These heartwarming stories from our Autumn 2018 edition of Positively Newsworthy are sure to lift your spirits! If you have not yet picked up your copy of our Autumn 2018 issue, check your local stockist or subscribe to receive the magazine direct to your door!
Local solutions to global problems
By Alison McEvoy
There are so many ways to interact with the ‘challenges’ the world is encountering. What I love most about the ‘zero heroes’ which are emerging in response to pollution and excess waste production, is their ingenious creativity.
These people, who wish to create a world in which there is zero wastage, have come up with some of the most pioneering and novel ideas around. Take the Recycled Island Foundation for example. They have recently launched the world’s first floating, recycled park on the Maas River in Rotterdam.
The students of Rotterdam University joined in and pioneered the idea of the floating hexagonal building blocks which form the basis of the floating landscape. On top of these is packed all the plastics which the foundation has retrieved using litter traps from the river and, similar to a roof garden, upon these is planted all kinds of greenery, from moss to small trees, and plenty of native plant species.
Not only does the park soften the river’s edge through creating a buffer of green, it also provides a nesting and breeding place for marine life below the water’s surface and bird and insect life above.
These kinds of initiatives clearly show us that ‘waste’ need not be wasted, that there is value in every material that exists, in whatever form it exists, and, if we engage our creativity and problem solving, we can discover new value in what was previously discarded.
The foundation are now looking for new cities and locations to continue their mission!
A Devoted Dog
Brave pup saves the day
by Aisling Cronin
Dogs are true heroes in so many ways – bringing comfort, love and solace to grateful humans all over the globe – but their heroism is never more evident on those astounding occasions when they save their humans from serious injury or even death. This summer, Paula Godwin – a resident of Arizona in the U.S. – was spared a shocking ordeal thanks to the courage of her own dog, a sweet golden retriever named Todd. She, Todd, and the other canines of the household were out on a walk one day in June, when their stroll was interrupted by a not-so-welcome visitor: a rattlesnake.
‘It was a carefree, beautiful morning,’ Paula recalled, ‘but as we were walking down the hill, I literally almost stepped on a rattlesnake. My hero of a puppy, Todd, saved me. He jumped right in front of my leg, where I surely would have been bitten.’
Todd was left with a number of injuries as a result of the snake bite, but he made a speedy recovery thanks to the veterinary care he received. He was later honoured in style at a Diamondbacks American football game, where the crowd were thrilled to see him. Paula is deeply grateful to him for saving her from what could have been a deeply painful or even lethal experience. ‘This is what a hero looks like,’ she declared. ‘Please say a prayer for my sweet hero.’
Lord of the Books
Bin man builds free library
by Aisling Cronin
Twenty years ago, Jose Alberto Gutierrez – a waste collector living in Bogotá, Colombia – found a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that had been thrown out in one of the wealthier areas of Bogotá. He decided to rescue the book from the rubbish, and thus began his passion for salvaging high-quality books from the waste system and offering them for free to Colombians in need.
Gutierrez has now collected over 20,000 books, spanning a wide range of genres. These books form his free library service, Fundación La Fuerza de las Palabras (Strength of Words Foundation), located in his home in South Bogóta. Gutierrez keeps childrens’ books, classic novels by authors like Margaret Mitchell, Mario Vargas Llosa, and fellow Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, as well as textbooks covering subjects such as science, business and medicine, to name just a few.
The library is open to community children at weekends, and Gutierrez and his wife ship books to other communities in need all over Colombia. Their books have reached over 450 territories in the country. Gutierrez has become affectionately known as ‘the lord of the books’ in his neighbourhood. As he puts it: ‘In an area that lacks access to many resources, a book becomes a symbol of hope. Listen, if humans treated each other as they do in many of the books that I’ve read, this planet would be governed only by love.’