The US hit record numbers for non-carbon energy

People are working to find cleaner energy sources around the world and move away from non-renewable sources like gas and coal. And, with that in mind, we just hit a milestone in the United States. 

The US broke a record where 40% of its energy and electricity comes from carbon-free sources. The US has increased its carbon-free power usage nearly every year since 1990. 

The energy sources are vast but mostly renewable, ranging from nuclear plants, hydroelectric dams, solar, and wind. Most of the growth has come from the rapid expansion of solar and wind energy while nuclear and hydroelectric power has remained relatively stagnant. 

2022 also saw a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles Americans purchased, making up 7.1% of all new cars sold in the United States. The total number of electric vehicles in the country is just shy of 1 million now.

“Despite high inflation and supply chain issues and interconnection backlogs, we still saw pretty amazing growth in the capacity of wind and especially solar, despite a challenging business environment,” said Harrison Fell, a professor of resource and energy economics at North Carolina State University. 

In coming years we should see even more rapid clean energy growth thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act which provided billions to help the US switch to clean energy.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Affordable and Clean Energy


Dunelm champions pre-loved homeware

Dunelm has partnered with Hubbub, an environmental organisation, to launch a homeware reuse initiative.

Tell me more.

Waste comes in all forms – it isn’t just empty food packets and broken electronics. Homeware that is thrown away, rather than being recycled or reused, is a big issue too.

That’s why Dunelm and Hubbub have created the ‘Home to Home’ initiative, which will see Dunelm stores collaborating with local community groups. The goal is to redistribute as many pre-loved homeware items as possible – so less waste is created, and more money is saved.

How does it work?

Dunelm is encouraging customers to bring pre-loved items into the store so that they can be sorted and redistributed back into the community. Additionally, Dunelm will be contributing its own ex-display items, samples, and other products that are needed by its community partners.

Partners include Emmaus, a charity that supports people who are homeless, The Bread and Butter Thing, which focuses on food security, and Julian House, which supports people who are living in temporary accommodation.

If you want to get involved, head down to your local Dunelm and ask about their Home to Home initiative.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.


UK hits women in business milestone

Women are in boardroom roles across 40% of the UK’s biggest firms – for the first time ever.

Wow! Tell me more.

This is according to analytics that suggests only 10 of the UK’s 350 largest listed companies remain with all-male executive teams. A huge win for gender equality, and helping women to succeed in the workplace.

The companies in question are the FTSE 350 companies, of which 152 of the FTSE 350 Boards had no women on them at all just a decade ago.

Sorry – FTSE?

Financial Times Stock Exchange – so the FTSE 350 are the top 350 biggest companies, according to the Financial Times Stock Exchange.

In terms of the boardroom, the FTSE 350 aimed to have 40% of their companies with women on the board by 2025. The statistic revealed today shows that we hit that milestone two years early, which is amazing.

Where do we go from here?

From her, the next goal is to have 40% women in FTSE 350 Leadership teams before 2025 – which just means we need more women in leadership roles across these businesses.

The great news is, we’re on track to meet this goal too – so we can be sure that momentum is on our side.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Gender Equality.


States tackle college costs by creating saving accounts for kids

College continues to become more expensive in the United States. To help people pay for college in the future, some communities are starting programs to provide college funding much earlier in life.

One such program is CalKids in California, which will automatically set up college savings accounts with initial deposits of up to $100 for every baby born in California on or after July 1, 2022.

In addition, it will make a deposit up to $1,500 for each of the 3.4 million low-income public school students in first through 12th grade.

“The message from the state of California is: Not only do you matter, but every child deserves the right to pursue higher education in the state of California,” Julio Martinez, executive director of ScholarShare Investment Board, which oversees California’s ScholarShare 529 program, said.

“We are trying to create a college-going culture that is inclusive to all in a manner that is equitable, especially for the underserved and underrepresented in higher education.” 

Even affluent families are beginning to struggle to pay for college and programs like CalKids are offering opportunities to be able to afford college without much trouble.

There are a handful of organizations helping people afford college, if you’re interested in supporting one check out We Will All Rise.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.


Dogs sniff out endangered animals

Two very special dogs are helping save endangered Pangolins.

Tell me more.

Pangolins are small, adorable, animals, that are covered in scales. You probably know them as the animals that curl up in a ball when they feel scared or threatened.

They are incredibly rare animals that have been hunted for generations. Many people believe their scales have medicinal properties, but excessive hunting has left them endangered.

How are dogs helping them?

Two lovely labradors Buster and Bess have just graduated from a training programme with the police. They will be flying out to Thailand in April, to help sniff out animals, just like the endangered pangolin.

Pangolins, and other endangered animals, are often smuggled out of their native countries – and Buster and Bess are just the crack team to stop them.

They even had special training at the London Zoo, and will now make their way to Thailand where they will patrol roads, airports and ports to prevent animal smugglers from taking these precious animals out of the country.

If you want to help endangered animals like Buster and Bess, you can do so by supporting the charity United for Wildlife.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life on Land.


Easter egg drive ensures no children go without

Just like Christmas, Easter is a time millions of kids all over the world get excited about the sweet treats bought to them by the Easter bunny (or their parents).

