become a hands-on good Samaritan was the title character of Cari Chadwick Deal’s children’s book, “One Boy’s Magic,” who also uses his powers to feed the homeless.

“She was reading books at school about giving and she came home one day, and she was like, ‘I want to give back to the homeless. What can we do to help the homeless?’ Marshall told KTVI FOX 2 News. “We kind of brainstormed some ideas and we came up making care packages.”

“I wanted to give something to the homeless,” Paris explained, “like the boy in the book.”

Paris might not have had a magic wand, but she didn’t let that stop her.

Turning instead to more practical magic and the help of her parents, Paris assembled and delivered (via non-contact drop off) more than 500 care packages containing food and other essentials to downtown St. Louis’s homeless, as well as handing out approximately 250 meals to essential workers.

But Paris wasn’t satisfied to simply donate goods. It was important to her to forge a bond with the people she was trying to help. After filling each package herself, Paris drew a picture or wrote a personal message on each one to create the kind of human connection so many of the homeless sorely lack.

“It makes me really proud because with everything that’s going on in the world this small child who is entering first grade has such a big heart,” Marshall said. “She wants to give. She wants to help others.”

Paris has already accomplished a lot by anyone’s standards, but if she has her way, she’s only just getting started. She’s looking toward holding a Thanksgiving hot-food drive for the homeless and also hopes to start a Christmas toy fund for kids in need.

“I want to inspire people to do good things,” Paris said.

Out of the mouths of babes, it seems, comes not only wisdom and truth, but kindness and generosity as well.

If you’d like to pitch in to help Paris feed the homeless, donations can be made directly to Paris Cares Foundation, or you can purchase Paris Cares masks and T-shirts via her Bonfire Account.

(WATCH Paris’ adorable story below.)

In Just 2 Years, 4 Amazing Animals Rediscovered on ‘25 Lost Species’ List’

Andy Corbley 
Aug 20, 2020

Just over two years since Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) promoted their ’25 Most Wanted’ list of ‘lost species’, a series of rediscoveries has reduced that number down to 20.

On expeditions around the world, in recent months scientists have been going into the deepest jungles, and to the remotest parts of various countries, all in the name of preserving biodiversity.

Take a look at the charismatic flora and fauna that are now known to still be with us, and celebrate these fascinating finds.

From ‘Lost’ to Found

1. Jackson’s Climbing Salamander
Last Seen: 1975. Rediscovered: 2017

Credit: Carlos Vásquez Almazán

The first species on the 25 Most Wanted list to be rediscovered happened by complete accident, and actually occured months before a GWC-planned expedition to Guatemala’s Cuchumatanes Mountain range to look for the animal.

Discovered by a guard at the GWC-founded Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve while on patrol, the story of the “golden wonder” rediscovery will make your heart swell with joy, and includes the culmination of herpetologist Carlos Vásquez Almazán’s life’s work, as well as the rediscovery of two other lost salamander species in the process.

Long and gold like crystallized honey, with a black racing stripe down its back, the salamander’s rediscovery was “for me personally… a moment of sheer joy,” says Vasquez.

2. Wallace’s Giant Bee
Last Seen: 1981. Rediscovered: 2019

38 years is a long time to go without seeing the world’s largest species of bee, one that possesses a wingspan of 2.5 inches. Four times larger than the European honey bee, this giant insect was rediscovered in 2019 on the Indonesian islands known as the North Moluccas.

You can hear the passion in Clay Bolt, the man responsible for its rediscovery, when he spoke to GWC about what it was like to scratch the second species off the 25 Most Wanted List.

“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore, to have real proof right there in front of us in the wild,” said Bolt, who spent years researching the right habitat type with trip partner, Eli Wyman.

“To actually see how beautiful and big the species is in life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible. My dream is to now use this rediscovery to elevate this bee to a symbol of conservation in this part of Indonesia, and a point of pride for the locals there.”

3. Velvet Pitcher Plant
Last Seen: 1918. Rediscovery: 2019.

Illustration credit: Originally published in Danser, B.H. 1928

As mentioned above, this species disappeared from the scientific record just as quickly as it entered. Hailing from the bizarre world of carnivorous plants, the velvet pitcher plant was rediscovered in May 2019 on the slopes of a mountain called Kemul, which GWC describes as sitting in the “most remote, last-remaining large patch of true wilderness in Borneo.”

