Global Emotions, Poverty in Indonesia, and Bluefin Tuna Populations

Plus, vaccine manufacturing in Africa, homicides in Boston, clean energy in California and tree planting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Global Emotions, Poverty in Indonesia, and Bluefin Tuna Populations
Credit: Borgen Project

Good news for people

Global negative emotions drop for the first time in a decade 
This will come as a surprise to anyone with a regular news habit but Gallup's annual global survey of 146,000 people across 142 countries reports that in 2023 positive emotions reached their highest since the beginning of the pandemic, and negative emotions declined for the first time in a decade, with an uptick in people feeling more well-rested, experiencing more enjoyment, and smiling or laughing more. Among all age groups, young people were by far the best off, and Latin American and Southeast Asian countries topped the list of places where people report more daily positive emotions. Vox

Indonesia has lifted 3 million people out of poverty in a decade
Statistics Indonesia says that between March 2014 and March 2024, the number of people living in poverty decreased from 28.28 million to 25.22 million, representing an average annual reduction of about 300,000 individuals, primarily in rural regions. Poverty status is determined by the poverty line, which is the minimum income needed to meet both food and non-food needs. Antara

World leaders pledge to increase vaccine production in Africa
The $.1.1 billion project will fix COVID-era mistakes that left African countries, which import over 99% of their vaccines, with limited access to life-saving medicines: 'This initiative will support the sustainable growth of Africa’s manufacturing base and contribute to the African Union’s ambition to produce most vaccines required by African countries on the continent.' Al Jazeera

Ivory Coast receives first batch of malaria vaccines
The government announced the arrival of 656,600 doses of the R21/Matrix-M vaccine, which will be used to immunise 250,000 children under two years old. The vaccine will complement national efforts such as mosquito net distribution and insecticide spraying in malaria-prone areas that helped reduce malaria deaths from 3,222 in 2017 to 1,316 in 2020. WE News English

Boston records 78% reduction in homicides in just one year
The city has recorded just four homicides this year. This far surpasses the goal set by city leaders in 2023 to cut homicides by 20% in three years. Experts attribute the drop to a confluence of measures—including micro-targeting of locations and people, an increase in police funding, and community investment and outreach. NYT

The city had 70 homicides in 2010 and 56 in 2020; last year, there were 37. This year there have been just 4. Credit: Sophie Park/NYT

Healthcare gets a boost in Mali, Gambia, Armenia
In Mali, $100 million will fund improvements to reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, adolescent, and nutrition health services; in The Gambia, additional financing will aid in constructing more health facilities as part of a longer-term project to enhance the quality of essential health services; and Armenia is getting a $110 million boost to increase healthcare affordability for all citizens. 

Senegal gets $200 million to improve water and sanitation services
A new project funded by the World Bank is expected to benefit more than seven million people nationwide through its reforms, which include expanding collective sanitation services, promoting the use of treated wastewater for irrigation, and building resilience to flood and drought risks. World Bank

Digital transformation for 180 million Eastern and Southern Africans 
A new World Bank-funded programme aims to expand affordable, reliable, and high-quality internet access and improve digital knowledge for millions of people across the region. The first phase of the eight-year plan will give over 50 million people in Angola, the DRC, and Malawi access to new and improved broadband internet. World Bank

A Paris court case could mark a turning point in international justice
Since 1990, the total number of armed conflicts worldwide has seldom dropped below a hundred, but the world’s desire to prosecute those who commit war crimes has grown. Last year alone, the number of cases brought before national courts for international crimes rose by 33%. The latest high-profile case involves a French arrest warrant for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. CS Monitor

US sees lowest COVID-19 hospitalisations since pandemic onset
Remember when these numbers made the news?

Credit: Your Local Epidemiologist

If it bleeds, it leads

'What do most people not understand about the news media? I would say two things. First: The most important bias in news media is not left or right. It’s a bias toward negativity and catastrophe. Second: That while it would be convenient to blame the news media exclusively for this bad-news bias, the truth is that the audience is just about equally to blame.

'The news has never had better tools for understanding exactly what gets people to click on stories. That means what people see in the news is more responsive than ever to aggregate audience behaviour. If you hate the news, what you are hating is in part a collective reflection in the mirror.

'If you put these two facts together, you get something like this: The most important bias in the news media is the bias that news makers and news audiences share toward negativity and catastrophe.'

