California Redwoods Are Swiftly Recovering From Wildfire
Three years after a fire tore through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, once-blackened trees are showing new green growth.
Parks Are Becoming More Accessible, With Help From All-Terrain Chairs
States from Minnesota to California are working to open up more recreation opportunities to people with disabilities.
A Spiky Desert Plant Could Address California Farmers’ Water Woes
As the state explores ways to use less water, agave is emerging as a viable alternative to thirstier crops.
Today’s Empty Office Buildings Are Tomorrow’s Affordable Housing
As offices across the US sit vacant, a slate of federal measures aims to convert them into much-needed housing units.
At Neurodivergent-Friendly Gyms, All Kids Can Just Be Kids
As autism diagnoses rise, so too does the need for play spaces specially tailored to the needs of autistic youth.
Gas Cars Will Soon Disappear From Many Stockholm Streets
Only electric vehicles will hum through the city center, thanks to a stringent low-emission zone.
A Holistic Approach to Criminal Defense Is Reducing Incarceration
Pairing public defenders with trained advocates can change a defendant’s fate in court and beyond.
An Experiment in Bogotá Centers Care for Caregivers
By showing the value of caregiving, the city’s “care blocks” aim to chip away at gender inequality.
California Raises the Bar on Climate-Friendly School Lunches
Schools across the state are leaning into plant-based meal options — good news for both kids’ nutrition and the planet.
‘Star Safaris’ Bring Education and Awe to Rural Kenya
With a telescope and an inflatable planetarium, an enterprising astronomer is widening views in more ways than one.
Free Therapy Is Putting Philadelphia’s Black Men on a Path to Healing
Stigma and affordability have long been obstacles to mental health care in vulnerable communities. What happens when both are removed?
The Clinic Where Dental Health Is a Gateway to Mental Health
Going to the dentist makes lots of people anxious. But it could be the first step in getting mental health care.
Montana Rules a Healthful Environment Is a Constitutional Right
The landmark case will force the state to consider climate effects before approving fossil fuel projects. “More rulings like this will certainly come.”
The Collective Helping Black Climbers Get From Gym to Crag
An Oakland-based group is building a supportive community within the traditionally white-dominated sport.
Protecting India’s Imperiled Wildlife With 3D Printed Teeth
For one Indigenous tribe in India, an artificial alternative to the animal parts long used in traditional headgear is catching on.
New Zealand Becomes the First Country to Ban All Plastic Grocery Bags
The country is the first to ban the thin plastic bags, encouraging shoppers to opt for reusable ones instead.
At the Homeless World Cup, Unhoused Players Compete for Soccer Glory
Goals become realities this week at the unique tournament in California, which is free to livestream.
The Mormon Church Is Giving the Shrinking Great Salt Lake a Boost
The church is taking measures to help restore its home valley’s beleaguered body of water.
Nerf Guns and Einstein Roleplay: How Australia Is Amping Up Science Education
Facing a STEM skills crisis, Australia is starting early with playful approaches to learning.
Japan’s Newest Vending Machines Are Stocked for Disaster Relief
Filled with food and emergency goods, the machines unlock automatically when earthquakes or other natural disasters strike.
Every Whiskey Distillery In Scotland Vows to Go Carbon Neutral
A sprawling industry with a large carbon footprint is stumbling toward sustainability.
In Honduras, ‘Miracle’ Fish From the Sky Turn into Extra Income
It only happens once or twice a year. But when fish rain down on the town of Yoro, Honduras, residents can now trade their catch for cash.
How Dutch Cities Perfected the Bike-to-Train Commute
For urban cyclists in the Netherlands, half a million secure bicycle parking spots make for seamless connections to rail journeys.
Google-Generated Addresses Connect Brazil’s Favelas to the Future
A cutting-edge mapping system lends new legitimacy to the country’s most marginalized neighborhoods.
Farmers Used California’s “Atmospheric River” to Recharge Aquifers
By helping their land absorb the excess water, Central Valley farmers are making sure the state’s deluge doesn’t go to waste.
An Arizona Town’s Once-Hidden Staircases Are Now Public Art
Globe, Arizona cleaned up overgrown paths once used by miners to make way for beautiful murals and walks with a view.
At This Swedish Apartment Building, Young and Old Promise to Interact
The tenants come from diverse generations and cultures — and commit to socializing with each other at least two hours a week.
The School Funding Robotics Classes by Selling Its Own Solar Energy
In Tunisia, where education is underfunded, one school is flush with cash after covering itself in solar panels and selling the energy back to the grid.
