Inspirational News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational News Articles in Media
What if leaders of the world’s major religions got together one day and denounced all religious violence? What if they unanimously agreed to make this plain, clear and bold statement to the world? “Violence and terrorism are opposed to all true religious spirit and we condemn all recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion.” It could change the world. More than 200 leaders of the world’s dozen major religions did get together January 24 in Assisi, Italy. Pope John Paul II and a number of cardinals were at the meeting. So was Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians. So were a dozen Jewish rabbis, including some from Israel. So were 30 Muslim imams from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. So were dozens of ministers representing Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Disciples of Christ, Mennonites, Quakers, Moravians, The Salvation Army and the World Council of Churches. So were dozens of monks, gurus and others representing Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Zoroastrians and native African religions. They unanimously agreed to condemn “every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion.” They also said, “No religious goal can possibly justify the use of violence by man against man.” And that “Whoever uses religion to foment violence contradicts religion’s deepest and truest inspiration.” They called their statement the Assisi Decalogue for Peace. Maybe you missed the story. It didn’t even make the newspapers the next day, hidden inside or not. What if leaders of the world’s major religions got together one and denounced all religious violence - and no one cared?
Note: Why is it that news about war and terrorism so frequently makes headlines, but the amazing news that leaders of religions from around the world got together to denounce all violence in the name of God and religion did not even warrant an article or story in any major media?
Ahh, chocolate. There probably isn't a more magical ingredient on earth than the sweet, dark brown flavoring used for more than 3,000 years. Today most chocolate is consumed in the form of candy. Common sense tells us that too much of something so fatty and full of calories is a bad thing. But a surprising number of studies have found that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of death from a heart attack, decrease blood pressure and help those with chronic fatigue syndrome. The question for many chocolate lovers has been at what point are you having too much of a good thing. That is, is there an optimal "dose" for chocolate eating? A new study published in the journal Heart on Monday looked at the effect of diet on long-term health. It involved 25,000 volunteers and found that the answer to how much chocolate can be good for you is - a lot. Those who ate 15 to 100 grams of chocolate a day in the form of everything from Mars bars to hot cocoa had lower heart disease and stroke risk than those who did not consume the confection. The study also noted that more of the participants in the study ate milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate which has long been considered healthier. This might suggest that beneficial health effects may apply to both, the researchers said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the global microfinance movement, is perhaps best known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Yunus thinks the American Dream — or at least key components of it — is kind of a sham. “It’s the tyranny of employment,” Yunus told me. It’s not the working that he objects to. It’s the idea that so many simply aspire to work for someone else. For him, the idea of employment is the result of an artificial economic system that anoints the few as entrepreneurs and the rest of us workers. The philosophy goes to the heart of Yunus’ lifelong work in microfinance to combat poverty. Since 1997, Grameen Bank, the nonprofit financial institution he founded in Bangladesh, has lent billions of dollars to poor people, mostly women, to start their own businesses. Yunus’ ideas are incompatible with ... the venture capital model. “Some people tell me ‘Not all human beings are entrepreneurs,’” he said. “‘Some have that capability. Others do not have that capability.’ I say ‘Why do you say that? You distort them to make them workers. You already ruined them, giving their mind this idea of job.’” Is a poor woman in Bangladesh who cleans people’s homes any less of an entrepreneur than Mark Zuckerberg? The only difference is that Facebook got millions of dollars in venture capital whereas the woman received a $5 loan from Grameen Bank to buy a vacuum cleaner and a mop. There is no such bank for poor people in America to start businesses, let alone open a savings and checking account.
Note: Read more on the empowering microcredit movement and the inspiring work of Muhammad Yunus.
