Good News: Week 12

This week, heartwarming stories of humanity and hope from Japan, and a look back at when a city’s wealth was measured in flora and fauna. In food, six things to feel good about, the revenge of the veggie burger and how some parents are foregoing stores and hosting baby food swaps. An interview with sustainable fashion pioneer Norma Kamali and how banana peels could help in the struggle against contaminated water.

HUMANITY & HOPE: Memorable moments of hope in the midst of disaster.
Amidst the horror and heartbreak of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, some heartwarming stories have emerged of loyalty, love, and bravery. We saw it after 9/11, after Hurricane Katrina, after the 2005 tsunami, after the earthquake in Haiti, and we see it here. Despite the devastation, these people (and animals) remind us that heroism is not dead, love is a powerful motivator, hope is still alive, and people can be compassionate toward strangers.
Heroism and Hope: 7 Heartwarming Tsunami Stories
, by Andrea Newell, EcoSalon

HEALTH & WELLNESS: Banana peels could help in the struggle against contaminated water.
Brazilian researchers have found an unexpected helper in the struggle against contaminated drinking water: Bananas. In a new study, published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, minced banana peels were able to bind and accumulate trace amounts of lead and copper in river water, making the toxic metals 20 times easier to detect with crude equipment. The findings offer a new source of hope to people in developing countries, where water quality can be poor and the latest water-screening technologies hard to come by.
Slip a Banana Peel in Your Drink For Purity, by Emily Sohn, Discovery News

FOOD & WELLNESS: Six Things to Feel Good About
The great American writer, thinker and farmer Wendell Berry recently said, “You can’t be a critic by simply being a griper . . . One has also to . . . search out the examples of good work.” I’ve griped for weeks, and no doubt I’ll get back to it, but there are bright spots on our food landscape, hopeful trends, even movements, of which we can be proud. Here are six examples.
Food: Six Things to Feel Good About, by Mark Bittman, The New York Times

HEALTHY HABITAT: When New York City Bloomed
When you stand in the middle of Times Square, it is easy to forget that the colonists settled in New York City because of its bounty of natural resources. Before there were skyscrapers and restaurants, the city’s wealth was measured in flora and fauna. Early Dutch sailors were disoriented by the scent of wildflowers wafting out to sea from Manhattan. [—] Here is a selection of plants that have vanished from the city. Some thrive elsewhere; others are barely hanging on. And one has recently reappeared in New York City, a signal of hope in a concrete landscape.
When New York City Bloomed (Op-Art interactive feature), by Marielle Anzeloné & Wendy Hollender, The New York Times

SUSTAINABLE STYLE: Fashion Rethinkers: Norma Kamali
We kick off our initial installment [of “Fashion Rethinkers”] with Norma Kamali, a designer whose unrestricted and visionary approach to fashion has made her an institution of individuality since she began her career in the late ’60s. Her products shirk fleeting trends in favor of enduring utility—for evidence, look no further than the still-ubiquitous sleeping bag jacket—and she emphasizes sustainability by reclaiming materials for designs such as dresses made of real parachutes.
Fashion Rethinkers: Norma Kamali, by Robert Cordero, JC Report

FOOD & COMMUNITY: From Co-ops to Baby Food Swaps
When Karen Solomon, author of “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It,” began sending out invitations for a monthly baby-food swap, she was not sure how her recipients would respond. After all, she was inviting them to feed their children meals, including roasted pears and curried lentils, made by people they did not know. But for parents interested in consolidating food preparation while providing organic, homemade food to their newborns — as well as some impromptu parenting advice — Ms. Solomon’s swap at 18 Reasons, a nonprofit food center in Mission Dolores, was just the thing.
Throwing Together a Meal, One Swap at a Time, by Twilight Greenaway, The New York Times

FOOD & WELLNESS: Revenge of the Veggie Burger
They were the four syllables that had the power to make both carnivores and vegetarians cringe: veggie burger. For meat-lovers, the veggie burger was long seen as a sad stand-in that tried to copy the contours and textures of a classic beef patty while falling pathetically short of the pleasure. And for meat-refusers, the veggie burger served as a kind of penitential wafer: You ate this bland, freeze-dried nutrient disc because you had to eat it (your duty as someone who had forsaken the flesh) and because at many a restaurant or backyard barbecue, it was the only option available.
Masters of Disguise Among Meatless Burgers, by Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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