Welcome to the Monday Good News Roundup. And this is a special one, for a lot of reasons, some of them good, some of them bad.
The Main good thing is its my BIRTHDAY! I’m 39 years young, and for my Birthday I got the gift of my own new apartment. Its not the perfect place, but its my place, and the neighbors are all super nice. This is the beginning of an exciting new stage in my life. And I’m super excited for it.
But you know what they say, Every party needs a pooper, and in this case my party’s pooper is the US Supreme Court, which once again decided to ruin my birthday (And a lot of other peoples birthdays it seems) by repealing Roe Vs. Wade.
So in light of recent events, I’ve decided that even though its my birthday, You’re gonna be the ones who get the presents. The GNR Newsroom (Killer300 and Bhu) have been working overtime to get you some good news, and I guarantee a massive birthday sized GNR this week. So lets get right down to business.
Before we do start the GNR proper, I wanted to say some things. I’ve seen a lot of people on social media who are spreading the narrative of “Bad things happen and all the Dems do is tell people to vote for them” and “We voted for Biden and this still happened.” And its like…. the lack of knowledge about how our government works is very disheartening.
Roe Vs. Wade being repealed was the result of us losing the 2016 election. It happened because McConnell was able to cheat in three Supreme court justices under Trump. Presidential terms do not exist in neat little categories. The things Trump did will have repercussions that will be felt by your grandchildren.
People seem to think that voting for Biden was going to fix everything forever. Biden is not an instant fix, he’s the first step in a long hard road to recovering our country, Its gonna take a long time and a lot of hard work to fix things. And I’m not gonna lie, its gonna get worse before it gets better.
But I think we’re going to win. We are looking at the death spiral of the GOP. They have long since shredded any pretense of being nothing but a party of bullies and cowards, their politics of cruelty and combativeness are turning people off, and the only way they can win now is by massive cheating. That’s why they are so focused on the Supreme court. But don’t take this as a sign to be complacent. It means you go out and vote in every election. Every single one, for anyone, and you vote Democrat. This isn’t “Vote once and its all over” its “Every year for the rest of your life go out and vote.” We pin this hydra to the wall and we don’t stop till its completely and truly dead.
Alright, I said my peace, onto the good news.
As a director in corporate America with no university on her resumé, Carter is less of an anomaly than you might think. A recent Harvard Business Review report analyzed more than 51 million jobs posted between 2017 and 2020, and found a marked decrease in the number of employers requesting diplomas.
This shift towards skills- and attributes-based hiring is gaining momentum in the U.S., making hiring at a growing number of companies more about what you can do than where you went to college. As student debt spirals upward and businesses struggle to find enough workers, the positive impact of skills-based hiring could be enormous for disadvantaged groups, companies and the economy as a whole.
Life can be hard if you don’t have a college degree (And as a college graduate, life can be pretty damn hard with it as well). So anything that can make life a little easier to people who have the skills to do a job but maybe not the formal education is a good thing.
On July 9, 2022, HB 1769 sunsets the Houghton and East Bellevue Community Councils, which existed for more than five decades.
We detailed the inequity problems caused by these “community municipal corporations” (CMCs) in our December 2021 article in The Urbanist, Time to Immediately Sunset Houghton and East Bellevue Community Councils where we described how a 1967 law resulted in these neighborhoods gaining outsized influence over the entire city’s land use planning, a special privilege they were unwilling to give up.
The Houghton Community Council, for example, blocked efforts at increasing housing density by significantly restricting duplexes, triplexes, and cottage developments. It also exempted most of the area within its boundaries from Kirkland’s 10% affordable housing requirements. East Bellevue Community Council also exercised its power to develop differing rules from the rest of the city, notably getting the entire city government embroiled in a costly legal battle over state mandated parking reform at the expense of citywide taxpayers.
Good riddance, seeing NIMBY’s get the boot is always a good thing.
The startup ZeroAvia is planning to flight-test a 19-seat aircraft equipped with hydrogen fuel cells in mid-July at the Cotswold Airport in Kemble, the company says. A second test-bed plane will take flight in the coming months near ZeroAvia’s headquarters in Hollister, California. The two dual-engine aircraft will use fuel cells — which convert hydrogen into electricity to drive propellers — and batteries on one side, while the other side will use a conventional jet engine.
Neat tech news. Hopefully it works out for them.
