What is good news

77 good news you probably didn't notice in 2020

It's been a tough year. More violent than many of us have ever experienced collectively. I still remember a moment in the first week of November: the US presidential election was in full swing, a terrorist ran amok in Vienna and Germany slid into the second Corona shutdown. I just wanted to smack my cell phone against the wall and shout out loud: But that's enough, 2020!

I had feelings within me that many people tend to have in the flood of these messages: fear, stress, world pain.

But the good thing is: the news we consume doesn't show all of the reality. Because between the many headlines that hit us every day, there are reports about solutions, about good things and hopeful beginnings - also in the Corona year 2020. The Krautreporter Facebook group "Good news - solutions has the world", the KR member Onno Tasler looks after, has collected these reports.

Moments of hope in the corona crisis

  1. Depressionshilfe made its app iFightDepression freely available for six weeks in the spring. The app supports those affected in dealing with depressive complaints independently and provides practical tips for everyday life. (German Depression Aid)
  2. Homemade ventilator: A group of German specialists from various disciplines have come together to develop a simple, powerful and life-saving ventilator. In August they presented the first draft. (DIY ventilator)
  3. More solidarity: The political scientist Natascha Strobl started the solidarity campaign #NeighbourhoodChallenge in March. You can use the hashtag to post offers of help if you want to support neighbors and other people in need. Templates for notices can also be found on the associated page. (Social work digital)
  4. Corona did not cause thousands of deaths everywhere: In addition to Taiwan and South Korea, some of the poorest countries in the world have so far got the virus under control, including Vietnam, Mongolia, Rwanda, Senegal and Uruguay. (Herb reporter)
  5. Goodbye shock ventilation at sub-zero temperatures: Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry have designed a ventilation system that can be recreated using materials from the hardware store. The system can remove 90 percent of aerosols potentially containing coronavirus from the room air. A school in Mainz has been testing a prototype since the summer. (MPIC)
  6. The KR community also had good experiences during the crisis: Thanks to the home office, some have more time for leisure time, with others the family grew closer and introverts enjoyed the time alone at home - without "Fomo", that is, the fear of missing out on something . (Herb reporter)

Where the environment is doing better

  1. Indian farmers use sometimes brutal methods to protect their land and fields from hungry elephants. Researchers are therefore testing cheap and gentle deterrents, such as beehive fences. The animals are afraid of the insects - and willingly turn back. 367 farmers are already using the fences successfully. (Guardian)
  2. The lakes Razzaza and Al-Habbania in Iraq were once popular holiday destinations, then for years they recorded significant water losses - with negative effects on the native bird and fish population. NASA satellite images now show that the two lakes are filling up again. (NASA Earth Observatory)
  3. The Norwegian start-up "Desert Control" makes a brew from water and tiny clay particles. Sprayed on sand, it turns arid deserts into fertile farmland in just a few hours. The problem so far has been the costs. Desert Control hopes to make them affordable for African farmers too. (Star)
  4. The east of Germany is getting drier, but farmers are adapting their methods. The no-till method is currently proving its worth in Brandenburg. Just a few days after the grain harvest, the farmers sow seeds for new plants inside. As a result, the wind and sun do not dry out the fields and the plants store nitrogen. That makes for fertile soil. (RBB24)
  5. In the EU, hunters will no longer be allowed to shoot lead ammunition in wetlands. So far, around 1.5 million birds have died there each year from lead poisoning. That is over now. (Reef reporter)
  6. Together against rubbish: In September, 35,000 volunteers freed the Rhine, Moselle and Ruhr from 320 tons of waste at the “Rhine CleanUp”. (SWR)
  7. Gravel gardens are a real catastrophe for the environment: in summer the gardens heat up to 70 degrees and become a death trap for insects and small animals. Baden-Württemberg therefore decided in July to ban gravel gardens. (N-tv)
  8. The municipality of Simmerath in North Rhine-Westphalia is creating space for wildflower meadows: The administration wants to plant sterile lawns in an insect-friendly way and then leave them to nature. A total of 17,000 square meters should soon bloom in bright colors. (Aachener Zeitung)
  9. It took the Ecuadorian Omar Tello 40 years to turn a piece of depleted farmland into rainforest. Now his forest is growing and the animal world has returned: snakes, toucans, monkeys and many other species have found a new home there. (BBC)
  10. In a refugee camp in the Jordanian desert there are few fresh vegetables, but many foam mattresses. English plant specialists have therefore teamed up with the farmers among the refugees and are now upcycling the old mattresses for growing vegetables and herbs. (Good News Network)
  11. In Germany, the Baltic gray seals have been considered extinct since 1920. Thanks to a hunting ban, they are now regaining the coastal waters: Today there are 3,500 animals again in Germany alone, and as many as 38,000 in the whole of the Baltic Sea. (Nordkurier)
  12. Green wonder of the world: In Africa, the Sahel zone is threatened with devastation. The African Union wants to stop this with a green wall of trees and plants: To increase fertility, stop erosion and stabilize water flows. The project has been running since 2007, the Sahel countries have already planted several million trees and restored just as many hectares of land. (LOOK)
  13. Breathe better: Measurements by the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that the air in Europe will be cleaner in 2020 than it was ten years ago. The EEA estimates that almost 60,000 fewer people die prematurely each year from exposure to particulate matter. (RND)
  14. More than a decade ago, conservationists began to reintroduce the native lynx in Germany. And lo and behold: In a census at the beginning of February, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation found three populations and a few individual animals in over ten federal states. More and more lynx females are having young, also in the latest reintroduction project in the Palatinate Forest. (Mirror)

