- A 73-year-old Florida man has donated 100 gallons of blood and platelets over 43 years, saving hundreds of lives.
- People all over the world are helping koalas injured in Australian bushfires by sending handmade mittens to animal hospitals.
- In just two years, 30,000 birds and 127 species of plants have been saved and reintroduced in the Netherlands thanks to five artificial islands.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There has been no shortage of upsetting headlines in 2019. But artist Mauro Gatti wants to focus on positive developments from this year that are often overshadowed by tragedy and negativity.
“We are often bombarded with fear-mongering and shocking headlines that make us feel that the world is falling apart,” he told Insider. “However, while it’s important to report on problems and issues, I believe there is so much good in this world that it needs to be found and promoted just as widely.”
Gatti created The Happy Broadcast to illustrate “anxiety-free” good news stories from around the world that happened over the past year. He occasionally enlists other artists to bring the hopeful messages to life, as well.
Here are 10 bits of positive news that can help you feel more optimistic about 2020. Gatti’s descriptions have been condensed and edited for clarity.
A 73-year-old Florida man has donated 100 gallons of blood and platelets over 43 years, saving hundreds of lives.
“We need to realize and get inspired by how a single person’s action can help to make a difference. Since 1976, 73-year-old James Michelini has donated blood and platelets every second Wednesday. After 43 years, he has made his initial target of 10 gallons ten times. Every pint of donated platelets can save the life of one person, while every pint of blood has the possibility of saving up to three people. This amounts to more than 800 people’s lives saved with the 100 gallons Michelini has donated.” Source: Idaho Reporter
Fernandina giant tortoises were thought to be extinct, but they resurfaced this year in the Galapagos Islands.
“A living member of a species of tortoise not seen in more than 110 years and feared to be extinct has been found in a remote part of the Galápagos island of Fernandina. An adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the Fernandina giant tortoise, was spotted by a joint expedition of the Galápagos National Park and the US-based Galapagos Conservancy. The only other living member of the species was found in 1906. Since then, expeditions have encountered tortoise feces and bite marks on cacti, and there was a possible unconfirmed sighting in 2009. This discovery was the first confirmed sighting and together with the possibility of finding more members of the species has raised the possibility of breeding.” Source: The Guardian
When same-sex marriage became legal in Sweden and Denark, suicide rates among LGBTQ+ people dropped 46%.
“Young LGBT+ people are at least three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, according to 35 studies from 10 countries collated by researchers in 2018. The advent of gay marriage has cut suicide rates among lesbians and gay men in Sweden and Denmark, both early adopters of gay marriage. Over two compared periods, from 2003 to 2016 and 1989 to 2002, researchers found that suicides fell 46% for people in same-sex unions. Legislation that promotes LGBT+ rights may reduce the risk of suicide – even for those who are not yet old enough to wed. Love is love and everyone should be free to love and desire whoever they want, no matter which sex or gender anyone has or chooses.” Source: Reuters
Students in Milan are moving in with elderly residents to save money on rent and provide companionship for the aging population.
“Milan is the most expensive city in Italy, and one of the most expensive in Europe. With its seven universities, it has a student population of 180,000, of whom 65,000 come from out of town. In Milan there are 314,000 senior citizens, mostly women, living in homes that have become big for them and also quite expensive to manage while living on a pension. In 15 years of offering Adopt a Student, the MeglioMilano association has arranged around 600 cohabitations. The average age of the host is 79; in 76% of cases, the host is a woman living in an apartment she owns. Project manager Monica Bergamasco says it was born in response to two problems: an aging population with a growing number of seniors living alone, and rents increasing beyond the reach of students.” Source: The Guardian
People all over the world are helping koalas injured in Australian bushfires by sending handmade mittens to animal hospitals.