BlocPower’s Civilian Climate Corps program launched in September, after the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) awarded the company a $37 million contract, paid for with funding from the $2.2 billion federal Covid stimulus package, known as the CARES Act. The program provides paid, on-the-job training to New Yorkers who live in neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence, with the aim of starting them on their way to a career in the city’s fast-growing green construction and clean energy trades.
Most of the work relates to greening the city’s buildings — electric heat pump installations, weatherizations and solar panel and battery installations. However, trainees also have the opportunity to learn other in-demand skills, such as electric-vehicle charger maintenance and Wi-Fi installation. To date, BlocPower and its contractor partners — which include Augmented Construction, Urban Energy, VRF Solutions, Super Cool HVAC and Ch! — have trained roughly 1,500 New Yorkers, 400 of whom have moved on to full-time jobs in weatherization, HVAC, EV charging, data collection and more, according to the company.
This is the sort of story that just makes you feel good. Creating jobs and having those jobs be green is the best.
And now a short video
Geothermal Energy is getting better thanks to the power of lasers. Now that’s cool.
With little fanfare, other than a local blog post and a couple passing mentions, my town of West Hartford, Connecticut, approved a road diet last week, quietly culminating a difficult campaign over seven years to make North Main Street safer for everyone.
There was much trepidation and many manipulations necessary to bring a relatively straightforward, time-tested, idea to completion in this town of 63,000.
In our town, which is in the first ring of streetcar suburbs outside the city of Hartford, North Main connects a retail center and acres of surface parking with the town center. Before the road diet, it consisted of four lanes of arterial traffic routinely traveling 40 to 50 mph, sometimes barely a foot from the sidewalk and front lawns of single-family residences. There were sections of North Main where the sidewalk was literally a utility pole diameter and a curb width away from the travel lanes.
Improving roads to make them better for people is always good news.
We’ve done some stuff to coral, nice to see people are working to make better coral for the future.
Amid extreme heat waves engulfing the nation and striking footage of floods deluging a national park, it’s difficult to ignore the palpable effects of climate change already altering everyday life.
And although the failure of President Biden’s Build Back Better bill in the Senate may have signaled a roadblock for those calling for tougher federal action on climate change, a series of actions at the state level implemented or introduced in 2022 offer some hope, at least on the local front.
Here are what states have achieved thus far in 2022 after taking matters into their own hands, according to a compilation from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV).
Even with some setbacks on the federal level, states are still working to help fix global warming.
The main advantage of indoor farming is eliminating natural restrictions. Unlike traditional farming, the method allows farmers to grow produce year-round without having to worry about unpredictable weather, wasting water, or exposing crops to insects, herbicides, and pesticides. Stacking plants on top of each other also maximizes the utility of the space, allowing farmers to pack as much as 700 acres of farmland into the size of a big-box retail store.
Versatility is another major draw. The fact that indoor farms can grow crops in otherwise barren areas is one reason agricultural experts predict that the industry will help feed the world’s growing population, which is projected to hit 9.3 billion by 2050. In order to meet demand, the world will need to increase food production by 60% by that year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Indoor farming seems like its the wave of the future. I approve.
Data reported to the FBI each year by thousands of police departments across the country shows the percentage of youths taken into custody who were referred to adult courts dropped from 8% in 2010 to 2% in 2019. The percentage dropped to 1% in 2020, although that year’s data is considered unusual because of the coronavirus pandemic, which closed many courts.
Instead, more teenagers are being sent to juvenile courts or community programs that steer them to counseling, peer mediation and other services aimed at keeping them out of trouble.
The shift has been mostly supported by law enforcement officials around the country. But some worry that leniency has emboldened a small number of young criminals, including in Connecticut, where state lawmakers passed legislation to clamp down on youth crime.
States around the country have been raising the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 for most crimes. Only three states — Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin — continue to prosecute every 17-year-old in adult courts, according to The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group that advocates for minimal imprisonment of youth and adults.
Its good that teen perpetrators are now being shown a bit more compassion than before.
Flights were cancelled, public transport ground to a halt and government offices were closed in a nationwide strike by Tunisia's main trade union confederation Thursday, that piled pressure on a president already facing a string of crises.
The powerful UGTT confederation had called on up to three million public sector workers to strike, halting work at 159 state agencies and public companies to demand concessions on salaries and threatened reforms.
The action appeared to be widely observed in the capital Tunis, where post offices and public utilities were closed.
Police were present in large numbers outside UGTT headquarters as strikers began to gather for a rally.
Once again proving the power of the people.
