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Inspiring: Healing Our Earth News Stories

Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles on healing our Earth from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

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Getting the Soil Right: How Carbon Farming Combats Climate Change
2023-09-15, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-10-03 15:11:59
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/carbon-farming-climate-change-regenerative-...

The solution to stopping climate change might be buried on 10 acres in the Pauma Valley of California. “The idea is not just to produce food but to improve the soil,” says Alvarez, Solidarity Farm’s Climate Resilience Specialist. “We stopped using the plow to turn the soil, and we do a lot of composting and mulching to improve our soil health.” Solidarity Farm had used organic principles in the 10 years since its inception, but it pivoted to carbon farming after the extreme heat in the summer of 2017. Carbon farmers cultivate plants and trees in a way that maximizes carbon sequestration in the soil. Among the most important practices for carbon farmers are minimizing soil erosion by planting perennials and ground cover, which also lowers soil temperatures, and only working the land by hand or with low-tech solutions. “The soil has the capacity to store more carbon than all plants on the planet together,” Alvarez says. Solidarity Farms produces a diverse range of about 60 different fruits and vegetables, at least 70 percent of them perennial crops such as plums and pomegranates. Stacks of organic chicken manure in front of the vegetable beds wait to be distributed. The farmers enrich the soil with compost and mulch, while deterring pests with diverse crop rotation. According to soil tests, the Solidarity farmers have tripled the amount of carbon in the ground since 2018. “This equates to a drawdown of nearly 600 metric tons of CO2 per year, offsetting the emissions of 80 American households,” Alvarez says.

Note: Have you seen the groundbreaking and inspiring movie Kiss the Ground? In a time where we're told hopeless and divisive narratives about our current environmental challenges, people all over the world are reversing the damage from destroyed ecosystems, regenerating the world's soils, and creating abundant food supplies. Don't miss this powerful film on the growing regenerative agriculture movement and its power to revive global community and our connection to the natural world.


Can a Tiny Restaurant Surcharge Move the Needle on Climate?
2023-09-19, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-09-24 16:45:50
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/zero-foodprint-changing-the-food-system/

When Anthony Myint and his wife Karen Leibowitz opened their San Francisco restaurant The Perennial in 2016, they had big ambitions: They wanted it to be the first carbon-neutral restaurant in the world, and they succeeded. From the recycled floor tiles and reclaimed lumber to the aquaponic herb garden and compostable paper menus, the culinary duo designed every part of the diner with the climate in mind. “We shifted the menus, reduced food waste, switched to renewable energy, started composting and bought carbon offsets,” Myint says. They were motivated by the knowledge that agriculture and food systems contribute nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The Perennial’s menu championed sourdough loaves baked with perennial Kernza grains, and the chefs bought their steaks from regenerative ranches associated with the Marin Carbon Project, the country’s foremost center for regenerative farming. The more Myint learned about regenerative agriculture, the more he became convinced that this was the global solution he needed to champion. “It became clear to me that this is the future of food, similar to the way renewable energy is the future of energy,” he says. “The whole food system needs to gradually transition.” Zero Foodprint is asking restaurant customers and other participating businesses to give one percent of their sales to a pool that funds regenerative agriculture. More than 80 businesses have signed up.

Note: We've summarized a handful of stories about the power of regenerative agriculture practices to reverse and heal global ecological destruction. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Study finds yet another potential use for aloe plants—Natural insecticide
2023-08-24, Optimist Daily
Posted: 2023-09-10 21:23:50
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2023/08/study-finds-yet-another-potential-use-f...