4 Pandemic Responses That Changed Life for the Better
Covid transformed cities, jobs, even entertainment in ways that seem to be ever more permanent — and in some cases, made the world a better place.
A Major International Agreement to Protect the Oceans Takes Shape
The UN treaty would make it possible to designate international waters as protected areas, bringing conservation to vast new swathes of the sea.
China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Testing Booths Are Becoming Libraries
Now-dormant medical surveillance spaces are being repurposed as everything from food stalls to pharmacies to places where you can borrow a book.
An ‘Invasive Species’ Is Helping to Restore the Amazon
A team is planting Australian eucalypts in deforested areas of Brazil’s rainforest to harvest for timber and generate money for reforestation.
Philadelphia Renters Facing Eviction Can Lawyer Up for Free
The city’s “Right to Counsel” initiative is based on research showing that legal representation helps keep people in their homes.
Amsterdam Has an Aquatic Answer to Demand for More Bicycle Parking
The ‘Venice of the North’ has thousands of new bike parking spots at the city’s busiest transit hub.
US Cities Are Preparing for a Massive Tree Planting in 2023
Urban foresters see an infusion of $1.5 billion to increase tree canopies as a “once-in-a-career opportunity.”
Fashion Goes Plastic-Free with a New Leather Substitute
A soon-to-open plant in South Carolina will use mushrooms to make faux leather that those in the know say is just like the real thing.
At This Infant Nursery, Addiction Doesn’t Prevent Family Bonding
Phoenix’s Hushabye Nursery is designed to keep parents and babies withdrawing from drug dependency close together.
In This French Village, People with Alzheimer’s Are Encouraged to Roam
In Village Landais, having dementia doesn’t mean giving up your independence.
Wealthy Countries Pledge to Shoulder Costs for Global Climate Damage
At the UN’s annual climate conference, a groundbreaking — if not-yet-binding — promise from the US and EU “offers hope to vulnerable communities.”
Every Large Parking Lot in France Will Soon Be Covered in Solar Panels
A mandate to blanket the asphalt in photovoltaics could provide as much energy as 10 nuclear power plants.
It’s Official: Business Boomed on New York’s Car-Free Streets
A new analysis shows that when the pandemic closed streets to traffic, bars and restaurants made more money.
Meet the Surfers Fighting ‘Wave Extinction’ in Mexico
They successfully lobbied for a state park to preserve the ecosystem that keeps their surf break intact.
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Introducing our membership program, a chance to support solutions journalism and help us grow for the future.
San Francisco Bay Is Becoming a Safe Haven for Whales
A new buoy-to-satellite system that detects whale song helps ship captains avoid fatal collisions.
Delhi’s Electric Buses Are Making the City Healthier
As the entire fleet goes gas-free, the cleaner air will save over 1,300 lives every year.
Free Fruit and Veggies Make a German City ‘Edible’
Residents of the Rhine River Valley’s Andernach get their fresh produce from a large public garden at no charge.
Biking Like the Dutch Could Erase Entire Countries’ Carbon Footprints
A new study shows how more pro-bike policies could have a major impact on climate change.
A Hidden Flow of River Water Is Keeping Paris Cool
Beneath the city, an ingenious, sustainable system uses the Seine to cool down buildings like the Louvre.
Brooklyn’s New Food Hub Sells from Black- and Brown-Owned Farms
“This is a hyperlocal model that supports the people who live in the area.”
A Vermont City’s Decision to Go 100% Green Is Paying Off
In an age where creditors view reliance on fossil fuels as a liability, switching to renewables makes fiscal sense.
World’s Biggest Four-Day Work Week Experiment Begins
Thousands of British workers are about to start clocking out a little earlier.
California Says Insects Can Be Protected as Endangered Species
The decision opens the door to protecting bees at a critical moment.
New Zealand’s Urban Forests Welcome a Birdlife Boom
Native birds are flocking back to cities after generations of absence.
Women-Only Rangers Are Changing the Way Zimbabwe Fights Poachers
The unit focuses on community engagement and job creation. Its tactics are working.
New Mexico Offers Free Child Care to Pretty Much Everyone
The Land of Enchantment just launched the closest thing the U.S. has to universal child care.
‘Bear-dar’ Is Stopping Polar Bear Attacks Before They Happen
As climate change increases contact between bears and people, a new system helps keep them socially distanced.
The Unlikely Allies Who Saved Costa Rica’s Forests
By planting crops and trees together, farmers are making a living while forests thrive.
How Students and Locals in a College Town Beat Covid Together
Davis, California has maintained low Covid rates thanks to a unique collaboration with its hometown university.
