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Pandemic hobby grows into plan for Africa's largest photography library
25 November 2021 - Since the pandemic forced many U.S. bookshops to close or slash prices, Ghanaian New Yorker Paul Ninson has amassed 30,000 African photo books for a library he hopes will inspire the next generation of photographers back home. Ninson estimates that he now owns the world's largest collection of books with images taken in Africa or by photographers of African descent. Thanks to a $1 million crowdfunding windfall, he has already started shipping the trove to West Africa. (more)

Kongthong: The Indian village where your name is a song
24 November 2021 - Nestled amidst the verdant East Khasi Hills in the state of Meghalaya in India's remote north-east, the village of Kongthong is only accessible by a three-hour drive from the state capital, Shillong. The village is surrounded by magnificent high ridges and dizzyingly deep gorges. It's also home to a unique tradition called jingrwai iawbei, which has been flourishing here for centuries. According to this tradition, each newborn in Kongthong is assigned both a regular name and a distinct melodious tune at birth by their mother. (more)

'The woods next door': U.S. community forests take root
23 November 2021 - The U.S. is seeing a growing trend in green spaces governed by local residents, bringing conservation, educational benefits, and income to urban and rural communities. ... Forests owned by counties and towns in certain parts of the country have played vital roles for years, [Shelby Semmes, a director with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land] said, but the idea started gathering steam when the U.S. Forest Service program launched its community forest grants in 2012. (more)

Former petroleum engineer succeeds with organic farming in central Vietnam
23 November 2021 - A former petroleum engineer left the oil rigs in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam in 2014 to pursue his farming passion. Now [Nguyen Van Nhan] is throwing himself into the fields in Quang Nam Province, located in the central part of the country. He makes a good living for himself, has a natural setting for his children, and hopes to spread his method to fellow farmers. (more)

Gujarat: Dangs to be declared organic farming district
23 November 2021 - The tribal district of Dangs in Gujarat will formally be declared an organic farming district on November 19, state agriculture minister Raghavji Patel said Tuesday [16 November]. 'In entire western India, Dangs district will be the first to be formally declared as an organic district on November 19 by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat,' the minister said. (more)

US: Iowa Organic Conference starts Sunday in Iowa City
23 November 2021 - The 21st annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held starting Sunday [28 November] at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Producers and experts from across the country will share tips for transitioning into organic production and methods to enhance organic operations. The conference is a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. (more)

Organic farmers find fertile ground in North Africa
22 November 2021 - Proudly displaying her freshly picked pomegranates, Tunisian farmer Sarah Shili says going organic is 'the future of farming' -- and as demand surges in North Africa and beyond, the sector is blooming. Despite the challenges, the [organic farming] sector has surged in Tunisia since the turn of the millennium. In 2001, just 16,000 hectares were dedicated to organic farming -- a figure that has multiplied 20-fold over two decades. (more)

Couple answers loneliness with organized walks and games in London - and hundreds show up
22 November 2021 - Jake Williams and Charlotte Sinclair started Talk the Walk, which seeks to promote people getting together, exploring London on foot, and getting to know each other. The number one mission was to have fun -- even if only a few people showed up for the free events. That's what they expected when they started in September on Meetup.com. Suddenly they were getting hundreds of people RSVPing with enthusiasm. (more)

India: Venkaiah Naidu stresses need for organic farming
21 November 2021 - Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the Dr. I.V. Subba Rao Rythu Nestham Awards to 42 farmers and agricultural scientists, and journalists at a program jointly organized by the Muppavarapu Foundation and the Rythu Nestham Foundation, at the Swarna Bharat Trust here on Saturday[30 October]. On the occasion, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said the farmers had achieved impressive yields in spite of the prevalence of COVID-19, for which the nation would never forget them. ... He called upon the farmers to cut down on the usage of chemical fertilizers to the extent possible and see that agriculture was climate-friendly. (more)

Technology and tradition team up to watch over a sacred island's sea turtles
21 November 2021 - Uninhabited Poilao Island in Guinea-Bissau is Africa's most important nesting ground for green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). Local people have long regarded the island as sacred and have limited access to it, which has kept its environment in a near-pristine state. (more)

Canada: Ontario's most northern First Nation goes green with their first solar project
20 November 2021 - Nestled on the shores of Hudson Bay, the most northern First Nation in Ontario has taken a big step toward energy independence. Fort Severn powered up its 300-kilowatt solar system earlier this month, a project that will help the First Nation begin its transition off diesel fuel and generate money for the community. As a First Nation that is directly affected by the rapidly changing northern environment, Chief Paul Burke says Fort Severn is doing its part to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. (more)

How Morocco went big on solar energy
20 November 2021 - Morocco has become famous for its vast, world-leading solar arrays. ... The country has been praised for using money saved from fossil fuel subsidies to increase funds for education and to implement a health insurance scheme. (more)