These are the best remedies against hatred and populism

  1. In the small French town of Lodève, young Muslims guarded a divine service on All Saints' Day to express their solidarity with Christians. A few days earlier, on October 29, 2020, an Islamist terrorist stabbed three people in front of the Notre-Dame church in Nice. (France 3)
  1. The “Proud Boys” are an ultra-right gang in the USA that also supports President Donald Trump. In October, the LGBTQ + community flooded the right-wing extremist hashtag #ProudBoys with queer expressions of love. (Gaytimes)
  2. In Be'er Scheva, a large city in southern Israel, Jews and Muslims work together in the rescue service. Since there is little time left at work, they pray together. In this way they show that the supposed "war of religions" in the Middle East is not eternal and immutable. (Time in the picture)
  3. Vikings vs. Neo-Nazis: Neo-Nazis like to portray themselves as descendants of the Vikings. The Swedish group "Vikings Against Racism" has set itself the task of defending the reputation of the Vikings. They adapted to the cultures with which they came into contact. (Al Jazeera)
  4. Successes against hatred on the net: For years, the Green politician Renate Künast took legal action against hate comments. Two men were fined that year. Bavaria also appointed the Chief Public Prosecutor Klaus-Dieter Hartleb as Hatespeech Officer, who coordinates 22 special departments to combat hate speech. (RND)
  5. The city of Würzburg has to rent urban conference rooms to the AfD because parties that sit in the Bundestag have a legal claim to it. In November the city donated the rental income to the “Hermine” association, which works for refugees. (Bavarian Broadcasting)
  6. Despite lateral thinker demos: Populist attitudes in Germany fell significantly in 2020 compared to 2018, shows the new populism barometer of the Bertelsmann Foundation. (Daily mirror)