“Numerous bushfires have been wreaking havoc in Australia, affecting both residents and wildlife. As a result of the fires, wildlife hospitals have seen a huge influx of animals, and they are struggling to keep up with the demand for supplies. Many of these rescued koalas are now being treated for burns on their paws. As a means of protecting the critters’ paws from sustaining further injury, Australians have been encouraging crafty activists to send handmade mittens to their animal hospitals. For instance, a group of Dutch knitting enthusiasts from the Quilt Shop 100 in the Netherlands has already crafted more than 400 pairs of mittens for an Australian koala hospital. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has also been raising money for their koala treatments, as well as other Australian wildlife organizations. Since launching a GoFundMe campaign last month, they have surged past their original goal and raised almost $2 million for their rescue efforts.” Source: GNN
A new cafe in Ambikapur, India, offers free food in exchange for garbage, helping feed the hungry and clean up pollution.
“The cafe, situated in Ambikapur, which bagged the title of the second cleanest city in India, will provide free food in exchange for plastic waste. The concept of this cafe is that people can get their plastic waste weighed and enjoy a warm meal in return. ‘When I got to know about this cafe, I started collecting and storing plastic waste from my house. This is a great initiative to make the citizens aware to keep the city plastic-free. Through this initiative we can get two benefits, first, we can keep our vicinity clean and second, we can get delicious food in exchange for plastic waste,’ said a resident. The plastic waste collected by the people coming here is ultimately sent to the Municipal Corporation for recycling. Source: India Today
Malawi Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto is sending girls back to school and annulling child marriages that prevented them from finishing their education.
“Theresa Kachindamoto (so formidable, she has been nicknamed ‘The Terminator’!) was determined to take a stand against the tradition which took teenage girls and made them wives and mothers long before the age of 18. Kachindamoto has used her chief role to nullify more than 1,500 child marriages since 2017, sending the girls who were married off before being able to complete their education back to school. She took a bold step towards ending poverty in Malawi, where a 2017 UN statistic suggested that about 45% of young girls are unable to remain in school past eighth grade. Because of bold and brave leadership like this, things may start to change. Art by the talented @samanthacurcio.” Source: UN Women
A daily newspaper in Japan can be re-planted to grow flowers.
“In Japan, one of the most famous national dailies invented a one hundred percent sustainable newspaper. If you plant it, it will bloom! The Japanese newspaper is made of herb seeds, recycled and vegetable paper that you can plant after you’ve read it. It is called ‘Green Newspaper’ and was invented by the publisher of the famous Japanese daily, The Mainichi. Seed paper is made from post-consumer material that is infused with seeds in the pulping process to grow either wildflowers, herbs, or vegetables when planted either indoors or outside. The paper is bio-degradable, so it leaves no waste behind, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional card stocks. Once you’ve finished with it, don’t throw it, rather tear it into small pieces, plant and water it, and within a few weeks you’ll unexpectedly have plants and flowers.” Source: Educate Inspire Change
In just two years, 30,000 birds and 127 species of plants have been saved and reintroduced in the Netherlands thanks to five artificial islands.
“More than 40 years after the authorities in the Netherlands, a country that takes pride in its innovative methods of water management, caused an environmental calamity on what is now a lake known as the Markermeer, an ambitious solution is bringing it back to life. Nine kilometers into the vast expanse of the Markermeer, the 700 square kilometer lake on Amsterdam’s eastern flank, lies a new Dutch archipelago. Five sprawling artificial islands, constructed from sucked-up and refashioned fine silt, clay and shells, offer a haven for plants, birds and other wildlife. ‘We have already seen dramatic, spectacular changes: thousands of new birds, clearer water, massive amounts of insects,’ said Roel Posthoorn, an initiator of the project for the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation, during a recent tour of the archipelago.” Source: The New York Times
The Homeless World Cup Soccer Tournament helps people who have experienced homelessness find a supportive team and community.
“Every year, the Homeless World Cup Foundation delivers an inspirational week-long street football tournament that brings together more than 450 players representing 40+ countries around the world, all of which have faced homelessness and social marginalisation. The tournament attracts more than 80,000 visitors each year with millions more following the action online. Homelessness can force people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate, and work with others. When a person who is homeless gets involved in football, they build relationships; they become teammates who learn to trust and share. Get involved and support this amazing organization. Art by the super talented sport artist Davide Barco.” Source: Homeless World Cup Foundation