Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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Dave Isay has created a program called "One Small Step" to get Americans from across the political spectrum to stop demonizing one another and start communicating - face to face, one conversation at a time. It has taped more than half a million Americans telling their stories – to become the largest single collection of human voices ever recorded. StoryCorps is an important part of adding history and context and the individuals who make history. Not just the ones that we see on the news, but the people who are part of the fabric of our American life. Around the time of the 2016 presidential election, Dave Isay says he got the idea for a new kind of StoryCorps that could perhaps help unite a country becoming increasingly divided. He decided to call it "One Small Step." "So we match strangers who disagree politically to put them face-to-face for 50 minutes," [said Isay]. "It's not to talk about politics, it's just to talk about your lives." Facilitators begin by asking the participants to read one another's biography out loud. The project tries to match people who may be from different political parties but have something else in common. The format is derived from a psychological concept developed in the 1950s called contact theory. When you have two people who are enemies and you put them face-to-face under very, very specific conditions , and they have a conversation and a kind of visceral, emotional experience with each other, that hate can melt away. And people can see each other in a new way.
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Five of the world's largest nuclear powers pledged on Monday to work together toward "a world without nuclear weapons" in a rare statement of unity amid rising East-West tensions. "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," said the joint statement, which was issued simultaneously by the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. "As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons - for as long as they continue to exist - should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war." The statement also stressed the importance of preventing conflict between nuclear-weapon states from escalating, describing it as a "foremost responsibility." The statement released by the five powers ... as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, called on all states to create a security environment "more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all. The five pledged to adhere to the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) which obligates them "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament." Some of the text of the statement ... echoes a statement issued by the five nations after a December conference in Paris that laid the groundwork for the since delayed review of the treaty.
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Canadian officials said Tuesday they have reached $31.5 billion in agreements in principle with Indigenous groups to compensate First Nations children who were unnecessarily taken from their homes and put into the child welfare system, a major development in a dispute that has long been a sticking point in Ottawa's efforts to advance reconciliation with Indigenous people. Under the agreements, half of the money would go to children and families harmed by an underfunded and discriminatory child welfare system on First Nations reserves and in the Yukon, while the rest would be earmarked over five years for long-term reforms, the Indigenous services ministry said. "This is the largest settlement in Canadian history, but no amount of money can reverse the harms experienced by First Nations children," Marc Miller, Canada's Crown-Indigenous relations minister, told reporters. "Historic injustices require historic reparations." The dispute dates to 2007, when several Indigenous advocacy groups claimed in a human rights complaint that the federal government's "inequitable and insufficient" funding of child welfare services on First Nations reserves was discriminatory. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal agreed with the advocates. The panel said the federal government's funding formula was based on "flawed assumptions about children in care," resulting in a system that incentivized the removal of First Nations children from their homes and their cultures.
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There is no question that 2021 was another unpredictable year and we are still living in uncertain times. And so, as we say adieu to this turbulent year, we are highlighting eight positive trends that we see sticking around! The pandemic allowed us to slow down and reevaluate our work-life balance with new work patterns that are here to stay. Some people are now permanently working from home, and some returned to the office, even if for just a few days a week, under a hybrid model. We also saw an even greater, and much-deserved appreciation for our frontline workers. We have developed an increased respect for service industry workers and those people employed to keep our health care, infrastructure, and education systems running. Even on the world's biggest stage, mental health became a number one priority this year, and helped recenter the conversation around the globe around what makes a person thrive. With the loss and altering of life over the past almost two years, many of us have looked at ways to improve our overall health and extend our days. Maybe more of us can even achieve new heights such as this 105-year-old setting the world-record for the 100 meter dash earlier this year! Speaking of health, many people over the course of the pandemic wisely decided to bring more houseplants into their lives. This bit of green lifted moods and gave us plant parents new purpose as we spent more time in our homes working or learning remotely and social distancing.
