Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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Today, more companies are moving beyond traditional philanthropy to forge important changes in how their businesses support and promote social change. Take Patagonia, which recently ... began encouraging customers to repair their gear rather than contribute to global waste. To help make that happen, Patagonia staff hit the road to offer free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons and more - whether the product was made by Patagonia or not - and showed people how to fix their own gear. Another example is Salesforce.com. The San Francisco cloud computing company ... has been offering discounts on its software of as much as 75 percent so that nonprofits can better connect clients, donors and volunteers, and effectively build resources. At Levi Strauss, 4,000 employees completed 230 volunteer projects during their Community Day in June, including collecting nearly 80 pounds of trash from the Kallang River in Singapore, distributing HIV/AIDS education kits in Belgium and installing playground equipment in Kentucky. So what’s in it for the company? First, it creates a prouder, more engaged and more cohesive workforce. External relationships can benefit, too. Looking ahead, volunteerism and strategic engagement will be increasingly relevant. According to research compiled in “The Millennial Impact Report,” a company’s involvement with causes was the third most important factor to Millennials when applying for a job.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are nearly indestructible. The microscopic animals can survive boiling water, extreme cold, and even a trip to space. Tardigrades can even be frozen for a year, or 10, and return to life when they thaw. But these tough little animals are still surprising scientists. When scientists sequenced the genome of water bears, they found that 17.5 percent of the animals’ DNA came from other species. “We had no idea that an animal genome could be composed of so much foreign DNA,” study co-author Bob Goldstein said in a news release. “We knew many animals acquire foreign genes, but we had no idea that it happens to this degree.” Tardigrades have some 6,000 foreign genes, the scientists report in a paper published Monday. Foreign DNA appears in an organism’s genome through a process called horizontal gene transfer. In that process, species swap genetic material directly, instead of exclusively inheriting DNA from the organism’s parents. Dr. Goldstein and colleagues ... think the tardigrade’s defense mechanism for extreme circumstances actually opens the door for this foreign DNA. When the water bears are under extreme stress they curl up, expel their water and appear dead. The scientists think the animal’s DNA splits into tiny pieces during this process. When the animal starts to come back to life by rehydrating, their cells become leaky and can absorb molecules around the animal. As the animal stitches its own DNA back together, the foreign pieces can get woven in too.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Guilford County, North Carolina, has 24 food deserts - high-poverty neighborhoods where at least one-third of the residents live a mile or more from a grocery store. People living in these neighborhoods are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more. Northeast Greensboro [has] been without a local grocery store for nearly 20 years. "People organized for years to attract a corporate grocery store to the community and were rebuffed every time,” says James Lamar Gibson. “When the spark was lit that we can do this for ourselves, that’s what resonated with ... the community.” Gibson [works] as a volunteer for the Renaissance Community Co-op. The idea of being an owner of the co-op has gotten a lot of residents really excited. In total RCC needs to raise $2.1 million, and they’re about 95 percent of the way there. With the initial fundraising almost complete, RCC is ready to take on the next steps of the project: getting the food and hiring employees. The goal is to work with as many local companies and producers as possible - from the food they buy to the delivery companies to the refrigeration systems. Organizers have made sure to let the community know that this won’t look like a typical co-op in a higher-income neighborhood. The neighborhood is predominantly made up of low-income black families, so the food and the prices will reflect that. The hiring ... will reflect that as well.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A Facebook post from the mother of an unmuzzled B.C. biologist has gone viral, shedding more insight into the changes in the control of information since the new federal government took office last week. [Jody] Paterson quoted a status update her son made on his personal Facebook account. "We were told that it's ok to talk to the media or anyone about what we do without permission. That's how surreal it was. That's how things changed over night," the post reads. Kristi Miller, a B.C.-based molecular geneticist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, was among the first scientists to speak out after the unmuzzling. In 2011, she was prevented from discussing her research into the 2009 Fraser River sockeye salmon collapse following its publication. "When we were banned, it almost made government scientists second-class citizens in the scientific arena," she said. "It was quite embarrassing." Navdeep Bains, the new minister of innovation, science and economic development, announced the policy change Friday, two days after Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in. "Government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public," he said in a written statement. The previous government ... brought in a restrictive communications policy that required national or international media requests to speak with federal government scientists to be approved by a minister's office, and all communications with government scientists to go through a government communications office.
