We all love a positive news story … and in our Autumn 2019 issue, we published three! The Positively Newsworthy section of our magazine is always a much-cherished read. Read on to hear about an amazing rescue, an innovative alternative plastic straws, and a sign of hope for a Central American rainforest…
“Since every end is always a beginning, we can say that is a story that begins again after 74 years of the life of a man.”
Four years ago, a woman named Shalla Monteiro was given a poem by Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho, a homeless man she approached in Brazil. Though neither of them knew it at the time, they were about to become firm friends and very important to each other’s lives. In learning that Raimundo had always wanted to publish a book of his poetry, Shalla set up a Facebook page for him and began to publish his work, or ‘mini pages’ as he likes to call them. He built up quite the following. Not only was Raimundo touched to be able to share his work somewhere, it resulted in his family discovering his whereabouts for the first time in years and his brother inviting him to come and live with him.
In July of this year, the delightful news came out that after support pouring in from all over the world for his work, his life and his story, Raimundo’s first book is now close to being published.
Whizz Kids Hack Android!
By Laura Ivers
Ethiopian Children Astound the Pros
One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is an organization that oversees the creation of affordable educational devices for use in the developing world. They recently completed a bold experiment to see if illiterate children, with no previous exposure to written words, could learn how to read all by themselves, through experimenting with tablets preloaded with alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, painting applications and other programs.
Motorola Xoom tablets, which use a solar charging system, were dropped off by OLPC workers to two remote Ethiopian villages. 40 children in total, who had previously never seen printed materials, road signs or even printed packaging, were chosen for the project and the tablets were delivered in closed boxes, taped shut that included no instructions.
OLPC’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte, speaking at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference said, “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android. Someone in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”
Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer elaborated further, “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that. And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”
The experiment was a response to the problem that over 100 million first-grade children worldwide have no access to schooling and results from early observations on the experiment have been highly encouraging, presenting exciting new possibilities for education and learning globally.
By Trevor Neilson
A little noticed piece of news emerged in the world of philanthropy in February. A dozen new billionaires signed onto the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge. The Pledge, established in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, encourages the world’s wealthiest individuals to give at least half of their wealth to charity rather than passing it on to their children. With the addition of these signatories, 105 billionaires have now committed a total of $500 billion to philanthropy.
This news is important for a few key reasons. First, Gates and Buffett have done a great job of engaging people around the world to donate their wealth to charity. Most people never thought the Pledge would succeed given the entrenched tradition of passing wealth along to one’s children. Even in a country like the U.S. that prides itself upon equality of opportunity, inheritances have historically comprised about 20-50% of wealth accumulation – a tradition that stifles ambition and innovation. The fact that 105 billionaires have signed on, including the latest Pledgers who represent 8 different countries, is an encouraging indicator that the culture of wealth is shifting.
As we look to the future, we have reason to hope that this increased commitment to charitable giving will become the social norm. Imagine a society in which extreme giving is the new status symbol for the wealthy. The Pledge could evolve into a giving competition and eventually a Global Philanthropy Award on par with the Nobel Prize.
We’ve already seen the concept take shape through the X Prize, which promotes technological innovations for the benefit of humanity. This model of incentivizing philanthropy through competition and peer pressure has proven successful. If we can leverage it further, we stand to change the landscape of philanthropy worldwide.
The Chocolate Factory
The Chocolate Factory is a new creative community developing in the old Williams & Woods building on King’s Inn Street in Dublin.
The first concrete building in Dublin city is being rejuvenated to become a creative hub comprised of studio spaces for design, art, music, dance, photography and many other creative areas.
The ethos of the Chocolate Factory is a creative community where community is the centre of focus with everybody helping each other out. We are also focused on reusing and upcycling anything we can as part of the development and building work going on in the CF, and want to be as sustainable as possible in every aspect of the project.
Ireland’s first rooftop Urban Farm is being created on the roof of the building and aims to produce and educate people on various horticultural techniques and how to create their own urban farm.
Already, the Chocolate Factory has artists, designers, bands, photographers, upcyclers, sound designers, Buddhist martial arts and healing experts, horticulturalists, a creative baker, fashion designers, software designers and many more all becoming part of the community and fuelling the diverse creative atmosphere that is developing.
A cafe and restaurant is planned for the ground floor and it is hoped to be open in the next few months, combining a great place to have a coffee or a meeting, with some roof grown food in a creative and industrial atmosphere of the expansive ground floor.