Aloe vera unveiled a new weapon in its arsenal: its discarded peels. Previously discarded as agricultural trash, these peels are now set to become nature’s response to crop-munching pests. Scientists at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley developed a mechanism for converting this underutilized resource into a powerful natural insecticide, presenting a novel approach to pest management. Humans have already used aloe vera for a plethora of reasons. However, none of these applications takes advantage of the peel. “Millions of tons of aloe peels are likely discarded globally each year,” the driving force behind this botanical discovery, Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyay, stated. The idea came to Bandyopadhyay after he noticed bugs biting plants at an aloe manufacturing center but leaving the aloe vera leaves alone. Based on this discovery, the team embarked on an adventure to unearth the hidden potential of aloe peels. Bandyopadhyay emphasizes the dual benefit of inventing a pesticide that avoids dangerous synthetic chemicals, which not only maintains agricultural output but also saves public health. The researchers ... extracted a number of compounds, each with its own set of properties. Octacosane stood out among these for its ability to repel mosquitos. In terms of insecticidal activity, DCM, a separate molecule, outperformed hexane extract. During this procedure, more than 20 compounds were isolated from aloe vera peels, six showing considerable insecticidal activity.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Microplastic pollution: Plants could be the answer
2023-08-16, University of British Columbia
Posted: 2023-09-10 20:33:00
https://news.ubc.ca/2023/08/16/microplastic-pollution-plants-could-be-the-ans...

Could plants be the answer to the looming threat of microplastic pollution? Scientists at UBC’s BioProducts Institute found that if you add tannins—natural plant compounds that make your mouth pucker if you bite into an unripe fruit—to a layer of wood dust, you can create a filter that traps virtually all microplastic particles present in water. While the experiment remains a lab set-up at this stage, the team is convinced that the solution can be scaled up easily and inexpensively. For their study, the team analyzed microparticles released from popular tea bags made of polypropylene. They found that their method (they’re calling it “bioCap”) trapped from 95.2 per cent to as much as 99.9 per cent of plastic particles in a column of water, depending on plastic type. When tested in mouse models, the process was proved to prevent the accumulation of microplastics in the organs. Dr. Rojas, a professor in the departments of wood science, chemical and biological engineering, and chemistry at UBC, adds that it’s difficult to capture all the different kinds of microplastics in a solution, as they come in different sizes, shapes and electrical charges. “There are microfibres from clothing, microbeads from cleansers and soaps, and foams and pellets from utensils, containers and packaging. By taking advantage of the different molecular interactions around tannic acids, our bioCap solution was able to remove virtually all of these different microplastic types.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How gardens enable refugees and immigrants to put down roots in new communities
2023-09-06, PBS News
Posted: 2023-09-10 20:29:31
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/how-gardens-enable-refugees-and-immigrants-...

Gardening and community gardens can be ways for immigrant and refugee communities to supplement their pantries by growing their own food, especially culturally appropriate food that is not readily found in grocery stores. It also helps people send literal roots down into a new place while maintaining a connection with their homeland. The Arab American National Museum (AANM) has created a new heritage garden on its roof with donated seeds, cuttings, and plants from local Arab American community members around Dearborn, Michigan. These include plants with a connection to the Arab world, but also plants from Michigan that have become meaningful to the Arab American community here. Accompanying the plants in the garden are oral histories of those community members about what gardening means to them, collected by the museum’s community historian. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, Phimmasone Kym Owens ... said, ‘Why don’t I create a garden for refugees?’” In 2021, Owens reached out to Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. They formed a partnership to create an innovative refugee-to-refugee community garden program ... and to work with refugees and grow culturally appropriate vegetables. “What sold this as being different is giving autonomy to the clients,” Owens said. “So we had a vote. They voted [for] Freedom Garden. And that’s a name that says it all. The fact that they chose Freedom Garden says exactly what you know, being a refugee, what you want.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘This way of farming is really sexy’: the rise of regenerative agriculture
2023-08-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-08-20 16:15:42
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/14/this-way-of-farming-is-re...