The laboratories and other buildings that once housed a chemical manufacturer here in New Jersey's most populous city have been demolished. More than 10,000 leaky drums and other containers once illegally stored here have long been removed. Its owner was convicted three decades ago. Yet the groundwater beneath the 4.4-acre expanse once occupied by White Chemical Corp. in Newark remains contaminated, given a lack of federal funding. But three decades after federal officials declared it one of America's most toxic spots, it's about to get a jolt. This plot in Newark is among more than four dozen toxic waste sites to get cleanup funding from the newly-enacted infrastructure law, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday, totaling $1 billion. "This work is just the beginning," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said. President Biden signed legislation reviving a polluter's tax that will inject a new stream of cash into the nation's troubled Superfund program. The renewed excise fees, which disappeared more than 25 years ago, are expected to raise $14.5 billion in revenue over the next decade and could accelerate cleanups of many sites that are increasingly threatened by climate change. The Superfund list includes more than 1,300 abandoned mines, radioactive landfills, shuttered military labs, closed factories and other contaminated areas across nearly all 50 states.
Four years ago, rapper Logic released his hit song "1-800-273-8255" – a reference to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – in hopes of helping others. A new study released this week found it did just that: researchers say the song potentially helped saved hundreds of lives. The study, published Monday in the BMJ, found almost 10,000 calls went to the Lifeline – a 6.9% increase over the expected number – during 34 days in 2017 and 2018 when the song was receiving heightened public attention. And an estimated 245 fewer suicides took place in that same time period – 5.5% below the expected number. The study authors' looked at the days immediately following the song's release, Logic's performance at the 2017 MTV Awards with singers Alessia Cara and Khalid, and their act at the 2018 Grammys. According to the research, those events were also linked to a surge of activity connected to the song on Twitter. "To know that my music was actually affecting people's lives, truly, that's what inspired me to make the song," Logic said in a statement to CNN. "We did it from a really warm place in our hearts to try to help people. And the fact that it actually did, that blows my mind." The song centers around a high school student struggling with his sexuality and contemplating suicide. However, after a call to a hotline, he realizes he wants to live. The song went quintuple platinum and remained Logic's best performing song on Spotify.
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We all talk to our dogs, whether it's calling their name, playing fetch or teaching them new tricks. But do they actually understand the words we're saying? Well according to a new study, they do! The research has found that dogs can recognise an average of 89 words or phrases. The study asked 165 owners of different dog breeds to note down words that they thought their dogs responded to. The results showed the most common words the pooches understood were commands like sit, stay and wait. The research was carried out by Catherine Reeve and Sophie Jacques, from the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, in Canada. During the study, dog owners were asked to say if they thought their pup responded to the words or commands they were giving. The owners then had to record if their pet got excited, looked for something, looked up or did an action in response to a command. The research found that 89 words was the average number that the dogs could understand - one clever canine is believed to have understood 215 words in total - but the worst performing pooch knew only 15. Nearly all of the dogs that took part in the study reacted to their own name and many gave a response when being praised. The researchers said: "Those of us who have owned dogs would not be surprised to see most dogs respond with an enthusiastic tail wagging or a treat-seeking response on hearing, good girl/good boy."
Tropical forests can bounce back with surprising rapidity, a new study published today suggests. An international group of researchers looking at a number of aspects of tropical forests has found that the potential for regrowth is substantial if they are left untouched by humans for about 20 years. For example, soil takes an average of 10 years to recover its previous status, plant community and animal biodiversity take 60 years, and overall biomass takes a total of 120, according to their calculations." This is due in part to a multidimensional mechanism whereby old forest flora and fauna help a new generation of forest grow – a natural process known as "secondary succession". These new findings ... suggest that it is not too late to undo the damage that humanity has done through catastrophic climate change over the last few decades. "That's good news, because the implication is that, 20 years ... that's a realistic time that I can think of, and that my daughter can think of, and that the policymakers can think of," said Lourens Poorter ... lead author of the paper. This idea of natural regeneration is frequently disregarded in favour of tree plantations, but according to Poorter, the former yields better results than restoration plantings. "Compared to planting new trees, it performs way better in terms of biodiversity, climate change mitigation and recovering nutrients." The takeaway message is that we don't necessarily need to plant more trees when nature is doing it by itself, Poorter said.
As the year draws to a close, there are reasons to feel cautiously optimistic about areas in which the environment scored victories in 2021. Delayed by a year as a result of COVID-19, November's COP26 - the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow - welcomed the world's second-largest fossil-fuel emitter, the United States, back to the negotiating table after four years of inaction on climate change. By the summit's end, the U.S. and China had made a surprise joint declaration to work together on meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. The biggest news in forest conservation was the pledge at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow to end deforestation by 2030; the commitment includes a pledge to provide $12 billion in funding to "help unleash the potential of forests and sustainable land use." The Biden administration spent part of its first year restoring habitat protections that had been rolled back by its predecessor. Perhaps the most prominent was the re-establishment of full protection for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah, as well as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument off New England. Populations of some of the world's most iconic species are showing some improvement as a result of protective measures. Humpback whales, whose haunting songs helped build support for the "Save the Whales" campaign that ushered in the modern environmental movement, are increasing in number in many parts of their range.