Americans are almost twice as likely to be satisfied with their lives if they give back
20 November 2021 - 90 percent of Americans in a new survey have contributed to a charity and feel better about themselves when they actively give back. That's according to a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted by OnePoll ahead of Giving Tuesday. (more)

No humpback whales off Seattle coast 25 years ago, but now 500 return with record number of calves
20 November 2021 - A record number of calves have been recorded in the Salish Sea [an inland sea that encompasses Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and the waters off of Vancouver, British Columbia] this season, marking a significant rebound for a species that was endangered just 25 years ago. As to the cause of this year's baby boom, Erin Gless, Executive Director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, can only speculate. Humpbacks have also bounced back in the South Atlantic. (more)

Hawks, doves, and kotuku: how Maori culture is changing New Zealand's central bank
19 November 2021 - Over the past few years, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has undergone an overhaul that puts the country's Maori heritage and language at the center of its operations. The RBNZ's new stylized logo is inspired by the legend of Tane Mahuta, the Maori god of the forest, and builds on the narrative of RBNZ as a giant tree that serves as 'kaitiaki', or guardian, of the financial system. (more)

New Zealand: Lorde dropped a surprise mini-album of 'Solar Power' tracks in the Maori language
19 November 2021 - The New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde has dropped a surprise EP of five tracks from her 'Solar Power' album, re-recorded in the indigenous Maori language. The EP is called 'Te Ao Marama,' meaning 'world of light.' Its release comes just weeks after that of Lorde's latest studio album and days ahead of New Zealand's Maori Language Week [13th to the 19th September 2021]. (more)

US: This Colorado 'solar garden' is literally a farm under solar panels
19 November 2021 - When Byron Kominek returned home after the Peace Corps and later working as a diplomat in Africa, his family's 24-acre farm near Boulder, Colorado, was struggling to turn a profit. According to National Renewable Energy Lab, upwards of two million acres of American farmland could be converted to solar in the next decade. But what if it didn't have to be an either or proposition? What if solar panels and farming could literally co-exist, if not even help one another. (more)

Apple will soon sell you parts and tools to fix your own iPhone or Mac at home
19 November 2021 - Apple customers who want to fix their own devices will soon have access to the necessary parts and tools as part of a new self-service repair program. The program builds on Apple's efforts to expand access to repairs over the past several years, the company said in a Wednesday [17 November] statement. It also comes as a growing number of states introduce 'Right to Repair' legislation that aims to make it easier for people to fix their own products, citing financial and environmental benefits. (more)

After record low, monarch butterflies return to California
18 November 2021 - There is a ray of hope for the vanishing orange-and-black Western monarch butterflies. The number wintering along California's central coast is bouncing back after the population, whose presence is often a good indicator of ecosystem health, reached an all-time low last year. (more)

US: Contrary to popular belief, no great migration in pandemic
18 November 2021 - Contrary to popular belief, there has been no great migration in the U.S. during the pandemic. New figures released Wednesday [17 November] by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the proportion of people who moved over the past year fell to its lowest level in the 73 years that it has been tracked, in contradiction to popular anecdotes that people left cities en masse to escape COVID-19 restrictions or in search of more bucolic lifestyles. (more)

The ingenious living bridges of India
17 November 2021 - When monsoon clouds bring pelting rains to the village of Tyrna, Shailinda Syiemlieh takes the nearest bridge to reach the opposite bank of a gushing stream. The bridge is no ordinary structure made of concrete and metal. Instead, it is composed of a single giant fig tree that sits by the riverbank, and the support that Syiemlieh walks over is a mishmash of aerial roots tightly knotted and woven together. The bridge is not only a part of the landscape, it is helping to support its ecosystem at the same time. For centuries, indigenous groups in north-east India have crafted intricate bridges from living fig trees. Now this ancient skill is making its way to European cities. (more)

UK: Hospital to go fully solar-powered in NHS trust green drive
17 November 2021 - A hospital in East Yorkshire is due to be powered entirely by solar energy as part of plans for a trust to be carbon neutral by 2030. Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust's plans include an 11,000-panel solar farm capable of supplying all electricity for Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham. (more)

A teenager was accidentally invited to a grandma's Thanksgiving dinner. Six years later, he's still going back
17 November 2021 - Wanda Dench's 2016 text about Thanksgiving dinner at her home in Mesa, Arizona, was intended for her grandson. But she messaged the wrong number, and Jamal Hinton -- then a student at Desert Vista high school -- responded instead. The text exchange ignited a fast friendship between Dench and Hinton, who have now made it a tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving together each year. (more)

15-tear-old inventor of solar-powered ironing cart speaks at COP26
16 November 2021 - In India, vendors travel around with iron boxes full of hot coals which they use to iron clothes. Concerned about the environmental effect of burning charcoal, Vinisha Umashankar went to work designing an innovative solution: a solar-powered ironing cart attached to a bicycle. She has since supplemented [her] accomplishments with a powerful five-minute speech at COP26, the UN's climate summit. (more)

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