Hollie Fallick looks over Brading on the Isle of Wight, at a patchwork of fields bordered by ancient oaks. She farms with her best friend, Francesca Cooper. The friends ... are part of a growing global movement practising regenerative agriculture – or regen ag for short. “Regenerative agriculture is nature-friendly farming,” says Fallick. “It’s thinking about the health of soil, animals, humans and how they all link together.” On Nunwell home farm, which sits alongside land the pair manage for the Wildlife Trust and produces meat and eggs for their direct-to-consumer business, chickens peck away alongside belted Galloway cows, nomadic pigs graze on grass as well as kale and bean “cover crops” sown to boost nutrients in the soil. The idea is that by following the basic principles of regen ag – not disturbing the soil, keeping it covered, maintaining living roots, growing a diverse range of crops and the use of grazing animals – they can regenerate tired and depleted soil and produce nutritious food.  The work, they argue, is urgent. Up to 40% of the world's land is now degraded by industrial and harmful farming methods, according to the UN. Barnes Edwards, co-director of the Garlic Farm ... argues that regen ag farmers recognise the “hideously negative impact” of badly managed livestock farming. But they also argue “it’s the how, not the cow”, and say that cows pooing and trampling in diversely planted fields boosts soil health, micronutrients and attracts insects, birds and butterflies.

Note: Don't miss Kiss the Ground, a powerful documentary on the growing regenerative agriculture movement and its power to build global community, reverse the many environmental crises we face, and revive our connection to the natural world. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Dead flies could be used to make biodegradable plastic, scientists say
2023-08-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-08-20 16:13:43
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/14/dead-flies-biodegradable-...

Dead flies could be turned into biodegradable plastic, researchers have said. The finding, presented at the autumn meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), could be useful as it is difficult to find sources for biodegradable polymers that do not have other competing uses. “For 20 years, my group has been developing methods to transform natural products – such as glucose obtained from sugar cane or trees – into degradable, digestible polymers that don’t persist in the environment,” said the principal investigator, Karen Wooley. A colleague suggested she could use waste products left over from farming black soldier flies. The larvae of the flies contain proteins and other nutritious compounds so are being raised for animal feed. However, adult flies are less useful and are discarded. Wooley’s team has been trying to use these carcasses to make useful materials from a waste product. The researchers found that chitin, a sugar-based polymer, is a major component of the flies and it strengthens the shell, or exoskeleton, of insects and crustaceans. From the fly products, the team created a hydrogel that can absorb 47 times its weight in water in just one minute. This product could be used in cropland soil to capture flood water and then slowly release moisture during droughts. The scientists hope they will soon be able to create bioplastics such as polycarbonates or polyurethanes, which are traditionally made from petrochemicals, from the flies. These plastics will not contribute to the plastic pollution problem.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


We need regenerative farming, not geoengineering
2015-03-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-08-15 13:10:07
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/09/we-need-regenera...

Geoengineering is a technological fix that leaves the economic and industrial system causing climate change untouched. The mindset behind geoengineering stands in sharp contrast to an emerging ecological, systems approach taking shape in the form of regenerative agriculture. More than a mere alternative strategy, regenerative agriculture represents a fundamental shift in our culture’s relationship to nature. Regenerative agriculture comprises an array of techniques that rebuild soil and, in the process, sequester carbon. Typically, it uses cover crops and perennials so that bare soil is never exposed, and grazes animals in ways that mimic animals in nature. It also offers ecological benefits far beyond carbon storage: it stops soil erosion, remineralises soil, protects the purity of groundwater and reduces damaging pesticide and fertiliser runoff. Yields from regenerative methods often exceed conventional yields. Likewise, since these methods build soil, crowd out weeds and retain moisture, fertiliser and herbicide inputs can be reduced or eliminated entirely, resulting in higher profits for farmers. No-till methods can sequester as much as a ton of carbon per acre annually. In the US alone, that could amount to nearly a quarter of current emissions. Ultimately, climate change challenges us to rethink our long-standing separation from nature. It is time to fall in love with the land, the soil, and the trees, to halt their destruction and to serve their restoration.

Note: Don't miss Kiss the Ground, a powerful documentary on the growing regenerative agriculture movement and its power to build global community, reverse the many environmental crises we face, and revive our connection to the natural world. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘Common Ground’: Tribeca Film Connects Regenerative Farming, Politics And Public Health
2023-06-20, Forbes
Posted: 2023-08-15 13:08:37
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2023/06/20/common-ground-tribeca-film-co...