Small steps in climate protection that together can have a big impact

  1. The small town of Lahti in Finland aims to become climate neutral by 2025. The CitiCap climate app has also been helping with this since mid-2019. It stores how users move around - for example by bicycle, bus or car - and calculates how much harmful CO2 they produce every day. Those who stay below 17 kilograms of CO2 per week receive rewards such as bus tickets. (NDR)
  2. The Philippines are an island nation: people and goods move back and forth between the islands using boats, ferries and transport ships and emit a lot of greenhouse gases. The Filipino engineer Jonathan Salvador has now designed a climate-friendly boat that works with the energy of the waves - and not against them. (BBC)
  3. Denmark responded to the corona pandemic with an ambitious climate package. Among other things, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 70 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The highlight: Even Danish industry is enthusiastic, because two large offshore wind farms represent a large investment. (Business Insider)
  4. Long import routes, genetic engineering, rainforest deforestation - the soybean is a polluter for the climate. But there is a regional alternative: the field bean. It blooms for two months and thus provides insects with a lavish buffet, does not depend on fertilizers and makes the soil even more fertile for other plants through nitrogen storage. (Southgerman newspaper)
  5. In Lithuania, citizens who give up their environmentally harmful car can get up to 1,000 euros for the purchase of an e-scooter, a bicycle or a bus ticket. The government started the program in summer 2020 with a budget of around eight million euros. (ZDF today)
  6. Wind energy is one of the renewable energies, but it has its own problems: The rotors make noise. Large amounts of steel are required to build the towers. Researchers in Spain are experimenting with rotors that make better use of the wind and require fewer parts, or with wood as the material for the tower. (Star)
  7. 40 universities around the world announced in April that they had joined forces to form the “International Climate Alliance of Universities”. The alliance wants to bundle interdisciplinary research on climate change and thus facilitate political decision-makers' access to scientific facts. (Times Higher Education)
  8. British economist Kate Raworth developed the theory of the donut economy. The model serves as a guide to how countries, cities, and people can thrive in equilibrium with the planet. The city of Amsterdam started to rebuild the city according to the ideas of the donut economy in April. (Kate Raworth)
  1. To bind the greenhouse gases that have already been released, we would have to plant a trillion trees. That requires an area of ​​ten million square kilometers and costs 221,000 euros per square kilometer. The International Institute of Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro has now researched an alternative to strengthen natural growth at a cost of just 66,300 euros per square kilometer. (Al Jazeera)
  2. From January 1st, electronic devices in France must have a label showing how easy they are to repair. The government wants consumers to be more likely to buy devices that they don't have to throw away in the event of a defect. The law is intended to motivate manufacturers to design their products to be more environmentally friendly in this regard. (WDR)
  3. A hospital in Boston has been operating a 250-square-meter roof garden with two colonies of bees since 2017. This has many advantages: the garden supplies the hospital with vegetables and honey, reduces its energy consumption and serves as a teaching garden for healthy eating. Poor patients can even get the vegetables on prescription if they have no money for fresh vegetables. (Reuters)

That strengthens democracy and togetherness

  1. The era of department stores is over. Are our inner cities dying out now? No, a research project shows: Most buildings have a future. For example in Oldenburg: There the architect Alexis Angelis is converting an empty Hertie branch - into a meeting place with a street food market, event areas for workshops and co-working space. (Time online)
  2. Fake news and disinformation campaigns threaten democracy. Finland shows how to act against disinformation even without bans: by consistently integrating media literacy in all school subjects. Information literacy has been part of the curriculum since 2016. Finland is now considered to be the most resistant to fake news in the EU. (Friday)
  3. The health department in New York has adopted a concept from Zimbabwe: the friendship banks. Former patients sit there who have received basic therapeutic training to advise those affected. In 2019, this resulted in 60,000 conversations. (Deutschlandfunk Nova)
  4. Self-determined school: The Alemannenschule Wutöschingen (in southern Baden) should be closed in 2009, then the community decided to experiment: The learning material is taught in cross-age learning communities, instead of classwork there is evidence of success. Ten years later it becomes clear that this leads to above-average performance. (Brand One)
  5. Botswana as a model for success: The African country put the income from raw material exports into education and infrastructure. Today it has reached the level of European countries in many ways, but has yet to overcome its dependence on raw material exports. (Mirror)
  6. Basic rights via smartphone: The Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich is currently developing an app that is intended to help migrants and police officers understand each other. It explains in eight languages ​​what a dismissal is and what rights the accused have. (Southgerman newspaper)
  7. After the yellow vest protests in France, a council made up of randomly selected citizens developed concrete climate protection measures. On June 21, 2020, the participants called for the end of domestic flights, the lowering of the speed limit, a climate tax for the wealthy and anchoring climate protection in the constitution. (Reef reporter)