Welcome to “Spring Fever” week in primary schools across the Netherlands, the week of focused sex ed classes. In the Netherlands, the approach, known as “comprehensive sex education,” starts as early as age 4. You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education. All primary school students in the Netherlands must receive some form of sexuality education. The system allows for flexibility in how it’s taught. But it must address certain core principles — among them, sexual diversity and sexual assertiveness. That means encouraging respect for all sexual preferences and helping students develop skills to protect against sexual coercion, intimidation and abuse. The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject. “There were societal concerns that sexualization in the media could be having a negative impact on kids,” [health promotion official Robert] van der Vlugt said. “We wanted to show that sexuality also has to do with respect, intimacy, and safety.” The Dutch approach to sex ed has garnered international attention, largely because the Netherlands boasts some of the best outcomes. The teen pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world, five times lower than the U.S. Rates of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases are also low.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war. "Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons," the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. "For this reason, many people do not want peace." He also called the weapons business an "industry of death," according to Catholic Herald. The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding. “Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes," he said. "This does us good." The pope's strong words against the weapons industry echo the pontiff's earlier anti-war statements. On December 7, 2014 Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, stating, "Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home." "Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations," he continued. "To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty."
Note: Go Pope Francis! Watch the beautiful video of this event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest meat producers, said on Tuesday that it planned to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chicken production by 2017. The company had been working toward that goal for some time, ceasing the use of antibiotics in its hatcheries last year and adopting feed free of antibiotics this year. Then McDonald’s, the sprawling restaurant chain that is one of Tyson’s biggest customers, said in March that it planned over the next two years to rid its supply chains of chicken treated with antibiotics important to human medicine. At that time, health advocates and investment analysts predicted Tyson would take the final steps to eliminate the drugs from its chicken production. The company said in a news release that it would begin meeting with groups of farmers who produce pork, turkey and beef for Tyson under contract to come up with a plan for eliminating antibiotic use in their programs. “Antibiotic-resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive of Tyson Foods, in a statement. Perdue, another large chicken producer, said last fall that it had eliminated human antibiotics from its hatcheries, the last step in a long process to reduce its reliance on such drugs. It still uses antibiotics that are not used in human medicine, as will Tyson.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor has made a career studying the science of happiness. "Scientifically, happiness is a choice," Achor says. He explains that research has shown you can rewire your brain to make yourself happy by practising simple happiness exercises. Achor says in just 21 days, the exercises can transform a pessimist into an optimist. And within 30 days, those habits change the neuropathways of our brains and turn us into lifelong optimists. These six daily happiness exercises are proven to make anyone, from a 4-year old to an 84-year old, happy, or simply happier, Achor says: 1. Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you're grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don't have to be profound. 2. The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint. 3. The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant. 4. Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you're doing and concentrate on breathing. 5. Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. 6. Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends.
Note: The three-minute video at the link above link has some good ideas on achieving greater happiness. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The CEO of a credit-card payments company in Seattle said executive pay is "out of whack," so he's cutting his own pay and creating a minimum salary for his workers. Now, he will be earning $70,000 like many of them, and he's OK with it. Dan Price, 30, announced this week that any employee at his company, Gravity Payments, making less than $70,000 annually will receive a $5,000-per-year raise or be paid a minimum of $50,000, whichever is greater. The aim: By December 2017, everyone will earn $70,000 or more. To facilitate this change, Price said his salary will decrease to $70,000 from about $1 million. "My salary wasn't $1 million because I need that much to live, but that's what it would cost to replace me as a CEO," Price told ABC News. Price started the company in 2004 when he was only 19 years old, [when] the cost of living in Seattle was much lower than it is today. When Gravity launched, the company paid $24,000 per year even for senior positions. Today, the company, which pays an average salary of $48,000, has 120 employees. 70 of their paychecks will grow with this plan. "I may have to scale back a little bit, but nothing I’m not willing to do." Price chose the $70,000 figure based on a 2010 Princeton University study that showed happiness, or "life evaluation," is positively impacted up to $70,000 or $75,000 per year; but increases above that figure did not have a significant positive effect on happiness.
