Most of us like to keep up to date with the latest news and current events. But with news feeds so heavily dominated by negative stories, this can quickly become draining.
One of the best ways to avoid getting bogged down by upsetting news is to manage your news consumption – for example, by capping your news time and knowing when to take a break. It can also help to seek out uplifting stories to remind you of all the good in the world.
To bring some positive vibes to your day, we’ve pulled together a list of 13 great things happening in the world right now. From a recent groundbreaking discovery in Alzheimer’s research to bison roaming England again for the first time in thousands of years, we hope that at least some of these stories will make your day better.
1. New Alzheimer’s drug is ‘most encouraging to date’
A recent clinical trial has suggested that a new drug could help to slow cognitive decline in people with early Alzheimers.
Lecanemab – a monoclonal antibody – has been found to slow rates by 27% after 18 months of treatment, by clearing amyloid from the brain.
In an interview with Medical News Today, neurologist Dr Sharon Cohen says, “Amyloid is a toxic protein that accumulates early in Alzheimer’s disease and is responsible, not only for direct injury to brain cell function but also leads to a cascade of other toxic processes that further injure the brain.”
Though this is a historic moment for Alzheimer’s research, there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome before lacanemab can be made available to the public – and scientists are still unsure what effect the drug may have on patients long term. Plus, Alzheimer’s Research UK says we still need options for people with more advanced forms of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
More data on the drug will be published later this year, covering things like side effects. You can read more about the new research on the Alzheimer’s Research UK website.
2. Lettuce is being grown inside an Egyptian supermarket without the need for packaging
One supermarket in Cairo has taken steps to reduce the need for packaging by growing different types of lettuce right there in the store.
Egyptian company, Schaduf have installed a hydroponic fridge with a no-soil system – meaning the veggies can be grown in water and supplemented with nutrients and fertilisers. When a customer takes one of the plants, the store replaces it with another.
According to Schaduf, the hydroponic fridge uses 90% less water than traditional farming and because the lettuce doesn’t need to be transported, it also reduces the store’s carbon footprint. The company is looking to expand hydroponic fridge systems to other supermarkets.
3. Bees are enjoying life in the UK’s first bee retirement home
Flower delivery service, Flying Flowers, has launched a retirement home for bumblebees for the first time. The aim is to provide bees with a place to live and pollinate, and to raise awareness of their declining populations. Bees can rest in tiny armchairs, drink from a sugar water fountain, and enjoy beautiful blooms. They can also watch mini TVs and read ‘pollen stories’.
In addition to their bee-tirement home, Flying Flowers also provide ‘hotels’ for solitary bees, who don’t live in colonies. Solitary bees are the most efficient pollinators – pollinating 120 times more flora – though, due to a decline in wildflowers, they can often find it difficult to find somewhere to live.
You can find out more about how to create your own bee hotel on the Flying Flowers website.
4. Scientists are working on a vaccine to target cancer
"Changing cancer patients' lives is in our grasp"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 15, 2022
BioNTech co-founders tell #BBCLauraK how the same technology used to develop Covid vaccines could help fight cancer
Watch the full interview tomorrow on @BBCOne at 09:00 https://t.co/mo3pPUgZS6 pic.twitter.com/Hgd1NBKeE6
The same scientists who created the lifesaving Covid vaccine are now working on a vaccine to target cancer cells. BioNTech founders (and husband and wife duo) Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, say they’re hoping to make cancer–treating vaccines available to patients as early as 2030.
Şahin and Türeci were working on cancer immunotherapies and potential vaccines, using mRNA technology. But during the global emergency, they adapted this technology to create a fast and effective Covid-19 vaccine (Pfizer).
The couple is now saying that their work on the Covid vaccine has helped them to better understand how to use vaccines to distinguish cancer cells from normal ones and kill them.
As a result, Türeci told the BBC, “Yes, we feel that a cure for cancer, or to changing cancer patients’ lives, is in our grasp.”
5. Humpback whales are no longer on the endangered species list
It’s recently been announced that the humpback whale has been removed from the endangered species list after years of conservation efforts.
Between the 17th and early 20th centuries, commercial whaling significantly reduced the number of humpback whales until, in 1970, they became ‘endangered’ under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Numbers have since risen from 10-15,000 to around 84,000 – and according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List, humpback whales are now listed as ‘Least Concern’.
6. People are donating clothes to an online ‘shopping’ service for female refugees
Give Your Best was formed out of a young woman’s desire to empower people who are refugees, seeking asylum, destitute, with no recourse to public funds or with precarious immigration status by giving them a choice of clothes.
The platform aims to help restore people’s dignity by giving them access to a catalogue of clothes (donated by people and brands) that they can ‘shop’ from for free.
Founder of Give Your Best, Sol Escobar, came up with the idea after she connected with a woman called Ilda on Instagram during the Covid-19 pandemic. After learning that Ilda was living on £5.60 a day and couldn’t even afford to buy menstrual products, Sol sent her a care package to help, while also putting out a request for donations on social media. The response was overwhelming, lending way to Sol’s idea for an online catalogue of donations, where women would be empowered to choose the items they wanted to receive.
You can find out more about Give Your Best, including how to donate and shop, on their website.
