It may be fair to say that 2022 wasn’t everyone’s favourite year, should you be forced to choose.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t kick off 2023 with a glass half-full by taking motivation from these recent positive news stories.
Uplifting news stories are everywhere when you look for them, so it’s important not to let the stream of worrisome affairs that is usually reported to us get in the way of acknowledging some of the good in the world.
From the UK’s forgotten rainforests to the speedy recovery of the ozone, read on to experience three positive news stories from recent weeks.
1. UK trial of a four-day working week proves highly successful
Employees across the UK could eventually find themselves working reduced hours as part of a four-day week.
This comes after a trial of the scheme yielded positive results that saw 100 UK companies sign up for a permanent enrolment of the reduced week – totalling some 2,600 staff, as the Guardian reports.
The study hoped to reveal a conclusive answer as to whether a four-day week with no loss of pay boosts workers’ productivity, while also benefiting their personal wellness.
And it seems this may have been confirmed.
It’s believed the trial’s success could mark a significant shift in the way the country views employment – and likely a positive one at that.
Adam Ross, chief executive of global marketing company Awin – one of the biggest companies to sign up for the initiative – commented on the trial saying how the four-day week was, “one of the most transformative initiatives we’ve seen in the history of the company”.
In addition to this, the Guardian reported the results of a similar study being conducted by the Autonomous think tank, dubbed as “the world’s biggest four-day week trial”. This research found that 88% of companies taking part said the initiative was working “well” for their business at that stage of the trial.
According to the report, the services sector has seen the greatest level of uptake with companies focused on technology, events, and marketing among them.
With some historians comparing this movement to the 19th century campaign for a two-day weekend, those hoping for the wider adoption of the four-day week could find themselves in luck in the coming years.
2. The Earth’s ozone layer could recover in as little as 40 years’ time
Positive news regarding the planet’s environmental health often seems hard to come by these days, making it all the more important to share such stories when they occur.
One excellent example of this is the recent discovery showing that the Earth’s ozone layer could be fully restored within 40 years, as documented by the UN’s 2022 assessment of the depletion.
In a nutshell, the ozone layer is comprised of different natural atmospheric gases that protect our planet from the sun’s ultraviolet rays that threaten to heat the Earth to uninhabitable levels.
It was only as recent as the 1970s when scientists discovered that the use of harmful “chlorofluorocarbons” in some solvents and refrigerants was eroding our planet’s natural protection from the sun.
This brought about the Montreal protocol in 1989 which initiated a global agreement to phase out the use of these products.
Since then, the Earth has been re-establishing its ozone layer, little by little.
So, the UN’s announcement that the ozone layer could recover in as little as four decades should come as a great achievement to all of humanity, since profound individual and communal efforts have likely been instrumental in delivering this incredible feat.
3. Britain’s lost rainforests get a second chance, thanks to Aviva
You may be surprised to learn that, despite its famously frigid climate, Britain too once had rainforests growing in abundance along its Atlantic coast.
While it’s not the first image that will come to mind when you think of the UK, hundreds of years ago, temperate rainforests were sprawled all along the island’s western coastlines.
Specifically, areas of western Scotland and Wales, the Lake District, and south-western England had coastal rainforests aplenty.
According to the Guardian, in the present day, they unfortunately now only make up a sombre 1% of the land.
Despite this, the fate of Britain’s rainforests suddenly looks a lot brighter, thanks to a £38 million donation from the insurance company, Aviva.
It’s hoped that, by contributing such a significant amount of resources to the cause, the special wooded areas will be better maintained in order to provide a beautiful natural environment for locals while draining harmful carbon dioxide from the air.
This comes as part of a greater £100 million programme to revive the UK and Ireland’s natural world. By doing so, and as mentioned on the Aviva website, the company aims to remove a staggering total of 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, equivalent to a single person taking 740,000 transatlantic flights.
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