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Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel surprises Otis College graduates by paying off over $10 million in student loan debt
17 May 2022 - The 285 graduates of the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles received an extra special graduation gift Sunday [15 May] when Evan Spiegel, Snap CEO and co-founder, and his wife Miranda Kerr, founder of beauty brand KORA Organics, announced they will pay off all of the Class of 2022's student loan debt through a donation to the school. While the amount of Spiegel and Kerr's donation was not disclosed, the college said it's the largest single gift it has ever received, surpassing the previous $10 million record. (more)

Nigerian entrepreneur builds electric mini-buses in clean energy push
16 May 2022 - Nigerian entrepreneur Mustapha Gajibo has been converting petrol mini-buses into electric vehicles at his workshop, but he is now going a step further to build solar battery-powered buses from scratch in a push to promote clean energy and curb pollution. At his workshop, he has already stripped combustion engines from 10 mini-buses, powering them with solar batteries. The buses, which have been operating for just over a month, cover a distance of 100 km on a single charge, he said. (more)

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel pays off all student loans for new Otis College graduates
16 May 2022 - Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is playing his part to solve the student loan debt crisis. Spiegel, who co-founded Snapchat, and his wife Miranda Kerr, the CEO of beauty brand KORA Organics, will pay off all student loans for the Class of 2022 from Otis College of Art and Design. Spiegel and Kerr made the donation, [the amount of] which was not disclosed but is reportedly more than $10 million, through the Spiegel Family Fund. Spiegel attended classes at Otis during high school before enrolling at Stanford. (more)

A nonspeaking valedictorian with autism shares her voice in commencement address
15 May 2022 - Rollins College valedictorian Elizabeth Bonker, who has nonspeaking autism, delivered an address at her school's recent commencement ceremony in Winter Park, Florida. Bonker was one of five graduating students to earn a 4.0 GPA, and Rollins College said her fellow valedictorians unanimously chose her to address their fellow graduates. (more)

Bee-utiful: RHS pollinator garden is bloomin' marvel at Chelsea Flower Show
14 May 2022 - A garden to help bees bloom will be the centerpiece of this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The BBC Studios Our Green Planet and RHS Bee Garden is designed by Joe Swift and features the silhouette of a bee wing surrounded by examples of the RHS's Plants for Pollinators including Sweet Rocket, Geraniums, and mud for bees to make nests with. 'I hope this garden both inspires and shows everyone just how easy it is to consider pollinators whilst making your garden a more beautiful space too, a win-win!' (more)

Google gets more multilingual
13 May 2022 - About 10 million people speak Quechua, but trying to automatically translate emails and text messages into the most widely spoken Indigenous language family in the Americas was long all but impossible. That changed on Wednesday, when Google added Quechua and a variety of other languages to its digital translation service. (more)

Supermassive black hole at centre of Milky Way seen for first time
12 May 2022 - An image of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way has been captured, giving the first direct glimpse of the 'gentle giant' at the center of our galaxy. The image was captured by the Event Horizon telescope (EHT), a network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations from Antarctica to Spain and Chile, which produced the first image of a black hole in a galaxy called Messier 87 in 2019. (more)

Astronomers capture 1st image of Milky Way's huge black hole
12 May 2022 - The world's first image of the chaotic supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy doesn't portray a voracious cosmic destroyer but what astronomers Thursday [12 May] called a 'gentle giant' on a near-starvation diet. The colorized image unveiled Thursday is from an international consortium behind the Event Horizon Telescope, a collection of eight synchronized radio telescopes around the world. (more)

First image of supermassive black hole at the center of Milky Way galaxy revealed
12 May 2022 - For the first time, astronomers have captured an image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. The black hole is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth. The results of this groundbreaking discovery were published Thursday 912 May0 in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. It has taken five years for astronomers to capture and confirm this image and discovery. Previously, scientists observed stars orbiting some invisible, massive object at the galactic center. (more)

This is the first image of the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way
12 May 2022 - For years, the supermassive black hole in the dark center of the Milky Way galaxy has been theorized about and studied -- and finally, it's been captured in an image. (more)

Wales remains top UK recycler for over 10 years
11 May 2022 - Wales was the only UK nation to keep up its recycling rate during the pandemic and has now outperformed the other nations for at least 10 years running. It is aiming for a 70 percent recycling rate by 2024-2025. (more)

US: Maine passes first PFAS biosolids ban, taking stand against forever chemicals
10 May 2022 - Maine has become the first state to ban fertilizer using sewage sludge containing 'forever chemicals' -- synthetic compounds found in items from food wrappers to carpeting that fail to break down in the environment. The move, along with a ban approved last year on all PFAS-containing products, puts Maine at the forefront of the fight against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer and high cholesterol. (more)

A story of 90,000 trees: how Kenya's Kipsigis brought a forest back to life
9 May 2022 - Indigenous trees were being lost, and a way of life with it. So local villagers decided to replant their historic woodland. (more)