How Texas Bureaucrats Hacked Their Housing Problem
Tired of delays, they cobbled together a software program that could change the way billions of dollars are spent on homelessness.
Abandoned Oil Rigs Are Actually Helping the Oceans
Properly maintained, their towering pylons often become an ideal habitat for endangered marine life.
This Rap Song May Have Prevented Hundreds of Suicides
A study shows that ‘1-800-273-8255’ put a statistically significant dent in the U.S. suicide rate.
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Our 5 Most Popular Stories of 2021
From shorter work weeks to repairable computers, here’s what you loved to read about this year.
Tulsa’s $10,000 Offer to Remote Workers Is Paying Off
Some 1,200 workers have moved to the city, and it looks like most plan to stay.
California’s Adopted Otter Pups Are Fighting Climate Change
An effort that pairs the orphaned pups with adoptive otter moms has led to thriving kelp forests.
Should Your Landlord Really Hold Your Security Deposit?
In the U.K., a government program holds onto deposits to make sure renters get back what they’re owed.
6 Major Takeaways from the World’s Biggest Climate Conference
Ending deforestation. Slashing methane. Achieving net-zero emissions. Here are the most impactful deals and pledges that have come out of COP26 so far.
California Wineries Are Trading Pesticides for Owls
To control rodents, the vast majority of Napa Valley winemakers have turned to birds of prey.
Paris Makes Public Housing Greener and More Livable
The city has spent the last decade making its public housing better for the planet — and for people.
A Black-Owned Beach Is Returned to Its Owners after 97 Years
The waterfront property, seized in 1924, is being given back to the family that originally bought it. It’s now worth $75 million.
The Inspiring Evolution of Pittsburgh’s Old-School Unions
A steelworkers organization is embracing workers of all stripes, from nurses to coders.
These Old British Coal Mines Now Pump Out Geothermal Heat
Holes in the ground that once chugged out fossil fuels now provide clean, green energy.
Sierra Leone Is Turning Roadway Vibrations into Electricity
A locally owned startup’s devices are powering hundreds of homes and over a dozen schools.
Washington, D.C. Turns a Parking Subsidy into a Transit Perk
The city is giving non-car commuters a tax exemption normally meant for drivers.
Policing Without Cops Finds Its Way from Oregon to New York
A program pioneered in the little city of Eugene is improving policing in Harlem.
Maine Will Charge Companies to Encourage More Recyclable Packaging
The more easily a product’s packaging can be recycled, the lower the fees.
Having Trouble Staying on Task? Hire an Online Boss
At the end of the day, you’ll need to send them photos to prove you’ve completed your work.
Locally Grown Food Could Have a Big Impact in Alaska
In a state where a trip to the supermarket sometimes requires getting on a plane, biomass-powered greenhouses could be a game-changer.
How 8 Tiny Island Nations Outsmarted the World’s Biggest Fishing Fleets
Tired of being overfished by wealthier countries, they stopped competing and started collaborating.
‘Citizen Scientists’ Have Been Tracking Cicadas for Nearly Two Centuries
Every 17 years the insects’ dramatic appearance is recorded by thousands of volunteers.
An Indigenous Modeling Agency Puts Representation in Focus
“Culture, community and land-based wisdom” form the pillars of a new modeling agency that’s elevating representation above profit.
This River Restoration Project Is Literally Unearthing Gold
A mining technique that damaged the environment for decades is now being used to protect it.
Black Churches Are Turning Vaccine Skeptics Into Believers
Public health and church officials have turned the shots into a Sunday ritual.
D.C. Is Lending Residents Free Canoes to Clean Up Its River
Grab an oar — and some trash while you’re at it.
Vancouver’s Sex Workers Get Access to Covid Vaccines
A pop-up site at a clinic that serves sex workers saw 99 vaccinations in a single day.
France Will Pay You to Swap Your Car for an E-Bike
A credit-for-clunkers program offers drivers thousands of euros to switch to two wheels.
Why a Michelin-Starred Chef Loves Carbon-Negative ‘Sea Rice’
It grows everywhere and could help save the planet with every serving.
Its Streets Safer, Baltimore Will Stop Prosecuting Minor Crimes
An experiment started during the pandemic to reduce jail populations will continue indefinitely.
The Arizona Nomadic Community That Runs on Solar-Powered Car Batteries
The self-proclaimed boondocking capital of the world is going green.
When You Know How to Shop, There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea
Meet the marine geographer teaching Chennai urbanites how to buy seafood the traditional way.
For a Dramatic Covid Recovery, Doctors Prescribe Opera Lessons
The English National Opera has partnered with a hospital to turn lung recovery exercises into song.