The Vatican has long opposed nuclear weapons, but Pope Francis is making the cause one of the top diplomatic priorities of his two-year-old papacy. In December, the Vatican submitted a paper calling for total nuclear disarmament to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. In January, Pope Francis touted nuclear disarmament as a major goal alongside climate change. “Pope Francis has recently pushed the moral argument against nuclear weapons to a new level, not only against their use but also against their possession,” Archbishop Bernedito Auza, the Holy See’s Ambassador to the U.N., says. “Today there is no more argument, not even the argument of deterrence used during the Cold War, that could ‘minimally morally justify’ the possession of nuclear weapons. The ‘peace of a sort’ that is supposed to justify nuclear deterrence is specious and illusory.” For Francis ... inequality and nuclear power are interwoven. “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations,” Pope Francis wrote to the Vienna Humanitarian Conference in December. “To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price.”
Monty Roberts is taking his message of nonviolent communication and developing trust to military veterans, military police, and incarcerated youths with post-traumatic stress disorder. “The key is to speak the horse’s language, which is gesture,” he says. He has demonstrated an uncanny ability to “speak” this language, eliminating the centuries-long practice of “breaking a horse” with traditional methods. Roberts is considered the original horse whisperer ... spending a lifetime refining his system, teaching it globally through books, videos, TV shows, demonstration tours, and his own Equestrian Academy. At an evening at his ranch titled “Night of Inspiration,” Roberts told of overcoming an abusive father and the prickly resistance of the traditional equestrian community to become arguably the top horse trainer in the world. Now he is morphing into the role of advocate for the healing power of horses. Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of the Military Channel, summed up the results after about 400 people attended a clinic: “The impressive, unique work that Monty Roberts has pioneered, using untrained horses as a therapeutic tool for veterans who are trying to work through anger and depression, is absolutely inspiring.” Brigitte von Rechenberg, a professor of veterinary medicine, [said] “There is trust and respect; there is no winner and no loser. Monty’s methods leave the horse his dignity. These concepts cause happiness to reach your soul.”
McDonald’s said on Wednesday that its 14,000 US restaurants will stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics "important to human medicine," a significant change in food policy for the world’s largest fast-food chain. McDonald’s said the decision is an attempt to adapt to diners’ desire for healthier food.‘‘Our customers want food that they feel great about eating — all the way from the farm to the restaurant — and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations,’’ McDonald’s US president, Mike Andres, said in a statement. McDonald’s said the new policy will be implemented across its US supply chain within two years. Also, McDonald’s said that this year it will begin offering milk jugs in its Happy Meals that contain milk from cows that have not been treated with the growth hormone rbST. Public health advocates cheered the move, and some groups, including Keep Antibiotics Working, said they had been in ‘‘close dialogue’’ with McDonald’s about the policy change.
A group of top American intellectuals have volunteered to "take" the 1,000 lash sentence imposed by the Saudi government on a prominent liberal blogger. Raif Badawi ... received the sentence for insulting his country's hardline Islamic clerics. The move, which follows widespread international outrage at the sentence, is being led by Robert P. George, a leading professor at Princeton University. Professor George said: "Together with six colleagues on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, I sent a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the US calling on the Saudi government to stop the horrific torture of Raif Badawi — an advocate of religious freedom and freedom of expression in the Saudi Kingdom. If the Saudi government refuses, we each asked to take 100 of Mr. Badawi's lashes so that we could suffer with him. The seven of us include Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Christians, Jews, and a Muslim." Mr Badawi, 31, who set up a liberal website to discuss Saudi politics in which he criticised the country’s hardline religious establishment, has been sentenced to ten years in prison as well as 1,000 lashes. So harsh is the flogging that it has to be administered in individual sessions of 50 lashes a time in order to stop the recipient dying or suffering serious injury during the process. The first bout of 50 lashes was dished out to Mr Badawi on January 9, before hundreds of spectators in a public square in front of a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The date for a second set of lashes has so far been postponed as doctors have said that Mr Badawi's injuries from the first flogging have not yet healed.
David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance. This month, Korten, who is also the co-founder and board chair of YES!, publishes a new book challenging readers to rethink their relationship with Earth—indeed, with all creation, from the smallest quantum particle to the whole of the universe. The world needs “a new story,” he says. Buying into the “Sacred Money and Markets” story that money is wealth and the key to happiness locks us into indentured servitude to corporate rule. It’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living. The only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.