4. Silver-Backed Chevrotain
Last Seen: 1990. Rediscovery: 2019.

Credit: Global Wildlife Conservation

Knocking three species off the 25 Most Wanted list in a year, GWC was delighted when they were able to confirm the existence of the aptly-named “fanged mouse deer”—the first mammal on the list to be rediscovered.

Scientists know almost nothing about the general ecology or conservation status of this species, making it one of the highest mammal conservation priorities in the Greater Annamite Mountains of Indochina, one of GWC’s focal wildlands.

Using local knowledge, the GWC-backed research team placed camera traps around areas where locals claimed to have seen a chevrotain with a silver stripe down its back, distinguishing it from the lesser mouse deer, which is far more common.

This resulted in 275 photos of the species. The team then set up another 29 cameras in the same area, this time recording 1,881 photographs of the chevrotain over five months.

5. Somali Sengi
Last Seen: 1968. Rediscovered: 2020.

Credit: Steven Heritage at Global Wildlife Conservation

The discovery, as GNN reports, of the “tiny elephant shrew” marks the first African animal on the 25 Most Wanted list to be found, as well as the only one to be found living in relatively stable and healthy populations.

A distant relative of goliaths like the manatee and elephant, this tiny incarnation of trunked-mammals races around as fast as an olympic sprinter, vacuuming up ants with its nose in much the same way as the aardvark.

An expedition beginning in 2019 looked to utilize local knowledge about the sengi from the people of Djibouti, rather than the country of the sengi’s namesake. The locals got it completely right, and it took only one trap filled with coconut, peanut butter, and yeast to find the little guy.

“It was amazing,” Steven Heritage, a research scientist at Duke University in the US, told the Guardian. “When we opened the first trap and saw the little tuft of hair on the tip of its tail, we just looked at one another and couldn’t believe it. A number of small mammal surveys since the 1970s did not find the Somali sengi in Djibouti—it was serendipitous that it happened so quickly for us.”

Looking forward

Using renowned and talented artists to help depict the 25 Most Wanted on the GWC website, the conservation charity tries to portray the animals as works of art, and their potential extinction as akin to losing a priceless painting or sculpture.

GWC is currently awaiting a DNA test result to confirm whether or not the Fernandina Galapagos Giant Tortoise can become the first reptile on the list to be rediscovered. So who knows? Soon that Most Wanted list may go down to just 19.

Once Left For Dead, The Aral Sea Is Now Brimming With Life Thanks to Global Collaboration

Andy Corbley 
Aug 17, 2020

Kissing the borders of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the North Aral Sea is experiencing an ecological resurgence following a long period of decline.

In 2005, a $86 million project from the World Bank made repairs to dykes and paid for the construction of an eight-mile dam.

This project raised water levels of the sea by 11-feet in just seven months—going far beyond scientists’ hopes of a rise over three years.

The Kokaral Dam’s erection south of the Syr Darya River has proven to be the catalyst in an incredible resurgence of local fish stocks. Beyond this great news for local fishing communities, the sea’s recovery has also led to a reduction in local disease rates from formerly-contaminated drinking water.

Once the fourth-largest freshwater lake on Earth, starting in the 1960s the Aral Sea shrank dramatically after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects—so much that it split into the North and South Aral Seas.

When this happened, increased salinity in the water led to the die-off of several fish species like bream and perch, leaving the resilient flounder as the only animal capable of dealing with the high salt content.

Fishing for hope

Between 1957 and 1987, fish harvests fell from 48,000 per year to zero. Now, since the Kokaral dam was built, levels of salt have returned to normal. As a result, fish stocks have exploded back to life.

National Geographic reports that in 2018, catch limits were set at a generous 8,200 tons: a 600% increase from 2006.

Many of the surrounding communities depend on fishing for their livelihoods, and for Askar Zhumashev, 42, a supervisor at Kambala Balyk Processing Plant, he has seen the recovery firsthand in the inland town of Aralsk, where he and his team process roughly 500 tons of fish a year.

“When I was born, the sea was already gone,” Zhumashev told National Geographic. “I went to the Aral Sea for the first time only two years ago. My parents used to tell me that the boats would come in and out every day from the old port.”

The World Bank followed up with an effort to restore delta and wetland habitats on the Uzbekistan part of the Aral Sea through the Drainage, Irrigation and Wetlands Project.

The project is based on a successful pilot program that saw the restoration of the 100,000 acre (40,000 hectare) Lake Sudochi elsewhere in the region.

