RTBC Staff

Reasons to be Cheerful is a non-profit editorial project that is part magazine, part therapy session, part blueprint for a better world.

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.

How Students Could Make Harvard Go Green

A complaint filed by a student group argues the venerated university’s investments in fossil fuels are illegal.

The Arizona Nomadic Community That Runs on Solar-Powered Car Batteries

The self-proclaimed boondocking capital of the world is going green.

How an Unloved Bird Captured a Community’s Heart

The garbage-picking stork was considered a bad omen. Then the baby showers began.

Vermont Is Growing Wind Power by Scaling It Down

A partnership to pool energy produced by smaller turbines could circumvent opposition to large wind farms.

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.

California’s Farm Worker Dwellings Get an Upgrade

When a newly elected county supervisor saw where farm workers were living, he was appalled — and inspired.

The NFL Team That Covid Couldn’t Touch

How the Seahawks finished the season as the only team in the league without a single infection.

Indigenous Tribes Are Unearthing Traditional Crops

A seed banking cooperative is making sure age-old agricultural practices don’t get lost.

Addiction Treatment RVs Hit the Road in Colorado

Journeying to the state’s remote mountain hamlets, these mobile clinics are taking house calls to new heights.

Four-Day Work Weeks Are Here to Stay

Some companies that reduced employee hours during the pandemic are keeping the shorter work week in place — even as they reinstate full pay.

Alaska’s Vaccine Rollout Is an Inspiration

Defying harsh weather and roadless terrain, America’s most undeveloped state has achieved one of the country’s highest vaccination rates.

The Country That Invites New Immigrants to Dinner

To fight xenophobia, nearly 2,000 families have shared a meal. Many have come back for more.

The Year in Cheer

112 bits of good news that kept us sane in 2020.

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.

Get Your Freedges Freebies Here!

Community refrigerators are showing up on city streets, full stocked with food that’s free for the taking. Care for a snack?

When Life Gives You Milk, Make Cheese

Large dairy farms started dumping their milk during Covid — until smaller ones swooped in to turn it into food for the hungry.

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.

Food Banks Get on Board With Fast, Free Delivery

To reach those in need who don’t want to visit in person, one food bank is embracing Amazon-style shipping.

How Norway Helped Syria Rescue Its Seeds

When war broke out, a group of intrepid scientists hustled Syria’s chickpea and lentil stash to a vault deep in the Arctic Circle.

The City That Guarantees the Right to Eat

Defining access to food as a human right, a city in Brazil is making sure everyone can afford a trip to the market.

California Is Cultivating Forests That Stand Up to Wildfires

The key is forest management processes that mimic what nature would do.

Inside the Mind of a Mind-Changer

Swing voters. Covid converts. Some people seem highly persuadable. Why does that bother the rest of us?

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.

Guides for Life After a Life Sentence

“Lifers” face a daunting re-entry after decades in prison. One California program recruits their formerly incarcerated peers to help them navigate.

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.

The Tiny Town With Its Own Currency

A Depression-era form of relief is helping residents of Tenino, Washington through the crisis.

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.

The Deep-Red City that Elected a Trans Woman

“When folks say, ‘I cannot believe a trans person could win in a place like West Virginia,’ I think, ‘This is the very place I believe a trans person could win elected office.”

Kentucky’s Abandoned Coal Mines Are Elk Heaven

The remnants of a destructive form of mining have inadvertently helped the elk return to coal country for the first time since the Civil War.

Making Art Is Keeping Us Sane

Neuroscientists have determined that creation can keep you from going Covid crazy, so we asked you to send us the art you’ve made under lockdown. It’s amazing.

Protesters Are Showing What Policing Could Look Like

At a police-free zone in Seattle, “sentinels” are keeping the peace in peaceful fashion.

Seattle’s Tiny Houses Keep the Virus Out

Shelters and hotel rooms are expensive and temporary. Are tiny houses a homelessness solution that can outlast the crisis?

What Police Budgets Are Being Spent on Now

Minneapolis isn’t the only city starting to redirect the funding it spends on law enforcement.

An Antidote to Violence

Some advocates, seeing violence as an epidemic, are starting to treat it like one.

Muslims and Christians Are Sharing Space

So that everyone can worship safely, the walls that separate churches and mosques are coming down.

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.

Seeing the Forest for the Bees

In this week’s briefing: Reviving a woodland refuge for honeybees and partnering with poachers to bring back buffalo to a national park.

Infrastructure that Helps Wildlife Migrate

In this week’s briefing: building bridges to assist wildlife on their journeys, Italy gets homeschooled and a debate over the merits of poop-powered energy.

China’s Green Decade Impacts the Whole World

In this week’s news briefing: renewable energy has an undisputed leader, and anti-violence outreach workers help their at-risk clients shelter in place.

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.

Scuba Tours Are Planting Coral Instead

In this week’s briefing: Australian tour operators repair the Great Barrier Reef and a city keeps its restaurants afloat by hiring them to cook for the homeless.

France’s High-Speed Hospital

In this week’s news briefing: Governments help companies pay their workers, France uses its bullet train for high-speed triage and Indigenous graduation rates soar.

Can Facebook Predict Coronavirus Spikes?

In this week’s news briefing: social media data is tracking COVID-19 and schools begin to open with anti-viral measures in place.

Coronavirus Help Is Everywhere

American bartenders get a lifeline, French perfumers churn out hand sanitizer, Britain grows a volunteer army and locked-down Chinese students find classmates in Israel.

A Balm to Heal Strip-Mined Mountaintops

In this week’s news briefing: the strafed summits of Kentucky find a grizzled savior and an underground turbine keeps the lights on in Halifax.

The DIY Wheelchair Ramp

In this week’s news briefing: a device that turns impassable into accessible, a preschool wrapped in a bus and free legal help for tenants facing eviction.

Growing Pot with Beer Bubbles

In this week’s news briefing: Brewery emissions find a higher purpose and transit-oriented soccer fields sprout in Atlanta.

This Apple Computer Stops Food from Spoiling

In this week’s news briefing: a device to prevent rotting produce, gay rights advance in Virginia and Japan makes a science of lost-and-found.

A Proven Way to Change Voters’ Minds

In this week’s news briefing: empathy-based political canvassing, old seeds grown anew and pavement that lets the water in.

The Pack Is Back

In this week’s news briefing: The triumphant return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, and a company dispatches teenagers to help seniors with their iPads.

Why Australia Is Lighting New Bush Fires

In this week’s news briefing: a millennia-old approach to controlling Australia’s wildfires, and a city in Illinois gets to know its homeless.

A More Sensitive Supermarket

In this week’s news briefing: simulating disability in a retail environment, turning down take-away plastics and tidying up the ocean floor.

Uber’s Ambulance Service

In this week’s news briefing: Medicaid picks up the tab for ride-hailing to the doctor, and wind farms sprout from Fukushima’s abandoned farmland.

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: Darkening the Sky to Reveal the Heavens

In this week’s news briefing: bridges help disadvantaged university students get ahead, Holland brings back the night sky and an end to scooter segregation.

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: Picasso Over Prosecution

In this week’s news briefing: a choice between art class and prison, engineers without bathroom borders and license and voter registration, please.

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.

The Fixer: Who’s Afraid of Collectivism?

In this first edition of RTBC’s weekly news briefing, stories of street redesign in Amsterdam, solar systems in California and cooperative farming in China.