In every corner of the world, there are people who are flagrantly ill, people who mutter to invisible others and box at the air. In India ... Madhu’s relatives dealt with her illness by abandoning her at a healing shrine. She wandered the country [until] the outreach team from an organization called the Banyan found her ... on the street. Since the Banyan was started in 1993, it has rescued over 1,500 women from the street. The group’s members wash, feed and medicate the women, and then they teach them to sew, cook and do other tasks. Families are more likely to take the women back if they come with medication and domestic skills. Over half the women have since been reunited with their kin. When I visited the Banyan, I was struck by how happy and grateful the women were. The atmosphere seemed so different from the palpable anger and fear in the shelters that catered to women with serious mental illness that I knew from working in Chicago. The challenge for the Banyan is to enable women to be useful to families who may not accept them back if they cannot work. In our country, it’s different. Because of our underfunded and fragmented mental health system, it is commonplace for people with psychosis to become periodically homeless. They often end up living in a street culture that teaches them that they become crazy only if they are weak. They distrust help, and they have learned that they should never admit to being ill. To reach the people who need our help we need to understand what it means to be crazy in their world.
A Georgia State Patrol Trooper went above and beyond the call of duty after a Halloween tragedy. Four Morgan County children lost both of their parents as they were getting ready to trick-or-treat Saturday. Donald and Crystal Howard ... were killed instantly when their SUV flew off the road and hit a tree. Trooper Nathan Bradley arrived at the home to break the news of the tragedy. “Unfortunately, I was greeted by four children in full costumes,” Bradley said. With their grandmother’s permission, Bradley didn’t tell the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 13, that their parents had died. “The first thing I said was, ‘Hey lets go get something to eat,’” Bradley said. “They said, ‘My parents will be here soon.’ I said, ‘Your Grandma wants you to hang out with me till she gets here." Bradley treated Justin, Amaya, Damien and Travion to dinner, movies and Halloween candy at the Monroe State Patrol post followed by a sleepover. “The whole purpose was to preserve their Halloween,” said Bradley. They weren't told about their parents’ accident until the next morning when their grandmother arrived. Bradley also started a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses so that Crystal and Donald can be buried in Florida, where the children are moving in with grandparents. All the kindness came from a young state trooper who didn't want to ruin Halloween for his four new friends. “It’s the first time in the line of duty I told someone I loved them and I do love them,” Bradley said. “I care about them a lot.”
Note: Through gofundme, over $450,000 was raised to support this grieving family. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Research is mounting that a natural, potent source of stress relief is right in front of your nose. New science is showing that slowing down and deepening your breathing can have profound effects on well-being. “Many researchers can’t imagine how something so simple could actually have effects on physiology,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Breathing exercises – a staple of mindfulness and yoga practices – have been shown to help control blood pressure, improve heart rate, make arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tamps down the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. Weil and other experts now believe deep breathing has a place in a clinical setting. “It’s enough to warrant applications in several areas of medicine,” says Dr. Luciano Bernardi, an internal-medicine professor whose research shows that slow-breathing exercises improve exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. “We’ve shown that this simple thing has a fantastic series of effects.
Note: Explore three simple breathing exercises recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil.
Cochin International Airport in southern India’s Kerala state may be best known as the gateway to the tourist beaches and houseboats of the region’s famous backwaters. Now it has a new claim to fame: The world’s first solar airport. Since August, the airport has used 46,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres to power all its electricity needs, and sell excess power to the government-run grid. At night, when the sun doesn’t shine, it pulls some of that power back from the grid, making the airport effectively “carbon neutral.” Over the next 25 years, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of planting 3 million trees. The move to solar power is also expected to help cut pollution in Kochi, an industrial city ranked the 24th most polluted in India. Based on the results at Kochi, India’s government has directed 125 airports run by the Airport Authority of India to generate at least 1 megawatt of solar power each by March 2016. If a medium-sized airport such as Kochi, with just 1,300 acres of land, can produce sufficient electrical power for its operations, larger airports such as Delhi, with 5,000 acres, and Bangalore, with 3,000 acres, should be able to meet some of their power demand too, said Kurian, the Kochi airport’s managing director. “We are expecting not only other Indian airports, but airports in other countries, also to follow suit,” he said. “Every day we are being asked for expert advice and are answering queries from across the world.”