Note: David Korten's new book is titled: Change the Story, Change the Future. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Sometimes people laugh when Zac Bookman tells them what his company, OpenGov does. Not out of mockery. Out of disbelief that a website — or, really, anything — can make it easier to track how the government spends trillions of dollars of their tax money. Users [of OpenGov] can easily share what they find with friends — or push back on government officials to question their spending. Still, Bookman hears doubters. Cynicism runs deep, especially when it involves government becoming more transparent. Bookman ... understands their skepticism. People have lost faith in government officials to improve their lives. “People don’t think of (government) as an industry, but it is,” said Bookman, whom Ronnie Lott nominated for the first Chronicle and St. Mary’s College Visionary of the Year award. “Our software allows you to see where the money goes.” $7 trillion in public dollars ... flows through federal, state and local government entities, from big cities to mosquito abatement districts. Much of it is hidden in plain sight, virtually inaccessible to the public because of user-unfriendly tech interfaces. But now more than 250 government organizations are using [OpenGov], including the city of Los Angeles. There is a bipartisan appeal to this sort of transparency. Conservatives like it because it helps to highlight where to cut government fat, while liberals buy into it because this sort of tool can quantify the value of government services. OpenGov is attempting to ... make this very complex data usable by people who are not financial experts.
For decades, American high school teacher Bruce Farrer has been asking his students to write letters to their future selves. 20 years later, he tracks down the students and posts their letters to them. Speaking in a video for US airline West Jet, Farrer says that the letters have become more valuable because we now communicate far less by letters than we did 20 years ago. He created the assignment because he wanted his students to do an exercise "that was different, that would be interesting and one that they would value". An old pupil of Farrer says when he was asked to write a 10 page letter to his future self, he thought it was "a lesson just to pass the time, to keep us busy for a few hours while he did other things". He now understands what a dedicated teacher Farrer was. Of course, tracking down your students 20 years after teaching them is a challenging task. Farrer describes it as "a lot of detective work" but he is excited to find out the different paths his ex-pupils have taken. The video shows the reactions of some of Farrer's old students upon opening their letters. One describes it as an "emotional roller-coaster" as she reads about the passing of her grandmother and aunt, experienced through the eyes of her younger self. Despite the profound effect that receiving the letters has on its recipients, Farrer remains modest about his diligence and commitment. "I'm just a regular teacher who happened to assign a rather different assignment", he says.
A campaign launching Tuesday aims to get growing businesses to do what San Francisco’s Salesforce.com did in its infancy 15 years ago: Promise to donate 1 percent of its equity, 1 percent of its employees’ time and 1 percent of the firm’s products to charity. Called the Pledge 1% Program — and led by Salesforce and others — it aims to get 500 other corporations to do the same over the next year. Those who have bought into the idea have seen other benefits. “It’s good for business, too,” said Bradley Heinz, program manager at Optimizely.org. The San Francisco company — which includes several top execs who used to work at Salesforce — is participating in the program. If a younger company can make philanthropy part of its DNA when it is smaller, it will become a way of life as it grows. It is somewhat easier to convince a young firm to volunteer time and offer its product at a deeply discounted rate. San Francisco’s income inequality divide — the fastest-growing in the country — is inspiring other growing companies to look at what they can do to help. Employees at Practice Fusion, a cloud medical records company in San Francisco, decided that they would take $50,000 that would have been used for their holiday gift and give it to the poor. “People were not that into the gifts and schwag,” said Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard. “They wanted to give back.”
In the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Americans have grown accustomed to images of police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. One such image is now going viral, but not for the reason one might think. The photo ... shows 12-year-old Devonte Hart and Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum embraced in a hug outside of a Ferguson rally on Tuesday. Hart’s mother ... explained that she and Hart went to downtown Portland “with the intention of spreading love and kindness.” Hart brandished a “Free Hugs” sign as he stood alone in front of a police barricade. His mother says he started to get emotional during the rally: “He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a ‘Free Hugs’ sign around his neck, when he’s a full-grown black male, if his life will be in danger for simply being.” That’s when Sgt. Barnum noticed Hart crying and called the boy over to him. Barnum ... asked why he was crying. Hart’s mother says his response was “about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected: “Yes. I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Next, Sgt Barnum asked if he could have one of the “Free Hugs” advertised on his sign. Barnum [said] “it’s a blessing for me that I didn’t miss an opportunity to impact this child.” The image has now been shared widely across social media. Hart’s mother called the tearful hug “one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.”