Since the first days of the war, Gubko and her team at the biosphere reserve have coordinated with the Frankfurt Zoological Society and other international partners, arranging shipments of children’s clothes, baby food, medicines, beds, mattresses, and generators. Now, volunteers and park and museum employees are leading nature-based activities for the new arrivals, coordinating trips to the local museum of mountain ecology, as well as hikes through brown bear, wolf, otter, and lynx habitat.
The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve isn’t alone in housing displaced people. Several thousand new arrivals are currently sheltering in national parks scattered across western Ukraine, said Oleksandr Krasnolutskyy, a deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources. In an April 14 interview with Undark, Krasnolutskyy said that federal park funding is being used to provide them with essential food and clean water, alongside a program of psychological support offered by doctors and mental health professionals. “The national parks,” he said, “will accommodate people as long as they need.”
Ukraine is home to a large and well-connected community of environmentalists who, prior to the Russian invasion, worked to conserve wilderness and address vexing environmental challenges, including oversight of Chernobyl’s radioactive exclusion zone. Amid Ukraine’s whole-of-society wartime reorganization, environmentalists like Gubko have pivoted, using their skills and professional networks to protect people and nature during the war.
They are not just hosting displaced people, but also monitoring air quality, documenting possible environmental war crimes, and supporting the country’s animals during the crisis. “The volunteer movement is immense,” said Gubko. Since March, many of the volunteers have spoken with Undark, describing a vast network of environmental resistance.
An impressive and heartwarming way to fight the power to be sure. Help the environment and help the Ukraine people.
I have to admit that I was worried about the January 6 committee hearings. I knew they could change hearts and minds, but I’ve watched a lot of congressional hearings, and they often devolve into partisan grandstanding and bickering. I wrote that the committee could change everything if we let them, largely to urge people to not let the far-right media—and possibly also the mainstream media—bury the findings. Like others, I worried that maybe the committee had waited too long—that in the 18 months since January 6, a powerful narrative had taken hold that former President Donald Trump had gotten away with it and there would be no justice.
But my worries abated almost immediately, when it became clear that the hearings were not the disastrous displays that were Robert Mueller’s presentation and the first Trump impeachment. Roughly 20 million Americans watched the first hearing—more than the first day of the second Trump impeachment, or the Mueller testimony. NPR’s Eric Deggans summed it up best, saying, “It is a pretty significant audience. I know there are some naysayers out there who try to compare these numbers unfavorably to other TV events, like Biden’s last State of the Union address, which drew 38 million viewers. But for a congressional committee presentation, these were pretty solid numbers, indicating a wide array of people were interested in this material. And it’s worth noting that these figures don’t include online viewership.”
As I said before, the GOP is falling apart, we are slowly but surely whittling them down. We just need to keep it up.
The Biden administration proposed sweeping changes Thursday to federal rules under the gender equity law Title IX that would revoke Trump administration mandates surrounding sexual misconduct that advocates for assault survivors said discriminated against victims.
The new regulation would also extend Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination based on sex to sexual orientation and gender identity, giving landmark protections to transgender students. The current Title IX regulation does not address the rights of transgender students.
The proposed rules are likely to kick off a heated battle over the obligations of schools to address sexual misconduct, the balance between the rights of victims and accused students, and the rights of transgender students.
Once again Joe Biden and his administration are doing amazing things out there.
Large majorities of more than 1,000 registered Latino voters in seven battleground states support gun reforms and access to abortion, according to polling data released Wednesday by Voto Latino, a national advocacy group focused on mobilizing Latino youth.
The online survey, conducted by the polling firm Change Research, a San Francisco-based polling firm, in early June, showed 86% of respondents thought mass shootings in the U.S. are either a crisis or major issue. The voters surveyed overwhelmingly backed a number of gun reform measures, including 82% who strongly supported requiring background checks on all gun purchases.
The voters surveyed were registered voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texa
As I’ve said, its possible to win in November. We just have to be ready to fight for it.
The Biden administration is canceling the federal student debt of borrowers who say their schools defrauded them, settling a class action lawsuit originally filed against the Trump administration.
"We are pleased to have worked with plaintiffs to reach an agreement that will deliver billions of dollars of automatic relief to approximately 200,000 borrowers and that we believe will resolve plaintiffs' claims in a manner that is fair and equitable for all parties," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement Thursday.
Okay great, now cancel my student loans please.
Transgender people born in North Carolina may now correct the sex designation on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery after a consent judgment issued by a federal court, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Thursday.