Ebony Johnson's enthusiastic service at a Dunkin' location in Ohio is so memorable that regular customer Suzanne Burke noticed when she had not been working the drive-thru for a few weeks in March. When Johnson, 33, returned to work at the Mount Healthy location, where she's been employed for three years, she shared with Burke that she had been struggling financially while also trying to find housing for her and her three children following an eviction. Burke left Johnson a note saying that if Johnson wanted help, Burke would gladly do her best. Johnson accepted, and Burke, who has done work with social services in her career, got to work on reaching out to different businesses and organizations. It all led to a moment nine months in the making on Dec. 3 when Johnson broke down in tears and her young children broke out in smiles when they moved into a fully furnished apartment in Cincinnati. "Oh my God, it was so amazing, I just busted out crying," Johnson said. "I never had a full furnished house. I never had help like this. I had been asking God to put us in a home before Christmas, and He really did. I'm just so thankful." "It was so exciting, we all cried," Burke told TODAY. "I've got three kids, and I can't imagine not having a home to go to and then to have to get up, get the kids to school, and show up at work with a positive, happy attitude? I've been in awe of her." Johnson was able to secure the apartment through the help of the Cincinnati-based organization Strategies to End Homelessness.
Swastikas on the wall become giant cupcakes with purple icing, and the words "my Hitler" are transformed into "my muffins". All in a day's work for the Italian street artist who fights racism by turning nasty graffiti into food. "I take care of my city by replacing symbols of hate with delicious things to eat," says the 39-year-old artist, whose real name is Pier Paolo Spinazze and whose professional name, Cibo, is the Italian word for food. On a recent sunny morning he had been alerted by one of his 363,000 Instagram followers that there were swastikas and racial slurs in a small tunnel on the outskirts of Verona. Up he turned, wearing his signature straw hat and necklace of stuffed sausages. He took out his bag of spray paints and set to work, while cars drove by beeping. He covered up the slurs with a bright slice of margherita pizza and a caprese salad - mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. A swastika was transformed into a huge red tomato. As he has become a local celebrity in Verona, he has also made enemies: "Cibo sleep with the lights on!" someone spray painted on a wall. He turned the threat into the ingredients of a gnocchi recipe. "Dealing with extremists is never good, because they are violent people, they are used to violence, but they are also cowards and very stupid," Spinazze said. "The important thing is to rediscover values that we may have forgotten, especially anti-fascism and the fight against totalitarian regimes that stem from the Second World War," he said.
The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Charles "Chuck" Sams III as the next director of the National Park Service on Thursday. He will be the first Native American to lead the agency in its 105-year history. Sams, who is Cayuse and Walla Walla, is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The Oregon-based Confederated Tribes is comprised of individuals from the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. Sams told the Confederated Tribes' newspaper, the Confederated Umatilla Journal, on Friday that he's "deeply honored" to serve as the 19th director of NPS. "I am also very deeply appreciative of the support, guidance and counsel of my Tribal elders and friends throughout my professional career," Sams told the newspaper. "I look forward to carrying on the responsibility of being a good steward of our natural resources and in joining the dedicated and dynamic staff of the National Park Service." Sams' confirmation marks the first time in nearly five years that the department will have an official director. The position has been filled with various people serving as acting heads since January 2017. Sams has worked in state and tribal governments, as well as in natural resource and conservation management, for more than 25 years. In a press release on Friday, tribal leaders commended the confirmation, with Confederated Tribes trustee member Kat Brigham saying that Sams "knows the outdoors." "He understands the importance of helping families develop a relationship with the land," Brigham said.
Growing up poor in Jamaica, Keishia Thorpe never thought she would graduate college, let alone become a visionary high school English teacher and win a $1 million prize. The Maryland educator and track coach, who works with immigrant and refugee students, just won the Global Teacher Prize, beating out 8,000 others from 121 countries. "Because I am an immigrant and because I understand their story, I do not ever lower my expectations for my students," she said. "I let them rise to my expectation. And they do." And through her foundation, the former Howard University track star has helped hundreds of students get college scholarships, including senior Isatu Bah. "I know she's always going to be here for me, and I will make her proud," Bah said. Thorpe said, "Teaching just is not something that happens in the classroom – be their coaches, be their mentor, be that safe space for them." She says she'll use her winnings to help even more students. She says the award is "just the beginning."