Not only do fisheries benefit from improved wetland and delta habitat. Ranching and farming improves as well. Since the project began, river and delta salinity has returned to normal, allowing local farmers to irrigate their crops.

That’s good news for local communities. And the world. As Kristopher White, a professor at KIMEP University, put it, the success of the Aral Sea project just goes to show, “Anthropogenic ecological damage can be reversed by human intervention.”

‘Extinct’ Large Blue Butterfly is Reintroduced in the Wild After 150-year Absence

August 15th, 2020

A large blue butterfly that was previously extinct has been successfully reintroduced to the UK, with the pollinator repopulating large parts of the country after an absence of 150 years.

Some 750 of the large blue butterflies, which are marked by distinct rows of black spots on its forewing, have been spotted this summer around Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire, southwest England – a higher number than anywhere else in the world.

In 1979, the butterfly was declared extinct and hasn’t been seen in the Rodborough region for 150 years. The Large Blue is one of the rarest of Britain’s Blue butterfly species, reports BBC.

Last year, conservationists released some 1,100 larvae to the region after meticulously preparing the landscape for the butterflies’ return.

The globally endangered large blue butterfly has a unique life cycle that begins with tiny caterpillars tricking the area’s red ant population (myrmica sabuleti) into hauling them to their nest, while even “singing” to it, after which the parasitic larvae feast on ant grubs before emerging a year later as butterflies.

“In the summer when the ants are out foraging, nature performs a very neat trick — the ants are deceived into thinking that the parasitic larva of the large blue is one of their own and carry it to their nest,” said research ecologist David Simcox in a statement.

“It’s at this point that the caterpillar turns from herbivore to carnivore, feeding on ant grubs throughout the autumn and spring until it is ready to pupate and emerge the following summer.”

Controlling the red ant population was a crucial component of the project to reintroduce the blue butterflies.

For five years, a range of experts from the National Trust, Butterfly Conservation, the Limestone’s Living Legacies Back from the Brink project, Natural England, Royal Entomological Society and the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Committees of Commoners collaborated to prepare the area for the butterflies.

Cattle grazing was kept in check and the area’s scrub cover was reined in to help the area’s ant population, while wild thyme and marjoram plant growth was encouraged to ensure that the butterflies have their natural source of food and egg-laying habitats.

“Butterflies are such sensitive creatures, and with the large blue’s particular requirements they are real barometers for what is happening with our environment and the changing climate,” said commons area ranger Richard Evans. “Creating the right conditions for this globally endangered butterfly to not only survive but to hopefully thrive has been the culmination of many years work.”

The butterfly was reintroduced to the UK after caterpillars were brought to the country from Sweden in an ecologist’s camper van, writes The Guardian.

Experts now say that the large blue butterfly has “stronghold” sites around the country and have also naturally colonized areas across southern England.

The return of the rare large blue to the region marks one of the most successful insect reintroduction projects to date, and marks the culmination of a nearly four-decade conservationist effort in Europe.

“One of the greatest legacies of the re-introduction is the power of working together to reverse the decline of threatened species and the benefit the habitat improvements will have for other plants, insects, birds and bats on the commons,” Evans said.

Seniors Recreate Iconic Movie Posters For Calendar That’s Raising Thousands For Alzheimer’s – And They’re Amazing

Ailsa Ross 
Aug 10, 2020

These seniors have been getting fancy with makeup and lights since long before COVID-19 spurred us all to creativity.

In genius photoshoots, residents at the Spiritwood Assisted Living in Washington State have been recreating iconic posters from classic movies for two years now. And the results are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The idea to transform seniors into Hollywood stars came to Jennifer Angell in 2018. She’s the community relations director at ‘Spiritwood at Pine Lake’. Her mission? To combine unique, enjoyable activities for the residents with something purposeful—like raising money for others.

Jennifer struck gold when she came up with an idea for a ‘film star’ calendar.

“For two years we have dressed up the seniors as Hollywood movie stars and Village Concepts, a family company that owns the senior home, produces the calendars for us,” she told GNN. “I photograph each senior after doing makeup, hair and costume. The best part is we sell each calendar and every penny earned goes to the Alzheimer’s Association.”

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“For the first calendar in 2019, the whole process took about four months,” says Jennifer. “I would do just one photo at a time, and when it was ready, I’d present it to the community at lunchtime. People passed the photo around and the featured resident would dress up in costume and parade around the lunchroom. It was so much fun for everyone.”