“This is a victory for all transgender people born in North Carolina that will help enable them to navigate life with safety and dignity," Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, counsel at Lambda Legal, said in a news release.
Trans people got so much crap to deal with right now its nice to get a little silver lining, regardless of how small it may be.
In the middle of the Sahara Desert, where some 90,000 displaced Sahrawi people have lived in refugee camps for four decades, dealing with waste is a problem. Especially plastic waste.
Several times a week, trucks haul waste from the camps to the open desert to burn rubbish. Landfill isn’t an option – it could contaminate the little water there is in the ground. So the wind blows away whatever waste doesn’t burn.
Or at least it used to. Now plastic waste is being recycled and turned into all kinds of useful objects, in a project that not only reduces waste but also lets refugees be part of a circular economy that offers them economic possibilities where these are rare.
Its always inspiring to see innovation sprout out of a desperate situation
Mexico’s Supreme Court reached a landmark ruling last week, overturning a legal provision allowing immigration agents to stop anyone and demand proof of their legal status. The ruling came after years of litigation by human rights groups and could have a profound impact on Mexico’s enforcement-heavy immigration policy, driven by pressure from the US to stop migrants from reaching the border.
Nice to see a Supreme Court that isn’ t completely terrible.
In this report, CREA and Ember analyse European national responses to the gas crisis and Russia’s war on Ukraine. They show that the majority of European countries have significantly stepped up their ambition in terms of renewable energy deployment since 2019, while decreasing planned 2030 fossil fuel generation to shield themselves from geopolitical threats.
Its a little absurd it took a literal war to bring this about, but its great to hear that progress is going well.
May 27 (Renewables Now) - The Greek government on Thursday adopted the country's first national climate protection law that sets interim targets as part of a 2050 net-zero strategy and calls for exiting lignite power generation by 2028.
The legislation aims to address climate change and lower Greece’s reliance on fossil fuels, which was further exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine.
Yes, again countries all over Europe are thumbing their noses at Putin and going green. Its a beautiful thing.
As solar and wind energy ramps up in the United States, the industries have gotten better at installing and operating their facilities. This experience can be seen in how the facilities are financed. According to new research, people working in the fields—and adjacent ones—have learned to be more efficient, reducing the overall cost of power. Further, according to Mark Bolinger, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and one of the paper's authors, this so-called learning rate can be extrapolated into the future, and it spells good news for the two renewable sources of energy.
Mad about high gas prices? There will never be a better incentive to phase out fossil fuels than right now. So lets take that opportunity.
In a severe setback for the coal power industry, insurers are withdrawing their financial support for both new projects and existing power plants. It is a welcome turn of events for those pressing for a phase-out of coal — the single largest source of carbon emissions — in order to meet Paris Agreement climate targets.
See, the insurance companies got the right idea. Fossil fuels are job not worth the money.
Over the last year, much of the nation’s attention has focused on Congress and the tremendous opportunity we have to pass comprehensive national climate legislation for the first time. While federal action remains necessary to reach U.S. climate goals and ensure communities have the resources to invest in equitable clean energy and climate solutions, state legislatures and Governors have quietly passed new climate and clean energy efforts across the country. Together these new laws and executive orders help set a national model and are a key driver to reduce climate pollution, invest in clean energy jobs, and ensure the clean energy transition centers racial and economic justice.
Below you’ll find a list of some of the top bills passed in 2022, strong actions taken by Governors, a few bad bills stopped in their tracks, and two ballot initiatives to watch going into November. As part of the League of Conservation Voters’ Clean Energy for All campaign, LCV state leagues, Chispa programs, and partners were key to each of these efforts. They helped organize public support, worked with state elected champions, and made the case to ensure climate was at the top of their state’s agenda.
As I said before, the states are doing pretty good when it comes to the environment.
China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell by an estimated 1.4% in the first three months of 2022, making it the third quarter in a row of falling emissions.
The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows that the three consecutive quarters, when seen together, represent the longest emissions decline in China for at least a decade.
Emissions peaked in summer 2021, as the government tightened policies on real estate to mitigate speculation and financial risk, before starting to fall in the third quarter last year. The fall in late 2021 and early 2022 was driven by the continued real estate slowdown and strong increases in clean energy. Starting from late March – at the very end of the period covered by this analysis – the main driver has become harsh Covid-19 control policies.
Yes, China too is doing better for ht environment. Its always an inspiring sight to see.