Healthy soil makes healthy food which makes healthy people. That’s one of the key premises behind the documentary, Common Ground, which premiered at the Tribeca Festival. The documentary explores the connection between farming, public policy and disease, and aims to spark a cultural and political movement rooted in the practice of regenerative agriculture. The film hopes to rally for the transition of 100 million more acres of U.S. land to regenerative by tripling the reach and impact of the filmmakers’ 2020 film, Kiss the Ground. Common Ground’s core message about soil, climate and human health is endorsed by star-studded narration from actor-activists Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Rosario Dawson and Ian Somerhalder as well as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Regenerative agriculture [is] a philosophy and approach to land management that nourishes people and the earth. The holistic principles of regenerative farming aim to restore soil and ecosystem health, address inequity and leave our land, waters and climate in better shape for future generations. According to North Dakota farmer ... Gabe Brown, “Regenerative agriculture is a renewal of a food and farming system that focuses on the whole chain, from soil to plant health to animal and human health. The nutrient density of the foods we produce is directly related to the health of the soil.” The current model doesn’t pay farmers who make nutrient-dense products. Regenerative agriculture is changing that.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Mangrove forest thrives around what was once Latin America's largest landfill
2023-07-26, CBS/Associated Press
Posted: 2023-08-07 21:27:55
https://www.cbs42.com/news/international/ap-mangrove-forest-thrives-around-wh...

It was once Latin America's largest landfill. Now, a decade after Rio de Janeiro shut it down and redoubled efforts to recover the surrounding expanse of highly polluted swamp, crabs, snails, fish and birds are once again populating the mangrove forest. "If we didn't say this used to be a landfill, people would think it's a farm. The only thing missing is cattle," jokes Elias Gouveia, an engineer with Comlurb, the city's garbage collection agency that is shepherding the plantation project. "This is an environmental lesson that we must learn from: nature is remarkable. If we don't pollute nature, it heals itself." The former landfill is located right by the 148 square miles (383 square kilometers) Guanabara Bay. Between the landfill's inauguration in 1968 and 1996, some 80 million tons of garbage were dumped in the area, polluting the bay and surrounding rivers with trash and runoff. In 1996, the city began implementing measures to limit the levels of pollution in the landfill, starting with treating some of the leachate, the toxic byproduct of mountains of rotting trash. But garbage continued to pile up until 2012, when the city finally shut it down. Mangroves are of particular interest for environmental restoration for their capacity to capture and store large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide, Gouveia explained. Experts say mangroves can bury even more carbon in the sediment than a tropical rainforest, making it a great tool to fight climate change. Comlurb and its private partner, Statled Brasil, have successfully recovered some 60 hectares.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


This Brazilian activist stared down mining giants to protect the rainforest she loves
2023-06-11, NPR
Posted: 2023-07-23 15:11:26
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/06/11/1181172630/this-brazilia...

Destruction in the Amazon is, once again, approaching an all-time high. Some 335 square miles of rainforest were felled in the first three months of 2023 alone, the second worst quarter in the last 16 years. In 2015, the Munduruku [Indigenous people] had long been fighting the extractive industries encroaching on their land. But this was the first time Korap Munduruku, a 38-year-old teacher and mother of two whose face and body are often painted with traditional geometric designs of her people, decided to take a stand and join them. "So our rights are being violated. Everything going on here is wrong," she recalls saying at the meeting. "We need to do something about it. We can't just sit here and do nothing." The next meeting was with her chief and other leaders from the wider community – there are more than 13,000 Munduruku in Brazil. She eventually left the classroom to take up the fight for land rights full-time. Before long she learned that Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining companies, had applied to extract copper on Sawr© Muybu, a Munduruku territory next to her own. That information and the fight that she would lead against the developers led Korap Munduruku to become one of six recipients of the prestigious 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize, which honors grassroots environmental activists. She built a coalition of other Munduruku and, along with 45 chiefs and 200 other participants, published a declaration in December 2020 opposing mining and deforestation in the Amazon.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Ways of Being' Review: Whole Earth Network
2022-06-17, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2023-07-17 14:59:13
https://www.wsj.com/articles/ways-of-being-book-review-whole-earth-network-11...