This project is breathing some life back into King’s Inn Street and hopefully it will help to expand the creative sector of Dublin to include this beautiful old building and its resident creatives.
Pick up a copy of Positive Life Magazine’s Spring 2013 issue in your local health food store. Or subscribe online for €15 and have it delivered to your door four times a year.
For more on the Chocolate Factory visit www.chocolatefactory.ie
Other spaces worth a look: wwwblockt.ie and www.fumballyexchange.com
‘Ballymun Concrete News’ was a unique publication that focused on Ballymun and its community. Its ethos was to publish positive and inspirational news relating to Ballymun. It was founded in 1998 as a single page news sheet by journalist and local resident Seamus Kelly, and was financed by advertising from local businesses. By 2000, the one-man operated newspaper had grown to a full colour 8-page monthly tabloid. It had a circulation of over 20,000 and was distributed free of charge to every home in Ballymun.
The digital archive of Ballymun Concrete News has been donated to Dublin City Library and Archive, and consists of 87 editions in total. Collectively, the papers provide a colourful record of ‘good news stories’ from Ballymun from 1998 to 2006. Articles focus on topics such as the Ballymun Regeneration Project, the opening of new community facilities, theatre, music, and sporting events, and the achievements of local residents in all areas of life.
Councillor Andrew Montague (Lord Mayor of Dublin 2011-2012) said: “I associate the Ballymun Concrete News with the regeneration of Ballymun. The peak of the regeneration was a time of great change, and throughout that time, the Ballymun Concrete News told us the story of our own community. With its glossy and colourful format, the Concrete News always had a positive and vibrant feel.
Seamus Kelly was at the heart of our community at that time. He made it his business to attend as many local events and meetings as possible. He always brought his trusty camera and he faithfully recorded whatever happened in both words and pictures.”
Mr Kelly, who lived in Ballymun for 40 years and edited the paper out of his flat in Plunkett Tower, said he was delighted that the City Archives had accepted his donation, and hopes it will inspire other communities to take up the torch and shine a light on the positive side of local life.
Children in Crossfire Host His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
As part of this event, the Dalai Lama will honour an inspirational young person from County Derry~Londonderry, with a Youth Compassion Award for carrying out acts of positive change. The winning recipient will receive their award from His Holiness at the event. 18th April 2013 at The Venue, Ebrington
“His Holiness has outstanding belief and passion that young people are catalysts for change and peace, and he sees them as the gateway to a better world for everyone.”
Children in Crossfire
Exciting news for young people in the Derry~Londonderry region. The Youth Compassion Award is open to anyone aged 16 to 25 living in County Derry~Londonderry who carries out distinctive acts demonstrating the power of compassion for positive change.
Director of Children in Crossfire, Richard Moore, has been described by the Dalai Lama as – ‘My Hero’. Richard himself spoke about the award saying, “We are looking for a young person who has really taken on a compassionate act which shows a selfless concern for others. I am sure there are lots of young people in our communities who have carried out acts which show the power of compassion for positive change. We really want to hear about these young people, and invite submissions for this award. We are excited to celebrate the achievements of young people and highlight the importance of compassion in their lives.”
Please visit the Children in Crossfire website for full details.
“Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy. If you want others to be happy practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
The 14th Dalai Lama.
The Angels of Atlantis Oracle Cards won best in category in the 2012 About.com Readers Choice Poll.
Stewart Pearce’s cards, with illustrations by Richard Crookes, were the clear winners taking a whopping 56% of the vote!
To celebrate, we are offering 5 lucky Positive Life readers the chance to win a free pack of the Angels of Atlantis Oracle Cards.
To enter for your chance to win simply sign up for our quarterly print magazine or our free monthly e-newsletter will be entered into a draw.
Once you’ve subscribed, just let us know by posting a comment below or on our Facebook page.
“You can’t watch out for bad things, and allow good things at the same time. It is vibrationally not possible. When you focus upon the problems of others, you diminish your ability to help them. People believe that you’ve got to focus upon the problem in order to find a solution. And we say, no solution ever comes forth from your place of focusing on the problem. They are two entirely different vibrations.
There are those who believe that the world is getting more and more desperate. We are here to tell you that the world is getting better and better, and better, in every day-and in this moment-for everyone who insists on focusing there.