7. The world’s first floating city is being built in the Maldives
The Maldives will become home to the world’s first-ever floating city by 2027. Research for the city began in 2009; the same year that former president, Mohamed Nasheed, attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. It was here that he learned more about how people could live on water or with water, without disrupting the environment.
The result is the design and implementation of a brain-shaped floating city that will contain 5,000 low-rise floating homes – as well as shops, restaurants, a school, and a hospital – in a lagoon near the country’s capital, Malé. Housing units will be linked together by walkways and tethered to a 500-acre floor.
As well as being eco-friendly and sustainable, the city is intended to provide a liveable future for Maldivians as sea levels rise.
8. Bison are roaming England again for the first time in thousands of years
This summer, three European bison were introduced to a huge area of ancient woodland near Canterbury. The move is part of an experiment to see whether bison – known as ‘ecosystem engineers’ – can help to restore biodiversity in the area.
Among their helpful habits are grazing at different heights (which creates habitats for birds), trampling and wallowing (which helps to bury seeds and create ‘wallows’ that can store water), and rubbing themselves against trees to remove their winter fur (stripping the bark and creating the perfect conditions for invertebrates like bees and butterflies).
The bison are currently restricted to an area of 1,000 acres where they’ll be undisturbed by people. Before entering the area, scientists took stock of the flora and fauna so they could later track the bison’s impact.
9. Asphalt art has been found to save lives
The US has seen a dramatic increase in pedestrian safety in places where ‘Asphalt Art’ has been installed. Asphalt Art refers to the bright eye-catching murals near roads, for example, on junctions, pedestrian crossings, pavements, traffic barriers, and underpasses.
In Kansas City, murals were added to a crash-prone junction and speeds dropped by 45% and in Maryland, adding colour to the curbs in Baltimore, meant that drivers gave pedestrians right of way 41% more often.
Based on these findings, 19 European cities – including Rome, Helsinki, Madrid, and Reykjavik – will also be adding some artistic flair to their roadways under the Asphalt Art Initiative.
As well as improving safety, Asphalt Art is also helpful in revitalising public spaces and engaging local communities. So it’s a win, win!
10. The UK’s red phone boxes are being given a new lease of life
After the huge growth in mobile phones, the majority of our iconic red phone boxes eventually fell out of use. But rather than going to waste, 6,600 of the booths have been given away since 2008 through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme, which allows local authorities to buy them for just £1.
The adopted phone booths have been transformed into new community treasures including defibrillator units, art galleries, coffee shops, a mini history museum, and a school library.
To find out more about the scheme, you can visit BT’s website.
11. New species are being discovered all the time
Our planet is teeming with wildlife – plenty of which we know about and love. But there’s also plenty to be discovered; as shown by the vast number of species that have been named this year alone.
Among them is the sponge crab (Lamarckdromia beagle), which looks like it’s wearing a fur coat and was recently found washed up on a beach in Denmark, Western Australia.
There’s also a millipede named Nannaria swiftae, which is found in the valleys of the Appalachian Mountains in the United States. Dr Derek – the person in charge of the study that discovered the millipede – is a huge fan of famous US singer and songwriter Taylor Swift, which is why he named it ‘swiftae’.
To learn more about what species have been found so far this year, you might want to check out this article from Discover Wildlife.
12. More men are joining Men’s Sheds
Men’s Sheds provide men (and sometimes women) with a space to invent, create, repair, and build social connections. It can be the ideal space for people who want to bounce ideas off one another over a cup of tea or who don’t have access to their own garage or garden-shed-type space with tools and equipment.
As well as being fun, Men’s Sheds are helpful for reducing loneliness and isolation. This is invaluable – especially as research shows that 77% of men have suffered with common mental health symptoms like anxiety, stress, or depression. And the even better news is that Men’s Sheds are growing. There are now over 800 open sheds in the UK and a further 200 in development.
Some time ago, we spoke to 74-year-old Mike about his experience of setting up and attending a Men’s Shed in his hometown. He says, “Having a community, positive relationships, something to contribute, and a balance of autonomy and interdependence all contribute to good mental health. And these things can be the experience of attending a Shed.”
You can read Mike’s full story here.
13. A very tall duck named ‘Long Boi’ has found a sense of belonging
An oversized duck named ‘Long Boi’ has been described by York university students as ‘the tallest duck to have ever lived’.
When Long Boi showed up in 2018, two students started an Instagram account dedicated to him, and he quickly became an internet sensation. He now has over 19,000 followers, including 6ft 7in footballer, Peter Crouch, who Tweeted that Long Boi was “my kind of duck”.
In an interview with ITV, third-year biology student Zoe, said, “We believed that he’d been dumped as an unwanted pet. We started feeding and taking photos of him, coining the name Long Boi due to his tall stature.
“We did feel a bit sorry for him, as he didn’t fit in with all the other ducks and was being shunned by them, he seemed quite lonely.
“Over time he’s grown quite a following with York students, he’s quite a campus celebrity, and has since flourished and integrated with the other waterfowl.”
You can keep up to date with the adventures of Long Boi on his Instagram account.
Though the world feels like a heavy place at the moment, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of uplifting things happening too, even if it’s not always immediately obvious. It’s these things that we should try to seek out and hold onto when we need a reason to smile.