The artist, writer and technologist James Bridle begins "Ways of Being" with an uncanny discovery: a line of stakes tagged with unfathomable letters and numbers in thick marker pen. The region of [Greece] is rich in oil, we learn, and the company that won the contract to extract it from the foothills of the Pindus mountains is using "cognitive technologies" to "augment ... strategic decision making." The grid of wooden stakes left by "unmarked vans, helicopters and work crews in hi-vis jackets" are the "tooth- and claw-marks of Artificial Intelligence, at the exact point where it meets the earth." "Ways of Being" sets off on a tour of the natural world, arguing that intelligence is something that "arises ... from thinking and working together," and that "everything is intelligent." We hear of elephants, chimpanzees and dolphins who resist and subvert experiments testing their sense of self. We find redwoods communicating through underground networks. In the most extraordinary result of all, in 2014 the Australian biologist Monica Gagliano showed that mimosa plants can remember a sudden fall for a month. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, science and technology have been used to analyze, conquer and control. But "Ways of Being" argues that they can equally be used to explore and augment connection and empathy. The author cites researchers studying migration patterns with military radar and astronomers turning telescopes designed for surveillance on Earth into instruments for investigating the dark energy of the cosmos.

Note: Read a thought-provoking article featuring a video interview with artist and technologist James Bridle as he explores how technology can be used to reflect the innovative and life-enhancing capacities of non-human natural systems. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mysterious nature of reality from reliable major media sources.


'Everything is natural and tastes so good': microfarms push back against 'food apartheid'
2023-06-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-06-18 22:36:23
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/10/local-food-microfarms-equity

In South Los Angeles, Crop Swap LA volunteers and staffers harvested bags of freshly picked produce from the front yard of a residence. "Everything we're growing is nutrient-dense and the food remains in the neighborhood," says Jamiah Hargins, who founded Crop Swap LA in 2018 as a small monthly swap of surplus produce. After spending years in finance and consulting, Hargins decided to create a local food distribution system to address the fact that his neighborhood was a food desert, meaning most residents have little access to healthy food. It's now one of many Bipoc-led groups across the US that are reclaiming their agricultural heritage and redefining the local food movement by growing on traditional farms and unconventional spaces such as yards, medians and vacant lots as a way to increase food security and health in their own communities. There are similar groups run by communities of color across the US. After the Chicora-Cherokee community in North Charleston, South Carolina, was left without a grocery store for more than 10 years, Fresh Future Farm stepped in. Founded in 2014, the non-profit transformed a vacant lot into a flourishing urban farm that grows bananas, sugarcane, meyer lemons, satsuma oranges, collard greens, okra and tomatoes, among other crops. Two years later, it opened a sliding scale grocery store on the same property – the first one in the area in 11 years. The non-profit also teaches home gardening classes, which is inspiring a new crop of home growers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Scientists Discover Microbes That Could Revolutionize Plastic Recycling
2023-05-26, Smithsonian Magazine
Posted: 2023-06-12 23:58:33
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-discover-microbes-that-c...

High in the Swiss Alps and the Arctic, scientists have discovered microbes that can digest plastics–importantly, without the need to apply excess heat. Their findings, published this month in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, could one day improve plastic recycling. It's no secret that plastic pollution is a big, global issue. Since its production exploded during and after World War II, humans have created more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic–and researchers estimate that less than one tenth of the resulting waste has been recycled. To make matters worse, the most common recycling option–when plastic is washed, processed and turned into new products–doesn't actually reduce waste: The recycled materials are often lower quality and might later end up in a landfill all the same. Researchers are looking for solutions to the plastics problem. One process they've experimented with is breaking down plastics using microorganisms. Enzymes from the microorganisms found in the Arctic and Swiss Alps ... were able to break down biodegradable plastics at 59 degrees Fahrenheit. "These organisms could help to reduce the costs and environmental burden of an enzymatic recycling process for plastic," co-author Joel RÄthi [said]. Of the total 34 types of microbes examined, 19 were successfully able to break down a form of plastic called polyester-polyurethane, and 17 could break down two types of biodegradable plastic mixtures.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


More than 5,000 new species discovered in Pacific deep-sea mining hotspot
2023-05-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-06-12 23:55:08
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/25/more-than-5000-new-specie...