Jack Guptil, 83, who starred in the “Blues Brothers” photoshoot told the Issaquah Reporter in 2018, “When asked by Jennifer to be a part of the calendar, I didn’t want to be bothered, but when I saw how much fun people were having being someone else, I said that’s me—Elwood from the Blues Brothers.”

Fedoras, check. Sunglasses, check. Two ‘somebodies to love’, check.

The first three boxes sold out in just four days. “Resident families just loved it and swooped them right up,” says Jennifer.

After the Alzheimer’s Association posted them for sale on their blog in 2018 they raised around $14,000.

Jennifer gave GNN the inside scoop about the theme for the 2021 calendar. It will be ‘Iconic Figures’ including pop culture icons like Sonny and Cher, Willie Nelson, and Andy Warhol, alongside historical notables like Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“The annual resident calendars bring so much joy to not only the residents but their families,” says Spiritwood’s Executive Director Michelle Strazis. “They feel good about themselves participating in something that makes them feel so special and to be contributing by helping raise money for such a worthy cause.”

Which iconic Hollywood image is your favorite? Scroll down to see them and share the ones you love the most.

Do you think this senior had maple syrup spaghetti cravings after their Elf photoshoot?

All Photos by Spiritwood Assisted Living

Here’s one ‘way cool’ version of Wayne’s World.

Spock and the gang are back in this futuristic tribute to Stars Wars—‘ ‘The Older Generation’.

Helen Mirren (and the world’s most famous Elizabeth) would surely bestow a crown on this lady for her homage to The Queen

Tom, is that you? Here’s one senior with a need for speed… and an apparent love of Top Gun.

Oh Marilyn! Junita Oney brings old school glamor with this stylish rendering of Ms. Monroe.  

Click below to see more photos and learn how to order a calendar…

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When Hunger Intensifies in Pennsylvania, the Soup Brigade Mobilizes

August 7th, 2020

When New Yorker Julie Snarski first moved to the picturesque community on the Delaware River, she felt like she had wandered onto a television set. From Yardley’s charming downtown, with buildings dating back to the 18th century, to St. Andrew’s Parish, the beautiful Episcopal church next to a tree-lined pond and historic graveyard, it’s easy to see why Snarski had trouble believing the town near Trenton, New Jersey was real.

Not only is Yardley, Pennsylvania real—it’s really kind, too, and its been named one of America’s 50 Nicest Places by Reader’s Digest.

For nearly four decades, on the third Sunday of every month, St. Andrew’s parishioners have been meeting in the church parish house and assembling meals for elderly and shut-in residents of the five-county Philadelphia area.

The coronavirus ended their proud 37-year streak. But church members figured out a way to continue their essential service, just as the need skyrocketed.

Caring for Friends, the organization that distributes the meals, came up with the idea for the parishioners to make meals in their homes. They enlisted neighbors to help, and pretty soon the volunteers were cranking out 1,000 meals and 400 containers of soup each week—almost ten times more food than before.

“I’ve been impressed how this seed of an idea has taken root,” says Snarski, who nominated Yardley as the Nicest Place in America.

“There was all of this passion and energy around feeding people and food justice, so we thought, What else could we do?,” says the Reverend Hilary Greer. “We got inspired after learning that 40 percent of America’s produce in World War II came from victory gardens in backyards and at churches. I thought, What if we did that here?”

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They couldn’t come together to plant a community garden in one place, so they created a community garden throughout the community. Anybody who wanted to join in came to
St. Andrew’s to pick up seedlings to plant at home. As the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and basil came in, the home gardeners brought the bounty to the church to be distributed to area food banks including the Bucks County Housing Group and the Interfaith Food Alliance, also located in Bucks County.

St. Andrew’s is also educating its largely White parish and community about racism, with training and discussion sessions every Sunday after church via Zoom. (The training and discussion sessions will occur every Sunday via Zoom in July.)

“We’re a White, wealthy suburb,” Rev. Greer says. “We need to learn all of the ways that racial injustice fuels criminal injustice, and injustice in the educational system. Until people get how all this is interconnected, they’re never going to understand why all of this is happening.

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“We’re going to have conversations that go places that are uncomfortable, it’s how we grow. We will show up to listen, and bring our whole selves to the conversation. We will be in it for the long haul,” says Rev. Greer, “not just while the protests are happening.”

Need more positive stories and updates coming out of the COVID-19 challenge? For more uplifting coverage, click here.