The sweetest Thanksgiving tradition this side of candied yams is back! Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench will once again get together for the holiday, six years after she accidentally sent him a text inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner, believing she had texted her own grandson. "We are all set for year 6!" Hinton posted Sunday on Twitter, acknowledging that it will be the sixth straight year they have spent Thanksgiving together. He also posted a text message Dench shared inviting him, his girlfriend and his family to dinner. "It would bring my great joy if you, Mikaela and your family would come to my house on Thanksgiving day to share good food and great conversation. Your friend always, Wanda." Hinton, who accepted the invitation, also posted a selfie featuring him and Dench. Hinton and Dench went viral in 2016 after she texted him, saying she's hosting Thanksgiving dinner and would love it if he could attend, thinking she was texting her grandson. They then swapped photos. "You not my grandma," he wrote. "Can I still get a plate tho" Dench didn't miss a beat. "Of course you can," she replied. "That's what grandma's do ...feed every one." Last year, Dench and Hinton (along with Mikaela) met up prior to Thanksgiving, along with a small group of her family, including "the grandson that originally started all of this by changing his phone number and not telling me he changed it," [she said]. "He's changed my life a lot, I know that."
With close to two billion dollars devoted to renewable power in the newly passed infrastructure bill, the solar industry is poised for a win. But there have long been some tensions between renewable developers and some farmers. According to NREL, upwards of two million acres of American farmland could be converted to solar in the next decade. But what if it didn't have to be an either or proposition? What if solar panels and farming could literally co-exist, if not even help one another. That was what piqued [Byron] Kominek's interest, especially with so many family farms barely hanging on. Kominek installed the solar panels on one of his pastures. They're spaced far enough apart from one another so he could drive his tractor between them. Still, when it came time to plant earlier this year, Kominek was initially skeptical. But he soon discovered that the shade from the towering panels above the soil actually helped the plants thrive. That intermittent shade also meant a lot less evaporation of coveted irrigation water. And in turn the evaporation actually helped keep the sun-baked solar panels cooler, making them more efficient. By summer, Kominek was a believer. Walking the intricately lined rows of veggies beneath the panels, he beams pointing out where the peppers, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, lettuces, beets, turnips, carrots were all recently harvested. The farm is still bursting with chard and kale even in November. "Oh yeah, kale never dies," Kominek says, chuckling.
Scientists have developed a novel therapy that promotes recovery from spinal cord injury and reverses paralysis in mice. In the research published in the journal Science ... scientists administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralysed mice. Just four weeks later, the rodents could walk again. The therapy, administered in the form of a gel, works by organising molecules at the injury site into a complex network of nanofibers mimicking the natural matrix found in all tissues that play a major role in wound healing and cell to cell communication, the study noted. This gel tunes the motion of molecules at the injury sites, enabling them to find and properly engage with constantly moving receptors on cells, said the researchers. "The key innovation in our research, which has never been done before, is to control the collective motion of more than 100,000 molecules within our nanofibers," study co-author Samuel I Stupp from Northwestern University said. One of the challenges in administering wound healing drugs, the scientists said, is that the receptors sticking out of nerve cells and other types of cells constantly moves around. The novel gel fine-tunes the motion of molecules which "move, 'dance' or even leap temporarily out of these structures", enabling them to connect more effectively with receptors, Dr Stupp explained. With further studies and clinical trials, the scientists believe that the new therapy could be used to prevent paralysis after major trauma.