Scientists have discovered more than 5,000 new species living on the seabed in an untouched area of the Pacific Ocean that has been identified as a future hotspot for deep-sea mining, according to a review of the environmental surveys done in the area. It is the first time the previously unknown biodiversity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich area of the ocean floor that spans 1.7m sq miles between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific, has been comprehensively documented. The research will be critical to assessing the risk of extinction of the species, given contracts for deep-sea mining in the near-pristine area appear imminent. Most of the animals identified by researchers exploring the zone are new to science, and almost all are unique to the region: only six, including a carnivorous sponge and a sea cucumber, have been seen elsewhere. One of the deep-sea animals discovered was nicknamed the "gummy squirrel", because of its huge tail and jelly-like appearance, he said. There are also glass sponges, some of which look like vases. The most common categories of creatures in the CCZ are arthropods, worms, members of the spider family and echinoderms, which include spiny invertebrates such as sea urchins, and sponges. "Our role as scientists ... is to provide the data," [biologist Dr. Adrian Glover] said. "Everyone who lives on this planet should be concerned about using it in a sustainable way. I see it as very positive that we can come up with a regulatory structure before mining takes place."

Note: Don't miss the incredible photos of these newly discovered deep-sea species, from the 'gummy squirrel' to deep-sea cucumbers. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The scientists coaxing back nature with sound
2023-05-19, BBC News
Posted: 2023-05-28 20:39:46
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230519-the-sound-recordings-used-to-coax...

Beyond human hearing, a cacophony of natural clicks, whistles and hums pass all around us, linking billions of living beings in networks of sound. Mother whales whisper to their young so predators can't hear them. Bees emit unique buzzing signals to distinguish threats from specific predators. Turtle embryos synchronise their collective moment of birth by making sounds through their shells. And unknown fish species buzz to one another in the depths – their very identities one of nature's countless sonic mysteries. What if tapping into these sounds could allow us to not only to learn more about the natural world, but actually help to begin healing it? An emerging appreciation for the biological importance of sound has led to new strategies for environmental conservation. From microscopic larvae lost at sea to birds that travel hundreds of miles from home, conservationists are now starting to use the sounds of nature to guide them back to where they belong. "Sound is so important," says Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environmental sound at the British Library. "In the natural world, it's used in mating displays, in territorial disputes, as alarm signals." For humans trying to support nature, meanwhile, sound can be used to identify new species, monitor populations and assess the health of ecosystems, she says. There is now a growing interest in the use of sound to accelerate habitat restoration itself, by coaxing certain species to certain locations using their very own sounds.

Note: Listen to a fascinating interview with biologist and innovation consultant Janine Benyus, who explores the power of biomimicry, a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies used by natural systems and species alive today. Benyus proposes that biomimicry can solve some of the gravest of societal and environmental problems by discovering how nature has already solved some of these challenges.


A Biodiversity Hotspot Flourishes as Costa Rica Puts Nature on the Payroll
2023-05-15, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2023-05-28 20:38:13
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/costa-rica-paying-locals-protect-wildlife-b...

The Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s west coast occupies just 0.001 percent of the planet’s surface area, yet is home to an estimated 2.5 percent of all the biodiversity in the world. Inhabited by jaguar, tapir and close to 400 species of birds, the forests here — and others like them around the world — combat biodiversity loss and play a key role in capturing carbon and fighting climate change. “For us it has been important because before, we protected [the forests], we looked after them, but we didn’t receive anything for it,” says Lineth Picado Mena, a rural farmer living on the peninsula and participant in the government’s Payments for Environmental Services (PES) program. “Now we can support ourselves with what we have.” By paying landowners for ecosystem services, the government incentivizes them to conserve the environment. That counteracts the market forces that put pressure on landowners to convert tropical forests to farmland or other land uses. In Costa Rica, the PES program’s annual budget is between $20 million and $25 million, of which 92 percent is funded from a sales tax on fossil fuels, while nearly six percent comes from water usage fees. This allocation is fixed and provides assurance that funds will be available each year. The remaining amount is collected through various government initiatives, such as carbon credits and public-private partnerships. The program ... is credited with turning Costa Rica’s deforestation rate from one of the highest in the world to a net reforestation.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Inside Too Good To Go’s Mission To Make Unused Food Accessible To All
2023-04-21, Forbes
Posted: 2023-05-22 00:48:18
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenaquino/2023/04/21/inside-too-good-to-gos-m...

