Sharing Some Good News

Synopsis and Links to Encouraging and Inspiring Articles

Cheer Up!

Goodness knows we have had more than our share of discouraging or unnerving news of late, especially in the political realm. OK, also in the social realm, climate, weather, medical, economics….

We could use some good news.

Take heart. I am about to share a short synopsis with links of six recent stories that offer hope and encouragement. Most are based in science or medicine, but a couple are just about folks who decided to have lives well lived; in one story, living well just for the duration of a walk. In another, ending it all well. Let’s dive in and see what we have on offer.

Growing Crops Under Solar Panels – A Bight Idea

Putting a lot of solar panels out in what might have been unproductive or unprofitable farmland is not new. But some have gotten clever in combining farming with solar panel farms. This actually has a term to describe it – agrivoltaics.

Done properly, with the right crops it wins on many fronts. The land is remarkably productive in two economic sectors. The panels provide some shade and protection from heavy rains. The plants give off water vapor, cooling the panels and they help keep the soil rich and suitable for the panels to be anchored in.

Read all about it in this short and informative article in Wired:

Oyster Beds to Save the Coasts – and More

 This was an excellent read in the New Yorker about a young landscape architect and her innovative work to save the world’s coast lines. But it is more than an ecology story. As good as that part of the story is to read, there were a couple of other fine storylines.

One was how her work and life was advanced by good mentors who saw that she had great potential to help the world; they helped her do that. Another was that sometimes large, seemingly inflexible institutions can surprise us pleasantly. Her analysis was that much of what we have traditionally done in the name of flood control actually made things worse.

A modified back to nature process could fix that problem. Lots of people blew off her early proposals, calling them idealistic but unrealistic. One group that did not blow her off was the Army Corps of Engineers – the entity that did much of that aforementioned wrong work. They reached out to her early in her work and now have hundreds of people working on projects of the type she envisions.

It is a hopeful, useful article. Her solutions, by the way, are brilliant. They work:

 20 Inventions That Changed the World

Here is a fun list, of the profound to the whimsical. From suspension bridges to the Pill to pizza boxes. Interesting to note what changes life in substantial ways, sometimes subtly and sometimes dramatically. The variety in this list is impressive. I think you will find this both fun and thought provoking

Enjoy this list from Mental Floss. And think about what you would add to such a list:

New Lamp Generates Light Using a Little Salt Water

Here is a delightful little article about a lamp that captured the imagination. It has won awards for technology, ecology, design, innovation, and social responsibility. The Waterlight, invented by a Columbian working in Spain, can generate light for 45 days powered only by a half-liter (a bit over a pint) of salt water. It works by ionization, producing light and even charging batteries, all using recycled materials.

Well over 800 million people on the planet have no electricity, and thus limited options for power and light. An invention like this can be a game changer. Read all about in The Brighter Side of the News:

Upon My Death, Play the Following Messages

 A few years ago, an Australian began thinking about death and how that loss and separation hurts people. He found and joined a service called Memories, a virtual site where people can post memorials and similar items. Eventually, it occurred to him that such a site could be used for people to leave future messages for others after they were gone. He became the CEO of Memories and spun up from it Future Memories.

It works beautifully. This has real potential. An extract from this article illustrates this:

Grief is intractable and egged on by wishful thinking. If only Dad could be here to walk me down the aisle. I wish our last conversation hadn’t been so dull. What I wouldn’t give to hear “I love you” one more time. Future Memories aims to quell some of that by encouraging the living to imagine how they will be grieved and then inviting them to show up after they’re dead.

 In a commercial for Future Messages, a boy mourns his grandpa, occasionally sending him updates on his life in a one-way text thread. Then one day, years later, Grandpa messages back. “If you’re watching this, Maxie, it’s your 18th birthday,” Grandpa says in a video recording. “I’m really proud of the fine young man you’re becoming. I’ll always bewith you, mate.” The effect is heart-wrenching.

I had a friend who died a few years ago who made a farewell video along these lines. It was a gift of great power, and in his case, humor. Read the article; it will likely leave you thinking about doing something like this:

That Walk Was Awesome

This one returns to earlier articles we published on this blog, about the importance of some occasional solitude and the incredible healing power of time in nature (for me, that means specifically in the woods and the mountains. Pick your own first choice).

This delightful little article in the NY Times celebrates the power of a simple walk in the woods, combined with a dose of mindfulness. The idea simply is to clear your head and focus on what nature presents all around you on such a walk. I guarantee you this is spot on. There are few things you could do for your mental and physical health that match doing this regularly.

Read this, then go take a walk. Do it again, every day if you can:

That’s a Wrap

That does us for this week. Hope you enjoyed the diversions today. If you are as lucky as I am, Fall is finally upon us, with cooler air and wonderful colors and smells. Get out there and enjoy it all.

       Bill Clontz

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