If all you did was just look for things to appreciate you would live a joyous, spectacular life. If there was nothing else that you ever came to understand other than just look for things to appreciate, it’s the only tool you would ever need to predominantly hook you up with who you really are. That’s all you’d need.”
Happiness and its Causes
Happiness & Its Causes is a conference like-no-other bringing together 40+ leading speakers to debate the underlying causes of happiness and wellbeing for you as an individual, your workplace and society at large. Over four days – the two-day conference and two days of pre- and post-conference workshops – 40 of the best minds in psychology, philosophy, science, education, business, the arts, medicine, and politics will provide answers to these fundamental questions and explore techniques for achieving happiness and well-being, for ourselves and others. For more info, check out www.happinessanditscauses.org
Global Transition to Renewable Energy
Governments will be invited to Germany to launch an International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, to rival the Inter-national Atomic Energy Agency towards the end of the year. Dr Hermann Scheer, Chairman of the World Renewable Energy Council, said: “We’re talking about the most important and exciting structural change of civilisation since the beginning of the industrial age.” In Germany, already 250,000 people are employed in the renewable energy industries and the country is on course to be 100 per cent renewable by 2030. It is the best and cheapest job creation scheme ever invented. For more info, check out www.irena.org
World Youth Symposium on Biodiversity 2009
The City of Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada, is to be the proud host of the 2009 World Youth Symposium for Biodiversity. The focus of the event will be to: welcome students from around the world and to celebrate the work they are doing at home and in their communities; experience Canadian biodiversity using a full scale Bio-Blitz; and develop methods to implement the Global Youth’s Accord for Biodiversity. Mr Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, stated that: “Young people have a central place as bearers of tomorrow’s solutions. Their engagement is essential if we are to reduce the loss of biodiversity and ensure the future of life on Earth.” For more info, check out www.biodiversitymatters.org
A Celebration of Being Human
20th – 21st September
Plenty of free events to enjoy during this festival including a Creatively Positive Workshop with Tai Chi, Yoga, relaxation and drumming. Harmoniously Peaceful – a truly relaxing and uplifting music and dance event. Also Playful Positive with clowns frolics and fancy dress. All brought together with the world peace flame being paraded through the streets to a final ceremony and celebration of peace.
To book or get more information visit: www.positivityfestival.com or contact Paul on 086261656
The following is an excerpt from The Dalai Lama’s Book of Love & Compassion … “I feel that television and newspapers usually report negative things. Killings, for example, or unfortunate events are immediately reported. In the meantime, millions of people are actually receiving help, or being nourished or looked after by human affection, such as millions of children, sick and old people. But usually in people’s minds these good things are taken for granted. They are not seen as something to which we should pay special attention. Actually, this shows that the very nature of humanity is compassion or affection. We simply ignore all the work of affection because it seems natural. But we are surprised at things like bloodshed; it shocks our minds because our nature is not of that kind.
Anyway, I think it is equally important to make a clear presentation to the human mind of the other, good, human qualities. … If we let hatred guide us then we can be so cruel and so destructive. But on the other hand, if we promote good human qualities, then wonderful actions and marvelous things can happen. Likewise, the media should show both sides. That is what I always feel.”
Luckily for us, its becoming more and more easy to access Positive News stories. On the internet alone, there’s at least a dozen decent positive news websites from all around the world, reporting on everything from Renewable Energy breakthroughs to Free Hugs campaigns.
Here’s a sample…
Chocolate Car’s Breakthrough Voyage
Andy Pag and John Grimshaw, traveled 5,280 miles from Poole in England to Timbuktu in Mali, using 454 gallons of fuel made from four tonnes of waste chocolate. It became the first carbon-negative voyage in the world. For more, check out http://www.positivenews.org.uk/
The Longest Walk
In San Francisco, California, on February 11 more than two hundred participants began the Longest Walk 2, a five month cross-country journey on foot to spread their message that all life is sacred. For more, check out http://www.positivenewsus.org/
Hugging phenomenon continues path across Asia
More and more people are exchanging hugs as a way of showing support to one another. For example, Korean students are now organizing their own hugging events to offer support after exams are completed and Naver, a Korean online portal has reported that literally thousands of people have joined an online hugging community. For more, check out http://www.only-positive-news.com/
Stay tuned for more Positive News Stories next issue. :)