Food costs, especially in times of inflation, can be exorbitant. Likewise, getting to a brick-and-mortar grocery store may well be logistically impossible due to health and/or mobility concerns. It’s also true having limited access to food may be detrimental not merely because a person lacks basic sustenance, but also because certain medications work only when taken with food. Without it, those drugs may cease to work as effectively, if at all. Founded in 2016 in Copenhagen by five entrepreneurs, the team at Too Good To Go is trying to curb food insecurity around the globe by fighting food waste. On its website, Too Good To Go (TGTG) reports 2.8 billion tons of food is wasted every year. The app, available on iOS and Android, features a number of partner businesses—bakeries, supermarkets, and restaurants—nearest a user’s location that are giving away so-called “Surprise Bags” of unsold food. Rather than perfectly good food wasting away in a waste basket somewhere, TGTG users can stop by said businesses and pick up the food for themselves. The app’s UI is similar to those of on-demand food delivery services like ... DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates. Users are able to see which places are available, what they may get, and then sign up to pick up the items at a designated time. To date, TGTG boasts 4.2 million users and 9,790 businesses on its platform. Earlier this month, the company ... announced they are carbon neutral and have saved 100 million bags in the last seven years.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Botanist Stefano Mancuso: ‘You can anaesthetise all plants. This is extremely fascinating’
2023-04-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-05-08 11:49:26
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/15/scientist-stefano-mancuso...

Stefano Mancuso is a pioneer in the plant neurobiology movement, which seeks to understand “how plants perceive their circumstances and respond to environmental input in an integrated fashion”. Mancuso teaches at the University of Florence, his alma mater, where he runs the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology. He has written five bestselling books on plants. "Communication means you are able to emit a message and there is something able to receive it, and in this sense plants are great communicators. If you are unable to move, if you are rooted, it’s of paramount importance for you to communicate a lot," [said Mancuso]. "Plants are obliged to communicate a lot, and they use different systems. The most important is through volatiles, or chemicals that are emitted in the atmosphere and received by other plants. It’s an extremely sophisticated form of communication, a kind of vocabulary. Every single molecule means something, and they mix very different molecules to send a specific message. My approach to studying consciousness in plants ... started by seeing if they were sensitive to anaesthetics and found that you can anaesthetise all plants by using the same anaesthetics that work in humans. This is extremely fascinating. We were thinking that consciousness was something related to the brain, but I think that both consciousness and intelligence are more embodied, relating to the entire body."

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'Bees are sentient': inside the stunning brains of nature’s hardest workers
2023-04-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2023-04-30 16:42:44
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/02/bees-intelligence-minds-p...

When Stephen Buchmann finds a wayward bee on a window inside his Tucson, Arizona, home, he goes to great lengths to capture and release it unharmed. This March, Buchmann released a book that unpacks just how varied and powerful a bee’s mind really is. The book, What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories and Personalities of Bees, draws from his own research and dozens of other studies to paint a remarkable picture of bee behavior and psychology. It argues that bees can demonstrate sophisticated emotions resembling optimism, frustration, playfulness and fear, traits more commonly associated with mammals. Experiments have shown bees can experience PTSD-like symptoms, recognize different human faces, process long-term memories while sleeping, and maybe even dream. Approximately one-third of the American diet, including many fruits, vegetables and nuts, relies on bees for pollination. In the past, bee research has focused on their role in crop pollination, but the work being pioneered by Buchmann and his contemporaries could force an ethical reckoning with how the animals are treated. Can large-scale agriculture and scientific research continue without causing bees to suffer, and is the dominant western culture even capable of accepting that the tiniest of creatures have feelings, too? Buchmann hopes an ethical shift will happen as details about the emotional lives of invertebrates – especially bees – are shared with the public.

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