US: New England governors approve transformative laws on 'forever chemicals'
9 May 2022 - The governors of two New England states have approved key pieces of legislation that transform their relationships with cancer-linked 'forever chemicals' -- by restricting their use on Maine farmland and facilitating treatment avenues for toxic exposure in Vermont. (more)

US: Anonymous donor pays tab for East Texas college graduates
8 May 2022 - Students graduating from a historically Black college in East Texas were told at their commencement ceremony that an anonymous donor had paid their balances, officials said. Wiley College said in a news release that over 100 students were gathered for graduation Saturday [7 May] when the school's president made the announcement. The college said in the news release that the estimated total for the balances owed to the college by the graduating class of 2022 was about $300,000. (more)

In Mexico, a divine bird inspires a community's sustainable forestry efforts
7 May 2022 - The communally managed forest of Nuevo Becal in Mexico's Campeche state has shown that forest management can improve both quality of life and the conservation of wild animals and their habitats. The community has dedicated 427 hectares (1,055 acres) of its land as a sanctuary for one of the most impressive birds of prey in the Americas: the king vulture. They've also set aside more than 99 percent of their territory as a voluntarily conserved area, the largest of its kind in Mexico. (more)

Pakistan bus network gives women a ticket to work and study
7 May 2022 - Thanks to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the northwestern city of Peshawar, 23-year-old Jabeen said she had been able to continue her master's degree -- keeping alive her dreams of becoming a botanist. Launched in 2020, the BRT has proved hugely popular among women in the ultra-conservative city. in Peshawar, a quarter of seats are reserved for women on the fleet of diesel-electric hybrid buses, which are equipped with CCTV cameras, guards, and have well-lit stations, making female passengers feel more at ease. (more)

US: After a 100 year absence, California condors are released back into the Northern Redwoods
7 May 2022 - The critically endangered California condor has been absent from Northern California redwood forests for over a century -- until Tuesday [3 May], when the Yurok Tribe and Redwood National and State Parks reintroduced two birds to the woodland area, the culmination of a 15-year reintroduction project. California condors have been out of Northern California's redwoods since 1892, according to a statement from the Yurok Tribe, California's largest Native American tribe. (more)

Growing African mangrove forests aim to combat climate woes
6 May 2022 - In a bid to protect coastal communities from climate change and encourage investment, African nations are increasingly turning to mangrove restoration projects, with Mozambique becoming the latest addition to the growing list of countries with large scale mangrove initiatives. Mozambique follows efforts across the continent -- including in Kenya, Madagascar, Gambia, and Senegal -- and is touted as the world's largest coastal or marine ecosystem carbon storage project. (more)

US: Caltech breaks ground on sustainability research center
5 May 2022 - The California Institute of Technology has broken ground on an environmental sustainability research center that will pursue solutions to challenges including water, energy, food, and waste. Wednesday's groundbreaking for the Resnick Sustainability Center, attended by Governor Gavin Newsom, was made possible by a $750 million gift from Stewart and Lynda Resnick in 2019. (more)

US: Stanford University gets $1B for climate change school from John Doerr
4 May 2022 - Stanford University will launch a new school focusing on climate change thanks to a $1.1 billion gift from billionaire venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife, Ann, the university announced Tuesday [3 May]. The gift, one of the largest single donations to an American institute of higher education, will open the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability this fall. The school combines several existing Stanford departments and institutes and will hire dozens of new faculty members over a decade, as well as establish an accelerator to provide grants for new projects. (more)

Condors soar again over Northern California coastal redwoods
3 May 2022 - The endangered California condor returned to soar the skies over the state's far northern coast redwood forests on Tuesday [3 May] for the first time in more than a century. Two captive-bred birds were released from a pen in Redwood National Park under a project aimed at restoring the giant vultures to their historic habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Condors were last spotted in the park area around 1892, authorities said. The California condor is the largest native North American bird, with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet (3 meters). (more)

Germany, India sign $10.5B green development deal
2 May 2022 - Germany and India signed a series of bilateral agreements Monday [2 May] focused on sustainable development that will see the South Asian nation receive 10 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in aid by 2030 to boost the use of clean energy. The accords were signed during a visit to Berlin by India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. (more)

US: A community of seed savers wants to preserve and revive rare varieties of collard greens
1 May 2022 - There was once a kaleidoscope of diversity in collards in the United Staes, as people diligently collected and replanted seeds, passing them from one generation to the next to preserve the qualities they found most important. Collards -- an inexpensive, nutrient-rich vegetable -- became a staple for many Southern families, especially African Americans trying to feed their families healthy food year-round. Now a group of seed savers, farmers, activists, and academics, known collectively as the Heirloom Collard Project, want to preserve and reintroduce people to rarer collard varieties and connect with older seed stewards before their stories are lost to time. (more)

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