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.
Saving the Rainforests Is Pandemic Prevention
In Borneo and Madagascar, communities committed to protecting trees instead of logging — and people got healthier.
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.
Climate Action Is a Four-Day Work Week
When dozens of companies experimented with shorter working hours, employees swapped commuting for low-carbon fun.
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.
Cancer Deaths Are Plummeting
Across the US, early screening, vaccines and better treatments are making the disease less fatal than ever.
The Ozone Layer Will Soon Be Entirely Healed
Following an extraordinary global effort, the UN announced that the planet’s critical sun shield will completely recover within 40 years.
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.
Recycling Clothes Is Going Mainstream
In Sweden, the world’s first commercial-scale textile recycling plant is a sign of things to come.
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.
The US Election Unfolded With Remarkable Grace
Defying dire predictions, the sprawling event once again showed the power of civic engagement.
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.
Libraries Are Lending Free E-Bikes
In Madison, Wisconsin, library patrons borrow electric bicycles for a week at a time, saving them thousands on buying their own.
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.
Meet the Insect That Recycles Plastic Bags
The wax worm’s saliva quickly breaks down polyethylene waste, and could eventually be sold in at-home recycling kits.
Bananas Are Too Cheap — Here’s How to Fix That
A Montreal importer is upping the price of a bunch to get fairer wages for farmers and workers in Central and South America.
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.
Ferguson Teens Take Flight
A free flight training program is inspiring high-schoolers to pursue career dreams they never even considered.
Los Angeles Cyclists Find Safety in Numbers
A new app helps bike commuters travel together in “pods” as a response to a lack of protective infrastructure.
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.
The Beach that Said Bye-Bye to Hollywood
Maya Bay could have been famous. Instead, it’s living happily ever after.
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.
Spain Is Making Its Trains Free
With an energy crisis looming, Spain is suspending train fares to encourage people to take transit instead of driving.
Wear a Fish, Save the Planet
The latest strategy for combating invasive species? Turn them into jackets.
China’s Singles Have Had It
In a country where laws often penalize the unmarried, a “singles rights” movement is gaining steam.
The Whimsical Skywalks of Rotterdam
By connecting the city’s rooftops, the floating bridges pay homage to under-appreciated urban spaces.
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.
The ‘Red State Green Energy’ Boom Rolls On
A new analysis confirms the reporting in RTBC’s latest series: conservative states are big players in America’s clean power movement.
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.
Welcome Back, Condor
The reintroduction of California condors into the state’s northern redwoods is the latest milestone in the birds’ spectacular comeback.
‘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.
An Orchard Grows in Kansas City
Fruiting trees that replace dump sites are cared for — and feed — the communities they’re in.
Recycling Uplifts a Refugee Camp
In Algeria, a complete recycling plant — delivered in a shipping container — helps refugees earn a living while reducing waste.
The Supermarket That Seeks No Profits
Jubilee Market in Waco, Texas exists for one reason only: to provide quality food in a neighborhood that lacks it.
Where Hunger Fell When Covid Hit
When markets closed, some Pacific Islands returned to traditional farming practices — and found more people had enough to eat.
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.
A Waterlogged Park Embraces Bangkok’s Monsoons
An urban wetland that people can use becomes a shining example of flood adaptation.
Can I Have a Sip?
A model of water exchange that aids diplomacy between Israel and Jordan could work for parched areas of the U.S. and Mexico, too.
An Iconic Suburb Goes Urban
Columbia, Maryland, the quintessential 1960s planned community, is preparing for a 21st century makeover.
Uganda’s LGBTQ Church Is an Act of Faith
In a country where being gay can be dangerous, one church promises: “There is no judgment.”
Removing Money to Remove Bias
Under a proposed law, district attorneys who have received money from the police would have to recuse themselves from cases involving them.
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.
Putting Diversity in the Pilot’s Seat
A California flight academy is tackling the pilot shortage and equity issues in one fell swoop.
Abandoned Oil Rigs Are Actually Helping the Oceans
Properly maintained, their towering pylons often become an ideal habitat for endangered marine life.
Seattle’s Soda Tax Worked Like a Charm
A study showed that consumers cut way back on pop — and didn’t buy other sugary products as a substitute.
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.
The City That Uses Its Lake as an Air Conditioner
An ingenious system using chilly lake water makes air conditioning unnecessary in major buildings, from hospitals to an NBA arena.
How Baltimore Became a City of Co-ops
As interest in worker-owned businesses spreads across the U.S., one city is way ahead of the game.
Idaho’s Historical Markers Are Getting a Makeover
Erected in the 1950s, they’re riddled with exactly the kinds of inaccuracies you might expect.
Taking Therapy to the Streets
In Baltimore, a more immersive method of violence interruption is putting clinical psychology at its forefront.
Home Is Where the Noise Is
Scientists are serenading fish with friendly sounds, and coral reefs are reaping the benefits.
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.
The Stigma-Defying Wheelchair Dancers of Shanghai
In a country where disability is often invisible, these dancers say, “I want to let more people see us.”
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 Juvenile Jail that Turned into a Youth Center
Arizona is sending fewer kids to jail — and reinventing the places where they were once locked up.
The Inspiring Evolution of Pittsburgh’s Old-School Unions
A steelworkers organization is embracing workers of all stripes, from nurses to coders.
The Nine Cent Taxis of Rural South Korea
In places where bus service has vanished, dirt-cheap taxis are keeping people mobile.
The Mental Health Power of Mooncakes
A Shanghai mental health center was a target for stigmatization. Then its syrupy snack went viral.
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.
The Black Barbershop Guide to Post-Prison Life
At an “intergenerational healing circle,” elders offer young men job advice while the youth teach the older folks how to use Instagram.
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.
This Country Turns Cocoa Into Electricity
Ivory Coast produces more cocoa than anywhere else in the world. Now they’re using it to generate green energy.
‘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.
Business is Booming on Covid’s Car-Free Streets
And now a lot of cities are making their “open streets” permanent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crushed by negative news?
Sign up for the Reasons to be Cheerful newsletter.