Derek Thompson

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Good news for the planet

Something approaching a miracle has been taking place in California this spring. Beginning in early March, for some portion of almost every day, a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower has been producing more than a hundred per cent of the state’s demand for electricity. . . . It’s taken years of construction—and solid political leadership in Sacramento—to slowly build this wave, but all of a sudden it’s cresting into view. California has the fifth-largest economy in the world and, in the course of a few months, the state has proved that it’s possible to run a thriving modern economy on clean energy.
Bill McKibben in The New Yorker

Pacific bluefin tuna rebounds a decade ahead of schedule
The species has exceeded international targets—reversing decades of overfishing—thanks to significant international cooperation between fisheries and scientists. Efforts to rebuild the stock started in 2011, after the population hit near-historic lows, but it has rebounded much faster than expected. 'This is an amazingly resilient fish, and the new assessment is showing us that.' NOAA Fisheries

More protected land in the Amazon than officially recorded
A new study revealed that over 40% of land across nine Amazonian countries is under some form of conservation management, significantly higher than the 28% officially recorded. In the Amazon rainforest itself, 62.4% of land is under some sort of conservation—with Indigenous territories accounting for 16%, achieving notable gains in areas where they have been granted robust land rights. Mongabay

World’s first Indigenous-led ‘blue park’
The Gitdisdzu Lugyeks Marine Protected Area on the coast of British Columbia has been designated a ‘blue park’ for its excellence in marine protection. The Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation established the protected area under its own jurisdiction, proving that a 'little community' was able to create this protected area and is on the path to regenerating the area. The Narwhal

Gitdisdzu Lugyeks (Kitasu Bay) supports wildlife like seals and anemones, herring, groundfish, seabirds, eelgrass, and whales. Credit: Moonfish Media/Kitasoo Xai’xais Stewardship Authority

Nigeria to ban single-use plastics
A nationwide ban on single-use plastics—including straws, cutlery, plastic bottles, and small water sachets—will begin January 2025. The country, which generates over 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, is also drafting a new policy to phase out plastics, with producers expected to shift to alternatives within five years. Reuters

New funding to save America’s most at-risk species
The funds will support conservation projects in 19 states and Guam to conserve 23,000 acres of habitat for 80 listed and at-risk species, including the Indiana bat, wood stork, gopher tortoise, Oregon silverspot butterfly, and Everglade snail kite. The $48 million in grants will be matched by more than $27 million in partner funds. US Fish & Wildlife Service

Colombia has a new national park
Spanning 68,180 hectares—an area nearly four times the size of Washington, D.C.—the National Natural Park Serranía de Manacacías safeguards a vital wildlife corridor that connects the Orinoquía, the second-largest tropical savanna in the continent, to the Amazon. The park includes six unique ecosystems and is home to a quarter of all the bird species known to live in Colombia. The Nature Conservancy 

Protected lands in New Mexico have been expanded
The acquisition of approximately 3,700 acres of land adjacent to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument will secure vital wildlife habitats, increase public access, and stop development around the park’s boundaries. The expansion is part of a two-decade commitment to preserve New Mexico’s natural and cultural heritage. Trust for Public Land

Conservation and economic development go hand-in-hand
A global analysis of more than 10,000 protected areas has revealed that simultaneous progress in conservation and economic development has occurred in about half of all sites. "Conservation does not happen in a silo. We must consider local development alongside biodiversity conservation to know where and how to protect areas to benefit both the environment and humans." Anthropocene

DRC’s 1 billion trees program achieves 90% of target
From 2019 through 2023, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) planted almost 895 million trees, covering just under 700,000 hectares across 22 provinces, as part of a government programme known as ‘School Garden: 1 billion trees by 2023.’ The programme aimed to strengthen climate resilience and alleviate poverty in a country that loses 500,000 hectares of forest cover each year. Mongabay

Planting acacias near Yanonge, DRC. Credit: Fiston Wasanga/CIFOR
More music for those who will listen

Peru has protected 6,449 hectares of an endemic fog oasis that hosts hundreds of rare and threatened species. The largest salt marsh restoration in the northeast United States is underway in Massachusetts to bring back the Cape Cod river herring. In Maine, rehabilitation will begin on the Penobscot River after a decades-long legal battle. White-tailed eagles are nesting in Belgium for the first time in 500 years. Rewilding in Scotland has created a >400% increase in jobs at rewilding sites. A coalition of organisations is working to restore mangroves in the Greater Florianópolis area on Brazil’s southern Atlantic coast. Atlantic salmon are spawning in the upper waters of the River Derwent for the first time in a century. The incredible ‘second life’ of shipwrecks creating habitats for diverse communities of underwater life. How the Netherlands is leading the shift to a circular economy, with 27.5% of the country’s material resources now coming from recycled waste. European multinationals pull out of an enormous Indonesian nickel mining project amidst concerns it would impact one of the world’s last Indigenous tribes living in voluntary isolation. Developers of the new Babanango Game Reserve in South Africa seem to have made a good start.

The reserve provides sanctuary to endangered species such as the black rhino. Credit: Angus Burns/WWF

That's all for this edition, thanks for reading! We've got a charity partner announcement coming next week, we can't wait to share it with you.

With love,

Gus and Amy

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