In the past six months, workers at more than 150 Starbucks locations have successfully unionized, fighting back against unfair labor practices by their employer. And in April, Amazon warehouse workers won a victory against one of the most powerful corporations in the world when they became the first company facility to vote to unionize in the United States.
Public opinion has shifted to a high point since 1965 of support for unions, with 68% of U.S. adults saying they approve of unions, according to a Gallup poll from September 2021. Most workers would vote for a union tomorrow, if they had the opportunity. Yet, private sector union density continues to hover around a low point of 6.2%. The unionization rate overall is a little over 10%, with public sector participation around one-third.
Always great to see people sticking it to the man.
ke many other development specialists, he thought planting trees was the answer to the region’s droughts and famines. He organized a tree nursery and worked with communities to plant and protect the seedlings. But barely 10% of seedlings survived the heat and dust storms, and they were eaten by goats or cut down by people for firewood. He had almost given up when, in 1983, traveling between rural villages, he took a closer look at one of the common small “bushes” and realized that it was actually a tree re-sprouting from the stump. Trees might grow naturally from this “underground forest,” he thought.
“Reforestation was no longer a question of having the right technology or enough budget, staff or time. It was not even about fighting the Sahara Desert, or goats or drought. The battle was now about challenging deeply held beliefs, attitudes and practices and convincing people that it would be in their best interest to allow at least some of these ‘bushes’ to become trees again.”
Congratulations to these farmers for reforesting their homeland and showing that anyone can do it.
And now for a musical interlude
he problem here, putting aside the callous disregard for humanity, involves the GOP’s recent “war on math.” There are over one million Ukrainian Americans in the United States, which is a relatively small voting bloc but a powerful one based on where they are located. Their diaspora is disproportionately concentrated in politically significant Midwestern urban areas such as Cleveland and Detroit. Pennsylvania is home to the second-largest population of Ukrainian Americans, only behind New York. In Ohio, the Ukrainian community runs through the northeast suburbs like Parma. Someone finally must have mentioned this to Vance, who is furiously trying to backpedal his previous insults on Ukraine.
For decades, this important voting bloc has helped push Republicans over the edge in key states due to their conservative inclinations on issues like smaller government, defense, and anti-communism. This year, however, all bets are off because this community is now seething. Ohioan Andriy Futey, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, told the Washington Post that Republican anti-Ukrainian rhetoric has changed things. “I could see this alone being a determinant factor when people go to vote,” he said. The problem is that Republicans just don’t know how to stop their hate. If Democrats don’t capitalize on this, we will be committing political malfeasance.
Again, I think its possible for us to win big in November. We just have to work hard. All the pieces are there, we just have to use them.
Former President Donald Trump is reportedly angry and agitated about the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which he fears will hurt Republican outcomes in the November midterm elections, according to sources.
“When you speak to him, it’s the response of someone fearing the backlash and fearing the politics of what happens when conservatives actually get what they want” on abortion, the source added. “I do not think he’s enjoying the moment as much as many of his supporters are.”
Yeah, even Trump realizes this was not a winning move for the GOP. There is going to be a reckoning for what the GOP has done (As in we’re going to vote against them en masse not anything violent.)
The national advocacy organization UltraViolet, whose mission is to improve the lives of women of all identities and backgrounds by disrupting patriarchy and creating a cost for sexism, has called for mass mobilization. “This is just the beginning, and what happens the next several days is critical,” they tweeted. “The pro-abortion movement is the majority and we’re calling on you to join us in mobilizing to show our overwhelming support for reproductive rights and opposition to all who want to take them away.”
Other advocate groups, like the Feminist Front, have begun to publicize action steps for mobilization and a coalition of reproductive justice organizations, which includes Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, have organized a hub to publicize upcoming protests, called We Won’t Go Back.
As activists take to the street, reproductive advocates have cautioned protesters to be mindful and safe while organizing and to take advantage of free legal help like the National Lawyer’s Guild’s pocket-sized know-your-rights booklets and other mass defense resources.
Like, okay, the GOP knocked us down, they gave us a black eye, I’ll grant them that. I hope they enjoyed it though because this fight is far from over, and now we’re gonna go on the counter attack. This is not over by a long shot, and we’re not going down without a fight.
And on that note, this weeks extra large birthday GNR draws to a close. I hope I was able to make everyone feel a little bit better. Now I’m very tired, and I’m going to go to bed. Have a good week everyone.