Inspirational News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational News Articles in Media
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.
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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.”
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Citizens of one of the happiest countries on Earth are surprisingly comfortable contemplating a topic many prefer to avoid. Is that the key to joy? On a visit to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, I found myself sitting across from a man named Karma Ura, [confessing] something very personal. Not that long before, seemingly out of the blue, I had experienced some disturbing symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness in my hands and feet. I feared I was having a heart attack. So I went to the doctor, who ran a series of tests and found... “Nothing,” said Ura. Even before I could complete my sentence, he knew that my fears were unfounded. I was not dying. I was having a panic attack. “You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura replied. “It will cure you.” “How?” I said, dumbfounded. “It is this thing, this fear of death ... is what is troubling you.” “But why would I want to think about something so depressing?” “Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.” In Bhutanese culture, one is expected to think about death five times a day. The Bhutanese may be on to something. In a 2007 study, University of Kentucky psychologists [concluded] that “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”. Death is a part of life, whether we like it or not. Ignoring this essential truth comes with a ... cost.
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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.”
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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.
A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics. Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation. It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain living with Type 1 diabetes. And it marks the culmination of 23-years of research for Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby. “We are now just one pre-clinical step away from the finish line,” said Prof Melton. The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months, Prof Melton said. The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities. A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.
The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely. Scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines. “We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University ... who led the study. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped. The man described everything that had happened in the room." Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed, 39 per cent said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness. Some recalled seeing a bright light. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies.
In 1991, in the tiny town of New Berlin, in upstate New York, a young physician named Bill Thomas ... had just taken a new job as medical director of Chase Memorial Nursing Home. More farmer than doctor, [Thomas] had a Paul Bunyan beard and was more apt to wear overalls beneath his white coat than a tie. From the first day on the job, he felt the stark contrast between the giddy, thriving abundance of life that he experienced on his farm and the confined, institutionalised absence of life that he encountered every time he went to work. So, acting on little more than instinct, he decided to try to put some life into the nursing home. They moved in ... one hundred parakeets, four dogs, two cats, plus a colony of rabbits and a flock of laying hens. [They also planted] hundreds of indoor plants and a thriving vegetable and flower garden, [and introduced] on-site child care for the staff. Researchers studied the effects of this programme over two years, comparing a variety of measures for Chase’s residents with those of residents at another nursing home nearby. Their study found that the number of prescriptions required per resident fell to half that of the control nursing home. The total drug costs fell to only 38 per cent of the comparison facility. Deaths fell 15 per cent. The study couldn’t say why. But Thomas thought he could.
If you've ever volunteered in a soup kitchen, you know the feeling of having served others. But what about those on the other side of the food line? Are they getting what they need most? Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, didn't think so. He set out to train homeless people on the streets of Washington, D.C. — many of whom were drug addicts cycling in and out of a life of crime — how to cook and earn a food handler's license. The goal was to help them trade addiction and crime for stable employment in restaurants and other food enterprises. Egger's kitchen got its start turning surplus and donated food into meals that are provided to homeless shelters and other nonprofits. Later, DC Central Kitchen opened an arm that operates much like a private company, selling high-quality meals to schools and 60 corner stores in low-income neighborhoods of the city. Today ... it delivers 5,000 meals each day to local nonprofit organizations and another 5,000 meals to schools. It operates a culinary job-training program that trains 80 people each year, and gets many of its supplies from small, local farms. Sixty percent of its funding is revenue that it earns from sales. "This idea of everyone side by side — it's a powerful image," says Egger. "The president of the United States, someone from the shelter, a kid from Wilson High School — we're Washingtonians, side by side. This is the power of community!"
Note: The DC Kitchen model has been adopted by organizations around the country, and inspired The Campus Kitchens Project, where students help recover food that might be wasted and prepare meals for people in need in their communities.
Sonia and Anita, two sisters living in rural India, were both born blind. A simple surgery, costing about $300, could have restored their sight long ago; but their parents, who earn 17 cents an hour planting and harvesting rice by hand, could barely make ends meet. Thanks to the efforts of 20/20/20, a nonprofit working to restore vision to blind children and adults in some of the world’s poorest countries, Sonia and Anita were able to undergo that simple surgery on their eyes. When the bandages came off, they saw the world around them for the very first time, and it was captured in a video detailing the sisters’ story. Sonia, 12, is said to have gasped as she opened her eyes and blinked into the sunlight for the first time. Her 6-year-old sister, holding her mother close, reportedly declared, “I can see, Mommy.” According to 20/20/20, the 15-minute “miracle” surgery, which the sisters both underwent, involves a surgeon removing the defective lens that causes blindness and replacing it with an artificial lens. The procedure could restore the eyesight of half the blind children and adults in the world, the nonprofit says. “The only problem is, for the poorest people in the world, who live on $1 a day, they could never afford to pay for a $300 surgery. So they will remain blind for the rest of their lives –- unless someone helps them,” 20/20/20 writes on its website.
Food Forward: Urban Agriculture Across America is a half-hour, character-driven survey of urban farming across the country. John Mooney has a hydroponic rooftop farm on top of a ... building in the West Village of Manhattan. Next, Andrew Coté, President of the New York City Beekeepers Association hawks his honey at the Tomkin’s Square Farmer’s Market in lower Manhattan. Coté explains how urban beekeeping helps to pollinate the urban farms and community gardens scattered throughout the city. Leaving New York, we head to Milwaukee where ... Will Allen inspires a new generation of innovators. Will motivated the folks at Sweetwater Aquaponics into action, scaling up his Telapia farm to more of a commercial operation. We follow the flow of fish from 8,000 gallon tanks in an abandoned warehouse to plate at La Merenda restaurant. Moving on to West Oakland, we get an in-depth look at urban farmer Abeni Ramsey who came from the mean streets of West Oakland but is now running her own crew at City Girl Farms. Finally, we finish in the food deserts, Detroit, MI, where we spend time with eighteen-year-old Travis Roberts, who grew up in Detroit, watching the city watching the city struggle with increasing urban blight. In trouble and more than 100 pounds overweight, he was headed in the wrong direction. But since then, he’s discovered the city’s urban agriculture movement and found a new purpose in life and is out to become an urban chicken rancher.
Note: Don't miss the inspiring video on this exciting development at the link above.
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