But not all children get that excitement. One UK business is trying to change that.

Tell me more.

11 Access Self Storage stores across the UK are urging their local communities to donate Easter Eggs in store for local charities. 

The company’s annual Easter Egg drive has seen more than 8000 chocolate eggs given to dozens of charities since it launched in 2011.

The Easter eggs go to benefit the stores’ local nominated charities so that everyone gets some chocolatey goodness this Easter.

The charities benefiting from this drive are The Children’s Adventure Farm, St George’s Hospital, The Hackney Food Bank, Victoria Drive Primary Pupil Referral Unit, The Salvation Army, Brent Foodbank, and Kids Can Achieve.

How can people get involved?

Staff have started collecting eggs and people are invited to bring donations into the stores until 31st March, ahead of the charity collection and distribution in time for Easter itself.

If you want to get involved, contact your local Access Self Storage for more information.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


NBA Star Giannis Antetokounpo donates $1m to mental health services

Basketball superstar and Milwaukee Buck, Giannis Antetokounpo, has made headlines for a donation to help improve mental health services in the city of Milwaukee.

The donation will be $1 million according to the Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation.

Giannis appeared on the Daily Show in Feb 2023 and spoke about the foundation and the work they do, named in honor of his father. 

“We decided as a family to come together and build this foundation to basically just do what people did for us,” he said. “… Put our hand out there and give them an opportunity to be great and whatever they decide to do. Help them, be that step for them to go out there and accomplish their dreams. The same way I did.”

Giannis has spoken out in support of mental health causes in the past and even brought up his own struggles with mental health. Now he’s doing what he can to help make a difference for people struggling in similar ways. 

Coming from a struggling family in the streets of Athens, the NBA superstar now wants to give back and help in a way that so many people did for his family.

“Our journey is proof that investing in others can unlock the potential inside every person—no matter where they start out or what difficulties they face,” the foundation writes.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.


Dave Grohl helps feed the homeless with little fanfare

Celebs want to make a difference in the world, too – sometimes with little to no spotlight on them. This is one of those times. 

Foo Fighters frontman and rock legend Dave Grohl was spotted helping cook food for the less fortunate at an LA shelter.

Bringing his own smoker, and meat, and handling all expenses Grohl spent 24 hours cooking meat for the Hope the Mission.

The US-based nonprofit has a mission to prevent, reduce and eliminate poverty, hunger and homelessness. They do this by offering immediate assistance and long-term solutions – from food to housing.

“He arrived around 3 in the afternoon, and then he was in our kitchen,” Mission Director of Development, Grace Ancheta, told Today. “He was prepping the meat, he was cutting it up and he was there until he put it in the smoker.”

Grohl ended up helping make 450 dinners to support the homeless population in the area. 

“He wanted no glory for it,” Ancheta said. “He was like, ‘I just want to do this for you guys and give back in that way.’”

Find out more about Hope the Mission and support them.

This article aligns with the UN SDG No Poverty.


Danish Police spend time gaming to help teens

Danish Police have a team who spend their days gaming… all to help others.

Sorry, what?

That’s right – Denmark has a crack team dedicated to gaming online with teens and young people.

While this might sound like a questionable use of taxpayer funds, in actuality, they have a very important job – keeping kids safe online.

Tell me more.

Since April 2022, the Politiets Online Patrulje (Police Online Patrol) spend their days playing games like Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Minecraft, which all have the option to connect, chat and play with strangers. 

They even have a Twitch – a popular streaming platform for gamers – as well as a Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube channel. They’re also pretty popular on TikTok!

So what do they actually do?

They keep an eye out for things like fraud and hate speech, as well as more sinister things like those who might be targeting children for grooming.

One thing’s for sure, people are certainly safer with these guys on the job – and if you’re looking for a giggle, check out their TikTok!

If you want to support keeping people safe online, get involved with the UK Safer Internet Centre.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


How Arizona is still finding ways to grow – despite water crisis

Arizona is one of the quickest-growing states in the country. Its capital, Phoenix, has blossomed into the fifth most populated city in the US and all that is despite being a massive dry and arid state with deserts everywhere and a concerning water supply. 

West of Phoenix is a small farming town called Buckeye that is being touted as one of the fastest growing towns in the country, starting with a population of 6,500 in 2000 to the north of 111,000 today.

All of this, despite the fact that Arizona is the driest its been in 1,200 years. Currently, amid a 23-year-long megadrought Arizona officials are getting creative with how to use the water, they do have while helping promote the state’s continuous growth. 

Arizona has some of the lowest priority rights to the river water of any of the seven basin states. So Phoenix and its suburbs are increasingly turning to groundwater as the state has endured big cuts to Colorado River water.

While the state released a report about the use of water and how they may be running a little lower than expected many town officials welcomed the news saying that a detailed report helps them plan the cities better and more efficiently.

“I don’t think we want to shut off all of the growth trying to figure out the solution for all the growth, “ Buckeye Mayor Eric Orbsorn says. “We can do this in an incremental approach.”

This is a part of a wider trend, specifically in states like Arizona and to the west, California where states are having to find creative ways to save water while still promoting positive growth in their communities. 

If this is something you’re passionate about consider donating to some organizations like to help bring potable water to developing countries.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.