Like all elite athletes, Julia "Hurricane" Hawkins has a ruthless streak. So, despite setting a 100m world record on Sunday at the Louisiana Senior Games, she still wants to go faster. "It was wonderful to see so many family members and friends. But I wanted to do it in less than a minute," the 105 year-old said after the race, where she recorded a time of 1:02.95, a record for women in the 105+ age category. When someone pointed out that 102 is less than her age and asked if that made her feel better, Hawkins answered: "No". The retired teacher is no stranger to athletic excellence. She started competing at the National Senior Games when she was 80, specialising in cycling time trials. She eventually ended her cycling career saying that "there wasn't anyone left my age to compete with". When she turned 100 she took up sprinting. In 2017 she set the 100m world record for women over the age of 100 with a time of 39.62. When her record was broken in September by Diane Friedman, Hawkins decided to compete in a new age category. "I love to run, and I love being an inspiration to others," Hawkins said. "I want to keep running as long as I can. My message to others is that you have to stay active if you want to be healthy and happy as you age." Several age records for the 100m have tumbled this year. In August, Hiroo Tanaka of Japan blazed home in 16.69 to set the male record in the 90 and over category. In women's competition Australia's Julie Brims broke the 55+ record in a time of 12.24.
Brenda Thomas's heart became a shell when her 21-year-old son died in a motorcycle accident. But she has found something that helps her grief: She keeps folded pieces of paper, tucked in her purse at all times. They are "acts of kindness" cards. Whenever she does a good deed for a stranger – which is about once a week – she passes along a card with a message: "If you receive this card, then you must be a recipient of a random act of kindness." At the top of each note is her son's name, Trevor Paul Thomas. He died in September 2019. His most standout quality was his compassion for others, no matter who they were or how well he knew them. "He was always kind to everyone," said Thomas. "That's just who he was." Trevor regularly shoveled snow off the driveways of older neighbors, delivered hot meals to those in need and befriended classmates who struggled to fit in, she said. The Thomas family decided to create cards and distribute them around their community, in the hope that it would encourage people to do a good deed as part of Trevor's legacy. The goal, they said, was to launch an ongoing chain of kindness. "We not only want people to understand that they're a recipient of an act of kindness, but we also want them to pay it forward," said Whitney Thomas. On each card they wrote the hashtag #liveliketrev23, and urged recipients to consider sharing their experience on social media so that the family could read about the heartwarming gestures.
Last year, 13-year-old Abraham Olagbegi found out he was born with a rare blood disorder and needed a bone marrow transplant. About a year later, he found out better news: His transplant was successful, and he qualified for Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants wishes to children will serious illnesses. Abraham wanted a long-lasting wish, and he had an idea that he shared with his mom. "I remember we were coming home from one of his doctor appointments and he said, 'Mom, I thought about it, and I really want to feed the homeless,'" Abraham's mom, Miriam Olagbegi, told CBS News. "I said, 'Are you sure Abraham? You could do a lot ... You sure you don't want a PlayStation?'" Unlike many teenage boys, the PlayStation did not entice Abraham. He was sure of his wish to feed the homeless. Abraham's dad thought it was an awesome idea, too, Miriam said. "So, of course, we weren't going to miss an opportunity like that because we always tried to instill giving into our children." In September, Make-A-Wish helped Abraham organize a day to hand out free food in Jackson, Mississippi, with food and supplies donated from local businesses. Abraham said they ended up feeding about 80 people that day. "When the homeless people get the plate, some of them would come back and sing to us and thank us," he said. "And it just really feels good, it warms our hearts. And my parents always taught us that it's a blessing to be a blessing." Make-A-Wish will help Abraham feed the homeless every month for a year.
The sooner most cancers are discovered, the better the odds they can be successfully treated. Mayo Clinic participated in research on a test that can detect more than 50 cancers. "My dad, he was a healthy guy. He didn't have any known risk factors for cancer," Dr. Julia Feygin said. Feygin lost her 40-year-old father to pancreatic cancer when she was 13. Diagnosed at stage three, he lived for nine more months. "I strongly believe that purpose can be found in everything that happens," Feygin said. She's now part of a team at a Menlo Park, California-based company called GRAIL that's introducing the blood test, called Galleri. She says can it catch hard-to-detect, aggressive and often deadly cancers like pancreatic, ovarian and esophageal. "If cancers can be detected early, we can dramatically improve patient outcomes," Feygin said. Feygin explains that our blood contains a DNA signature. The blood test tracks the DNA a cancer cell sheds. Two tubes of blood are drawn and sent to GRAIL's lab for analysis. "We can find and sequence these tiny bits of tumor-derived DNA in the blood and, based on the patterns we see, we can reveal if there is a signal for cancer present. We can predict with very high accuracy where in the body this cancer signal is coming from," Feygin said. An interventional study that included Mayo Clinic with 6,600 participants returned 29 signals that were followed by a cancer diagnosis. Another study found a less than 1% false positive rate.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.