Good news: combatting climate change, healthcare workers, and more

Hannah Brooks, Staff Writer

Though the new year has come and gone, 2020’s bad-news cycle has not much dissipated.  However, it is once again with an optimistic eye to the future and a hope to revive the smiles of the student body that The Schreiber Times presents the second installment of its “Good News” column.  Here is just some good news of 2021 so far.

America rejoined the Paris Climate Accord under new President Joe Biden.  Soon after his inauguration, on Jan. 20, Biden signed an executive order that started the formal process of reentering the agreement, which was originally created in 2015 as a preventative and active measure against climate change.  Former President Trump ceased involvement in the Accord in June of 2017, so naturally, the issue has political implications both at home and abroad.  Partisan battles aside, though, the order is encouraging to advocates for climate change reform.  

“I think rejoining the Accord is great, and that we shouldn’t stop there.  I hope Biden holds his promise to get us on the path to recovery for climate change,” said senior Ian Miller. 

Biden’s actions, many hope, mark the beginning of slow but steady good news for melting Arctic seas, changing weather patterns and temperature, and rising carbon dioxide emission levels.

Super Bowl LV “Healthcare Heroes” saw wins for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and healthcare workers.  The Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 31-9.  Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for a fifth time—an NFL record—and won his seventh Super Bowl overall.  In addition, the 32 NFL teams invited about 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers to the game, and they served as spectators (in the limited-capacity stands) and powerful reminders of the COVID-era Super Bowl.  As a thank-you for their work, these “Healthcare Heroes” were also treated to pre-game festivities.

Innovators have found ways to give trash new potential.  One team of researchers in Australia discovered that old surgical face masks, which would otherwise be sent in droves to landfills, can be incorporated into a concrete mixture used to pave roads.  In fact, the benefits would work both ways, as plastics in the masks would help to make the road more flexible.  This solution could lower the cost and increase the durability of asphalt while simultaneously eliminating the environmental threat of millions of face masks in the trash.  

Likewise, Nzambi Matee, an inventor from Kenya, has invented bricks made of recycled plastic.  These bricks transform what would be unusable plastic waste into a building material that is five to seven times stronger than concrete.

Reddit, Twitter, and TikTok trends have all gone toward charitable causes.  Following a large profit from his GameStop investments, one Reddit user named Hunter Kahn paid the success forward by donating Nintendo Switches and games to a local children’s hospital.  

Over on Twitter, memes of a mittened Bernie Sanders at the inauguration went viral, but didn’t solely make for a good laugh.  Sanders created a merchandise line featuring the famous image; the entire line sold out quickly, and within five days, Sanders had raised more than $1 million in proceeds for Meals on Wheels and other charities.  

And a concert performance of the TikTok sensation Ratatouille the Musical colloquially, the Ratatousical raised over $1 million to benefit The Actors’ Fund, which helps performers in need.  

“It’s amazing how a bunch of complete strangers can come together over social media to compose an original score.  It was a great idea to donate the proceeds from the production to The Actors’ Fund, especially since many actors don’t have a steady source of income right now,” said sophomore Abby Smith.

A laser that could destroy cancer cells was developed by Scottish scientists.  Researchers at Heriot-Watt University are creating this ultra-precise laser as a potential viable treatment option, as it would remove cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones largely intact.

Major Biden was “indogurated” as the first shelter/rescue dog to live in the White House.  In the last issue of “Good News,” The Schreiber Times reported on the new canine mayor of a small Kentucky town.  This time around, the focus is instead placed on the White House.  Major Biden is one of President Biden’s two German shepherds.  

“Shelter dogs often have a bad reputation and may not be seen as wanted, but in reality, they are some of the sweetest dogs with so much to give.  I hope that Major Biden inspires people all over the country to adopt those dogs in need,” said junior Kayla Caplin. 

On Jan. 17, Major’s virtual “Indoguration” party raised over $200,000 for the Delaware Humane Association.