Indigenous Tribes Are Unearthing Traditional Crops
A seed banking cooperative is making sure age-old agricultural practices don’t get lost.
A New Kind of Housing for Homeless Indigenous People
An 80-unit complex in Seattle will provide housing that reflects the culture of the Coast Salish People.
Lisbon Is Turning Empty Airbnb Apartments into Affordable Housing
With tourism at a standstill, the city is leasing the flats and subletting them to locals.
California Is Cultivating Forests That Stand Up to Wildfires
The key is forest management processes that mimic what nature would do.
Check Out Our New Project!
For the next six weeks, Reasons to be Cheerful is doing something a little bit different.
Conservation Comes to Hawaii’s Rain-Triggering Tropical Forests
Private landowners are part of a statewide push to save the trees that make it rain.
Cleveland Is Taking Its Voter Registration Drive Literally
Registration caravans on wheels are making sure Latino communities don’t get missed.
Bogota Cyclists Are Getting Much More Than Just Bike Lanes
From bicycle parking spaces to a citywide registry for stolen bikes, the Colombian capital is creating a full-fledged cycling ecosystem.
Vocabulary ‘Fitbits’ Are Changing How Babies Learn Words
The devices could help close the language gap between kids from wealthy and low-income families.
Nuns Convince Wall Street to Create $130 Million Climate Change Fund
Sixteen congregations of Dominican nuns are collaborating with Morgan Stanley to invest in marginalized communities impacted by global warming.
Lesotho’s Top-Flight Soccer Team Just Broke the Glass Ceiling
The African nation’s Premier League football club will become the first in the world to fund its men’s and women’s teams equally.
How to Make a Billion Tons of Carbon Dioxide Disappear
New research shows that sprinkling rock dust on fields where crops are grown could have a huge effect.
Protesters Are Showing What Policing Could Look Like
At a police-free zone in Seattle, “sentinels” are keeping the peace in peaceful fashion.
France to Airlines: Go Green If You Want a Bailout
How one country is using its economic rescue to clean up a polluting industry.
The Kaleidoscopic Community of a Coronavirus Hotel
Masked chambermaids, sanitized keycards and nurses who pop in to see how you’re feeling.
New Zealand May Completely Eliminate the Coronavirus
In this week’s briefing: Kiwis crush the curve, a Brazilian school exceeds all expectations and transit projects leverage car-free streets to hurry forward.
The Fixer: Fighting Pollution Like a Mother
In this week’s news briefing: moms get mad, journos shack up and cash for cops finds a new home.
The Decade in Cheer
Homicides fell, green space grew and your weather forecast got a lot more precise. The last 10 years were filled with positive change—really! Read our list…
The Fixer: Water under the Bridge
In this week’s news briefing: the need to hydrate brings peace between rivals in Darfur, and renewable energy gets some unlikely proponents.
The Fixer: Welcoming in the Formerly Incarcerated
In this week’s news briefing: housing former prison inmates in people’s homes, building bird-friendly skyscrapers and solving an equestrian community’s poop problem.
RTBC holiday cards: DIY!
From us to you, to yours. Give your loved ones a reason to be cheerful this holiday season.
The Fixer: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em
In this week’s news briefing: buying up housing to keep it affordable, crunching the data on opioids and stopping storm surges with sand.
The Fixer: CPR Training With Curves
In this week’s news briefing: CPR dummies finally get breasts, lettuce becomes natural gas and an ancient air conditioner cools New Delhi.
The Fixer: Turning Farm Workers into Farm Owners
In this week’s news briefing: incubating a new generation of agri-preneurs, soaking up stormwater and canceling carbon.
The Fixer: A Japanese City’s Brazilian Lifeline
In this week’s news briefing: Brazilians put down roots in Japan, Jamaican gardeners cultivate coral and medical care arrives on the islands of Bangladesh.
The Fixer: An Insurance Giant Embraces ‘Housing First’
In this week’s news briefing: ending homelessness for profit, coffee saves the rainforest and rural America takes on climate change.
The Fixer: A Power Plant You Can Ski
In this week’s news briefing: healing Israel’s overcrowded hospitals, healthier snacks for condors and a ski slope that converts waste into energy.
The Fixer: Guiding India’s Wanderers
In this week’s news briefing: helping India’s “wandering” people find their way home, a broader lens on bikeability and a plan to keep teachers from walking away.
The Fixer: A Cool, Refreshing Glass of Fog
In this week’s news briefing: Pulling drinking water from the mist, post-prison seniors and hyper-humane malaria eradication.