11 Billion New Trees Have Been Planted
Wangari Maathai began her
Green Belt Movement in the 1970s to encourage African villagers
to plant trees. Today, her Billion Tree Campaign has resulted
in the planting of 11 billion trees worldwide. At first, her
call for African villagers to plant trees may have seemed like
a simplistic response to complex environmental problems. But
she realized trees hold both symbolic and practical value. "People
use trees for so many things. It was easy to get into a community
to talk about trees," Maathai recalls. They provide immediate
practical resources: food, firewood, and shelter. They fight
Recessions Are Good For
The current recession may be bad for you in many ways, but it
is probably good for your health, says a new study.
Domestic Violence Plummets
Domestic violence against spouses and intimate partners in the
U.S. fell by nearly two-thirds in recent years, reaching a 30-year
low. Government figures show the marked declines began in 1994.
Happiness has Consequences
A new mega-study shows the positive practical benefits of feeling
good more often.
Smoking Loses Popularity
From 1971 until 2003, the percentage of adult smokers in the
United States fell to 21 percent from 45 percent, according to
a new study.
Breakthrough In Solar Cells
is the photovoltaic equivalent of the four-minute mile,"
affirms Larry Kazmerski, director of the Department of Energy's
National Center for Photovoltaics in Colorado. "This is
a disruptive technology that eventually could provide us, at
least in the Southwest, with cost-competitive electricity fairly
quickly." Read more about it here.
Amazing Asian Poverty Reduction
In 1990 there were 500 million people living in poverty in East
Asia and the Pacific region. That number is now under 200 million,
and the World Bank projects that by 2011 it will be under 20
million a reduction of 95 percent.
Discovery of Underground
Lake May End Drought in the Sudan
Egypt has already committed to sinking the first 20 wells free
of charge, while the United Nations has sought help in selecting
the best sites to sink the wells.
Freedom Is Winning
Democratic governments now outnumber non-democratic governments
worldwide, and the trend is all good.
Deaths From Heart Attack
Cut in Half
In just six years, death rates and heart failure in hospitalized
heart attack patients have fallen sharply, the largest international
study of its kind suggests.
U.S. Abortions at Lowest
Rate Since 1974
The number of abortions in the United States fell to 1.2 million
in 2005, down 25 percent from the all-time high of 1.6 million
in 1990 and dropping the abortion rate to its lowest level since
1974, according to report issued Thursday.
Peace on Earth? Increasingly,
the eyes of the media, the world appears an evermore dangerous
place. Iraq is sliding toward civil war, the slaughter in Darfur
appears unending, violent insurgencies are brewing in Thailand
and a dozen other countries, and terrorism strikes again in Bali.
It is not surprising that most people believe global violence
is increasing. However, most people, including many leading policymakers
and scholars, are wrong. The reality is that, since the end of
the Cold War, armed conflict and nearly all other forms of political
violence have decreased. The world is far more peaceful than
Spray-on Solar Power
Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials
and used as portable electricity. A sweater coated in the material
could power a cell phone or other wireless devices. A hydrogen-powered
car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy
into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.
Huge New Protected Forest
One of the largest and most intact privately owned forest lands
in Guatemala is now protected from development. The Nature Conservancy
purchased two pristine holdings totaling 77,000 acres in the
heart of the Maya Biosphere Reserve last month.
Lions Making a Comeback
A Masai warrior who once proved his manhood by killing a lion,
but the Masai have changed their ways and are now helping to
Optimism Prolongs Life
Mounting research shows that optimism could extend your life.
The latest study comes from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
For 999 elderly Dutch men and women, agreement with statements
such as "I still have many goals to strive for" was
highly predictive for longevity. When subjects were traced nine
years after being surveyed, death rates of optimistic men were
63 percent lower than those of their pouty peers; for women,
optimism reduced the rate by 35 percent.
Flea's Giant Leap for Mankind
Fleas use it to perform leaps that would make Olympic high jumpers
green with envy. Bees use it to flap their wings without tiring.
Now Australian scientists have achieved a world first by copying
resilin, the "rubber" insects employ to accomplish
such athletic feats. Future versions of the material could be
used to make resilient spare parts, including spinal discs and
Using The Ocean to Create
Scientists are working on harnessing underwater currents to create
power from the ocean that doesn't clutter the surface.
Why The Mainstream News
Programs Can't Tell You Much Good News
A news station's very existence is on the line, and the competition
is fierce. They can't afford to let your mind wander. They must
arrest your attention, and bad news is the best way to do it.