In 2015, Naropa University awarded its first-ever honorary degree. Parker Palmer ... delivered one of the greatest commencement addresses of all time — a beam of shimmering wisdom illuminating the six pillars of a meaningful human existence. In his first piece of advice, Palmer calls for living with wholeheartedness. "What I really mean ... is be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you." Palmer’s second point of counsel speaks to ... living with opposing truths. Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself. Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life. In his third piece of advice, Palmer calls for extending this courtesy to others: As you welcome whatever you find alien within yourself, extend that same welcome to whatever you find alien in the outer world. His fourth piece of advice: Take on big jobs ... like the spread of love, peace, and justice. In his fifth point of counsel, Palmer ... offers: "Since suffering as well as joy comes with being human, I urge you to remember this: Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering." In his sixth and final piece of wisdom, Palmer quotes ... Saint Benedict: “Daily, keep your death before your eyes.” If you hold a healthy awareness of your own mortality, your eyes will be opened to ... life.
President Barack Obama announced new measures to smooth the integration of former criminals into society. "We've got to make sure Americans who have paid their debt to society can earn their second chance," Obama said in a speech at Rutgers University in Newark, a city of about 280,000 that has grappled for decades with poverty and high rates of violent crime. Obama said he was banning "the box" that applicants had to check about their criminal histories when applying for certain federal jobs. He praised companies such as Wal-Mart, Target, Koch Industries, and Home Depot for taking similar measures in the private sector. The president noted that Congress was considering similar measures. The new steps unveiled by the White House included up to $8 million in federal education grants over three years for former inmates as well as new guidance on the use of arrest records in determining eligibility for public and federally assisted housing. Obama in July became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. He has called on Congress to pass legislation to change sentencing laws to help reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug crimes. With only 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s prison population, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Note: Read another rich article on ABC News where Obama shares vulnerably about his history and concerns with the justice system.
The European Parliament voted Thursday in support of a resolution that calls on member states to protect Edward Snowden from extradition. The vote ... has no legal force. The resolution urges nations to drop criminal charges and "consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." Snowden called Thursday's vote a "game-changer." "This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward," he wrote.The Justice Department has said Snowden would face criminal prosecution if he returns to the United States. He's been charged with three felony counts, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act. Snowden told the BBC this month that he has offered "many times" to go to prison in the United States as part of a deal to return from exile in Russia, but is still waiting for an answer from the American government. In response to Thursday's vote, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. policy on Snowden has not changed. "He needs to come back to the United States and face the due process and the judicial process here in the United States.
It may seem straight out of "Star Trek," but it's real: Scientists have created a sonic "tractor beam" that can pull, push and pirouette objects that levitate in thin air. The sonic tractor beam relies on a precisely timed sequence of sound waves that create a region of low pressure that traps tiny objects that can then be manipulated solely by sound waves. Though the new demonstration was just a proof of concept, the same technique could be adapted to remotely manipulate cells inside the human body or target the release of medicine locked in acoustically activated drug capsules, said study co-author Bruce Drinkwater. The principle behind the new system is simple: Sound waves, which are waves of high and low pressure that travel through a medium such as air, produce force. "We've all experienced the force of sound," Drinkwater told Live Science. "It's a question of harnessing that force." By tightly orchestrating the release of these sound waves, it should be possible to create a region with low pressure that effectively counteracts gravity. Drinkwater, his Ph.D. student Asier Marzo and other colleagues ... found three different acoustic force fields. One works like tweezers and seems to grab the particles in thin air. Another traps the object in a high-pressure cage. The third type of force field acts a bit like a swirling tornado, with a rotating high-pressure field surrounding a low-pressure, quiet "eye" that holds the object in place.
Note: Watch a video of this incredible tractor beam in action.