The street as a living room - this is how traffic can get better

  1. For fear of a corona infection, many people switched from buses and trains to cars. Cities therefore have to reschedule their traffic. Milan relies on the “Strade Aperte” concept: temporary cycle paths and larger sidewalks give cyclists: inside and pedestrians: inside more space, and innkeepers can set up tables. Cars are sometimes only allowed to drive 30 kilometers per hour. (Neue Züricher Zeitung)
  2. Since April 28, 2020, motor vehicles in Germany have had to keep a prescribed minimum distance from pedestrians: inside, bicycles and e-scooters. But how can you convict traffic offenders? In Chattanooga, USA, police officers have been using the small C3FT device successfully since 2015 to check distances. (American City & County)
  3. The street as a living room: The City of Vienna wants to empower pedestrians and cyclists in traffic. Since 2015, the city has converted eight streets into meeting areas, which not only bring life to the streets, but also serve as refreshment areas in summer. (Reef reporter)
  4. Yoga, flower pots and asphalt: a collective redesigned Schwanthalerstraße in Munich in August as part of the “100 Meter Future” campaign. The project by architecture students at the Technical University of Munich shows how a street can be transformed into a livable space for residents: inside. (Southgerman newspaper)
  5. The EU transport ministers committed themselves in September to paying more attention to rail transport. The rail network is to be expanded and trains are to become more competitive with air traffic. They also want to consider a revitalization of the Trans-Europ-Express network, which links cities in European countries. (Euractiv)

Less violence creates more peace

  1. Defund the Police? As more and more people called the police, a small town in Kentucky hired a social worker rather than a new police officer. Kelly Pompilio tries to support people in such a way that they don't even have to call the police. The number of emergency calls fell significantly. (Wave 3 News)
  2. The revolution in Sudan is showing its first successes: In July, a judicial reform was passed that bans female genital mutilation. The government also abolished the death penalty for religion and same-sex sexual activity. (Southgerman newspaper)
  3. In a maximum security prison near the US metropolis of Indianapolis, inmates look after cats in a shelter. By caring for the animals, the prisoners experience affection and learn to allow feelings. This has been shown to improve rehabilitation. (IndyStar)
  1. In Afghanistan the economy is made up of warlords who grow opium raw materials? Not correct! There are alternatives to the cultivation of opium poppies: for example the production of saffron. The spice allows young women financial independence, because the cultivation is considered "women's work". (FF)
  2. A small town in Mexico was able to reduce the crime rate without a police force, thanks to a new political system: A council of elders rules that is elected every three years. The villagers discuss problems together around the campfire and appoint policemen. (Herb reporter)
  3. Since 1982 there have been large amounts of landmines on the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. A British task force had dropped them there as a result of the war with Argentina. The English government has now successfully cleared the mines. The project was dragged out by high costs. (Reuters)
  4. In a referendum in October 2020, the overwhelming majority of Chileans voted in favor of abolishing the old constitution from the military dictatorship. An assembly is now to develop a new constitution - with strong protection of civil and human rights. (Chile News)
  5. In Darfur, Sudan, settled people and nomads fought because both groups farm differently. The result: fields became deserted. In a project, the residents are now working together to restore the land to its fertility by building weirs. (The Guardian)
  6. Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement in August that aims to bring peace to the Middle East. The aim is to normalize diplomatic relations. Direct flights between the two states should also be allowed. (Haaretz)
  7. Airbnb for former offenders: inside: In Oakland, California, the “Homecoming Project” arranges vacant rooms in private households to people who are released from prison. The returnees receive a social environment, the project also gives them a driver's license, a bank account and helps with job placement. (Next City)