Note: Read lots more on this inspiring incident and the challenging background of Devonte Hart. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Denmark, a tiny country on the northern fringe of Europe, is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change. It aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well. Lest anyone consider such a sweeping transition to be impossible in principle, the Danes beg to differ. They essentially invented the modern wind-power industry, and have pursued it more avidly than any country. They are above 40 percent renewable power on their electric grid, aiming toward 50 percent by 2020. The political consensus here to keep pushing is all but unanimous. The trouble, if it can be called that, is that renewable power sources like wind and solar cost nothing to run, once installed. That is potentially a huge benefit in the long run. But [it] can render conventional power plants, operating on gas or coal or uranium, uneconomical to run. Yet those plants are needed to supply backup power for times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. So the trick now is to get the market redesign right. If Denmark can figure out a proper design for the electric market, it has another big task to meet its 2050 goal: squeezing the fossil fuels out of transportation.
Note: Denmark is consistently setting world records for wind power, which is now cheaper than fossil fuels there.
Neha Gupta became the first ever American today to be awarded the Children’s International Peace Prize in The Hague, Netherlands. The prize is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children’s rights. Gupta began her astounding work when she was just a child herself, visiting her parents' native India nine years ago. Carrying out a family tradition of celebrating birthdays by delivering gifts to orphans, she was struck by the condition these children were living in. "The place was just really in shambles," Gupta told Saulny. "I didn't want to accept these things. These are things I wanted to fix." She moved to fix them quickly, any way that she could. Back home in Pennsylvania, she made a bold move, deciding to sell all of her toys to raise money for the orphans she had met in India. "We just put it out on our driveway and people came, bought things and it turned out to be such a successful event,” Gupta said. “From that one event we raised $700 and I’ve wanted to keep going.” Gupta kept going, selling crafts door to door and collecting corporate donations in her dad’s SUV. Nine years later, now an 18-year-old college student, she runs Empower Orphans, a global charity that has raised $1.3 million. The organization reaches orphans in the U.S. and abroad, helping to build classrooms, buy books, equip computer labs, pay for health exams, supply water and buy sewing machines to empower other young women to start their own businesses. Despite all of her extraordinary successes, Gupta describes herself as just an ordinary teenager who found her calling early in life. That bit of serendipity has touched the lives of more than 25,000 children so far.
Note: Don't miss an inspiring video on this beautiful woman and the way she is changing the world.
These 16 individuals under 20 have all invented solutions that have somehow eluded those who can legally drink. Many of these kids were inspired by simple necessity. Others were driven by compassion. Some of them were just doing science fair projects. Eesha Khare: This 18-year-old from Saratoga, California, was still in high school when she invented a battery that can be charged in 20 seconds. It also lasts 10 times as long as a standard battery. Ryan Patterson: The inability to communicate with most hearing people makes life difficult for deaf persons. Knowing this, Colorado-born Ryan invented a glove that translates sign language. It’s simply a golf glove that uses sensors, a radio frequency transmitter, and a microcontroller to interpret hand movements. He was 17. Why didn’t anyone else think of this? Raquel Redshirt: Growing up in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation, Raquel experienced poverty so extreme that her family and neighbors often couldn’t afford electricity, making it near impossible to cook anything. So at 16, she discovered a way to make solar-powered ovens using the simple materials collected around the area. Working with old tires, aluminum foil, shredded paper, and dirt, she made these usually expensive ovens for the people in her community. Have you built any ovens for your neighbors lately?
Note: Why aren't some of these inventions being hailed and promoted widely in the media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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