The Grant Study ... is now the longest longitudinal study of biosocial human development ever undertaken, and is still on-going. The study’s goal was to identify the key factors to a happy and healthy life. In 2009, I delved into the Grant Study data to establish a Decathlon of Flourishing - a set of ten accomplishments that covered many different facets of success. Two of the items in the Decathlon had to do with economic success, four with mental and physical health, and four with social supports and relationships. Then I set out to see how these accomplishments correlated, or didn’t, with three gifts of nature and nurture - physical constitution, social and economic advantage, and a loving childhood. The results were as clear-cut as they were startling. In contrast with the weak and scattershot correlations among the biological and socioeconomic variables, a loving childhood - and other factors like empathic capacity and warm relationships as a young adult - predicted later success in all ten categories of the Decathlon. What’s more, success in relationships was very highly correlated with both economic success and strong mental and physical health. In short, it was a history of warm intimate relationships ... that predicted flourishing. The Grant Study finds that nurture trumps nature. And by far the most important influence on a flourishing life is love. Not early love exclusively, and not necessarily romantic love. But love early in life facilitates not only love later on, but also the other trappings of success, such as high income and prestige.
In a study published in the January edition of the journal Mindfulness, psychologists ... asked 313 adults if they had helped anyone during the previous week. Eighty-five percent said they had — by, say, listening to a friend’s problems, babysitting, donating to charity, or volunteering. This small study reveals a truth that is consistently demonstrated in many domains of research: We care deeply for one other, and ... would rather help our fellow beings than not. Even more, the science shows that refusing to help others can have debilitating, long-term mental and physical consequences for ourselves. Isolation hurts, physically; so does aggression. Every angry word we utter fries neurons and wears out our hearts. Here’s an experiment you can perform right now: Think about something stressful that happened to you during the past week. Now scan your body: How does your chest, stomach, or neck feel? Then think about something good that happened during the same period, however small. Now what happens in your body? Did you feel any difference? The research predicts that the stressful memory caused you physical discomfort. Your tight chest and clenched stomach doesn’t make the world a better place. So what can you do? Science has an answer, and it starts with counting ... the good things in life. That doesn’t mean we ignore the bad. But all too often our negativity bias leads us to see only the bad, in other people as well as in ourselves. By counting the good things, we see reality more clearly.
Note: The new site Greater Good in Action offers concrete, research-tested practices for individuals to cultivate strengths like awe, gratitude, empathy, and compassion.
Homelessness isn’t backpacking. It’s not military marching. But there are aspects of those things that can make a big difference to a penniless drifter. [Philanthropist Ron Kaplan] had a backpack designed specifically for the homeless. He brought 400 of them to hand out for free in San Francisco ... at the the city's one-stop-aid Navigation Center on Mission Street. Earlier in the week they handed out 600 backpacks in Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley. This was the 44th city they’ve come to since the pack - called Citypak - was invented with High Sierra Sport Co. in 2012. This sturdy, waterproof, multi-pocketed and security-conscious contraption is ... dignity, acknowledgment, freedom and engagement all rolled into one black bag. “I had found that every shelter in America gives out food, clothing, toiletries and the rest, but then homeless people put them in big black trash bags and say goodbye,” Kaplan said. “So I thought, why not create something that gives them more dignity, that helps them as they try to get their lives together?” Fitting tight to the back, with well-padded straps, the pack is made for hours of comfortable carrying. In a bottom pocket is a waterproof, military-style poncho that covers the entire person and backpack. “We’re always getting suggestions to make adjustments, so it’s changed as we go,” Kaplan said. “When I first started doing this, I thought I would just make about 200 and walk around Chicago handing them out,” he said. “Now, by the end of this year we will have given out 22,500 all over the country.”
In the classroom, subjects are often presented as settled and complete. But our collective understanding of any given subject is never complete, according to Jamie Holmes, who has just written a book on the hidden benefits of uncertainty. In “Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing,” Holmes explores how the discomforting notions of ambiguity and uncertainty affect the way we think and behave. Confronting what we don’t know sometimes triggers curiosity. Teachers who hope to inspire curiosity in their students, and to encourage tolerance for ambiguity, can take steps to introduce uncertainty into the classroom. “The emotions of learning are surprise, awe, interest and confusion,” Holmes said. But because confusion provokes discomfort, it should be discussed by teachers to help students handle the inevitable disquiet. “The best assignments should make students make mistakes, be confused and feel uncertain,” he said. Teachers who instruct with a sense of humanity, curiosity and an appreciation for mystery are more apt to engage students in learning, Holmes explained. “Those with an outlook of authority and certainty don’t invite students in,” he said. Also, when teachers present themselves as experts imparting wisdom, students get the mistaken idea that subjects are closed. “Teachers should help students find ways to think and learn,” he said. “The best teachers are in awe of their subjects.” The process of discovery is often messy and non-linear.