More equality means more freedom

  1. Nanaia Mahuta was New Zealand's first woman minister for Maorient development. Now the politician is also the first Maori woman to hold the government post of foreign minister. New Zealand's cabinet is "incredibly diverse," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (Taz)
  2. The Maasai Nice Nailantei Leng'ete saved 17,000 girls in Kenya from genital mutilation by seeking dialogue: They listened to the village elders and convinced them that alternative rituals are not only better for the girls - but also for the community. (We Are Not Divided)
  3. Patriarchy is deeply anchored in Myanmar - also in a religious context. The Buddhist nun Sayalay Ketumala is therefore committed to the recognition of women in Buddhism. Since 2016 she has been training young nuns in autonomy and self-determination. (Southeast Asia Globe)
  4. Medical study materials are not diverse enough, noted London medical student Malone Mukwende. So he created a manual that doctors can use to look up what symptoms look like on different skin tones. (Atlanta Black Star)
  5. A supermarket in Japan is testing particularly slow checkouts for senior citizens. The aim is to make shopping a less stressful experience for people who need help with paying and packing. (Deutschlandfunk Nova)
  6. The platform Dickstinction.com, which went online in February, makes it easier for those affected to report sexual harassment through "dick picks". Upload a screenshot, link penis owners and, voilà, the site issues a professionally formulated advertisement that only needs to be submitted to the police. (Deutschlandfunk Nova)
  7. Men with mental illness often end up in jail because their role model does not allow anything else: showing weakness would destroy them. In Ghana, young men oppose this discrimination by talking about their fears and worries on social networks, for example. (Al Jazeera)
  8. More accessibility: For wheelchair users: inside every step is an obstacle. The Swiss start-up Scewo has therefore developed the prototype of a wheelchair that can climb stairs thanks to sensors and a caterpillar drive. (Deutschlandfunk)
  9. Sean Williams lives on Long Island, New York. As a black father, he was often exposed to prejudice in his neighborhood. That's why he started the “Dad Gang”: a group of black men who not only exchange advice on raising children, but also eradicate stereotypes about black fatherhood on their Instagram account with 125,000 followers. (CBS News)
  10. The city of Hanover has launched a new offer for the homeless this year: In the “Plan B - OK” model project, homeless people not only receive accommodation for up to three months, but also intensive social counseling. This should help them to permanently improve their living and living situation. (Website of the City of Hanover)

The poorest are helped here

  1. The roads are long in Wedza, a rural district in Zimbabwe. This is particularly difficult for farmers who want to sell their products on the market. Thanks to low-maintenance electric motorcycles, they can now cover the distances faster. For many farmers, this is a way out of poverty. (Reuters)
  2. The company Unilever mobilized 500 million euros in the corona crisis to help suppliers through the difficult times. The company also gives loans to small traders and service providers whose existence depends on Unilever. (Brand One)
  3. In poorer parts of the city and slums in dry countries, toilet waste often ends up in the ditch and ends up in the drinking water. The “Fresh Life” toilet developed in Kenya separates faeces from urine, binds and dries them. The waste can then be processed into fertilizer and even used to generate electricity. (Ozy)
  4. Period poverty: In a survey of Scottish women, one in five said they could not afford enough hygiene products for their period. The Scottish Parliament is now providing £ 24 million each year for free tampons and the like in public places such as community centers or pharmacies. (Jetzt.de)
  5. In the Corona crisis, many food banks have to stop supplying people in need so as not to endanger older employees. In Bremerhaven, charity continues - also thanks to young people who help. (Butes and inland)
  6. Lucky: In Brest, France, five homeless people win 50,000 euros in the lottery. A passer-by had given them a scratch card. (ZDF today)

Last:

  1. Read too much science fiction during the pandemic? OK then! Research shows that fantastic stories help readers deal with present-day problems in a safe thought laboratory and thereby think through new solutions. (Conversation)

This collection comes from the middle of our community. Krautreporter is the first German magazine that works and researches with members as often as possible. We are convinced that this will improve our journalistic work. If you like this approach, support our independent and ad-free journalism and become a member. You can test us for free for the first 30 days. Here you can find out more and become a member.

Editing: Philipp Daum, final editing: Susan Mücke, picture editing: Till Rimmele