During the past few months, young Iraqis met each evening in a sparsely furnished building in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood to ... rebrand their city from one of war to one of peace. Baghdad [is] the heart and soul of Iraq’s culture; cosmopolitan, diverse, and dynamic. The annual Baghdad City of Peace Carnival ... attended this year by more than 15,000 people, provided opportunities for some 500 young people to volunteer, collaborating across political, ethnic, and religious lines in an effort to show the positive side of Baghdad that they see. This year’s carnival included displays of paintings and handicrafts from local artists, readings of traditional poetry, performances by Iraqi and Western-style musicians, a book fair, free health checkups from medical students, and fundraising by local organizations. For Caesar Alwardii, the carnival is a second job. “I work from 8 to 4 every day, and then I come here,” he explains. “I spend more time on this than my actual job because this ... reminds people that there are things to be proud of and happy about in Baghdad.” Now the idea of the carnival may be spreading. “Our goal is that next year every province in Iraq, on one day, will have a Day of Peace,” he says. This year, the carnival took place on the heels of protests in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Noof Assi, one of the organizers of the carnival and a leader in the demonstrations ... sees [these events] as a sign of hope for a better future, especially as struggling Iraqis continue to flee to Europe.
Last July, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced the launch of a bold $100 million project "to reinvigorate the search for life in the universe." The amplified SETI initiative is "the most powerful, comprehensive and intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth," according to the project's website. Now, for the first time, a new group of scientists and other professionals [has] formed a non-profit ... called UFO Detection and TrAcking (UFODATA for short), which includes an international team of scientists and engineers with an interest in UFOs. The organization has one goal and one goal only: to design, build and deploy a global network of automated surveillance stations that will monitor the skies full time looking for UFOs. UFODATA has no interest in alleged government conspiracies or adding more witness reports or FOIA documents to the thousands already on file. The idea here is that only a complete change of methodology toward a purely scientific approach to the UFO issue will enable us to move forward. The monitoring stations ... will record numerous physical characteristics of any UFOs that appear in their range. They will all send their data back to a central location. Current projections are that the stations will cost about $10-20,000 each, thanks to the unprecedented convergence of high resolution digital camera technologies, off-the shelf scientific instrumentation, powerful low-cost computing platforms and far-reaching high-speed internet access.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is taking on an unlikely opponent: junk food. Brady got heated during an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI about Coca-Cola. "The fact that they can sell that, you know, to kids, that's, I mean that's poison for kids, but they keep doing it," Brady said. Brady, a father to two sons and one daughter, also took a shot at breakfast cereals, specifically the cereal represented in advertisements by the character Tony the Tiger. "That's just America and that's what we've been conditioned to so, you know, we believe that Frosted Flakes are actually, is a food," he said. The 38-year-old, four-time Super Bowl champion credited a healthy diet as a big part of his on-field success. He also accused certain large food and beverage companies of false advertising. "All those companies make lots of money selling those things," Brady told WEEI. "They have lots of money to advertise, you know? When you go to the Super Bowl, it's you know, that's who are the sponsors. That's the education that we get. That's what we get brainwashed to believe."
After decades on the fringes, impact investing is going mainstream. Though the phrase isn’t yet commonplace, the concept is familiar enough to have spawned several monikers: values-based investing, green investing, mission-driven investing, sustainable investing, socially responsible investing, principled investing. Some 3,000 investors and entrepreneurs convened at Fort Mason this week to discuss the idea at SOCAP, the leading conference for people who want to support social innovation with their money. “Social-impact investors want to make sure they are doing good in the world but as a genuine investment, not philanthropy,” said Eryc Branham, CEO of MissionHub, which produces the conference. The rapidly growing field measures returns not just in dollars and cents but in social and environmental change. On the financial side, some investors accept lower returns as a trade-off for doing good. But they don’t necessarily have to. A new report from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that pursuing a social agenda doesn’t come at a financial price. After studying 53 funds with 557 investments, Wharton found that their rate of return from 2000 to 2014 was in line with benchmarks like the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. While impact investing amounts are still small compared with the multitrillion-dollar financial market, the potential for making a difference is immense.
Note: Learn how the microcredit movement is providing investors with financial returns while empowering small business owners and lifting people out of poverty.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.