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Humanity's Positive Future

Welcome to the Humanity's Positive Future collection! This collection focuses on the positive news about the amazing directions and strides humanity is making. It is the counterpoint to the sensationalist and alarmist news found in mainstream media.

While the collection has humanity as its focus, I will make an effort to include some positive news about the human habitat, planet earth, on occasion. That brings me to the coral reefs.

Coral Reef Resistance and Resilience

There are a number of studies in the last year showing the strength and endurance of reefs. That doesn't let us off the hook from reducing our polluting behavior, but it does tell us that while making such efforts in change (and change is already happening), we can know that the world's coral reefs may yet have a few tricks up their colorful sleeves.

From the study abstract:

Reef corals are highly sensitive to heat, yet populations resistant to climate change have recently been identified. To determine the mechanisms of temperature tolerance, we reciprocally transplanted corals between reef sites experiencing distinct temperature regimes and tested subsequent physiological and gene expression profiles. Local acclimatization and fixed effects, such as adaptation, contributed about equally to heat tolerance and are reflected in patterns of gene expression. In less than 2 years, acclimatization achieves the same heat tolerance that we would expect from strong natural selection over many generations for these long-lived organisms. Our results show both short-term acclimatory and longer-term adaptive acquisition of climate resistance. Adding these adaptive abilities to ecosystem models is likely to slow predictions of demise for coral reef ecosystems.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/344/6186/895

Further Reading

Some further resources on positive findings related to coral reefs and the oceans.

Breeding coral is now a possibility: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160129131702.htm

Coral resistance to global warming: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/great-barrier-reef-warming-good-news-180951762/

Shark babies survive in increasingly acidic waters: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160308105629.htm

About the Image

The image is from a recent visit to the aquarium in Stockholm with my family. It was shot with my Galaxy S5. You can find more of my mobile photography at www.mobilography.net.

#HumanitysPositiveFuture #CoralReefs #Oceans #Reefs
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Electric Cars Meet Most People's Needs

Right now.

The electric car is currently a viable option for 90% of Americans' daily driving needs. This doesn't point to a trend in sales or manufacture. Not does it take into account whether Americans actually have the purchasing to buy an electric car. Still, it is a good sign of things to come. This is simply a metric of distance traveled on average by the average consumer daily, vs the distance capabilities of electric cars currently.

From the article: The study, which found that a wholesale replacement of conventional vehicles with electric ones is possible today and could play a significant role in meeting climate change mitigation goals, was published today in the journal Nature Energy.

http://m.phys.org/news/2016-08-electric-vehicles-drivers-percent-road.html

#Electric #ElectricCar #Energy

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Positive Open Access Trends

Open access journals and research is close to my heart. It's one of those things I think is the obvious direction humanity needs to move. The main resistance to this trend has been one of sustainable funding models, and to a lesser degree the affects OA has on peer review.

While the article points to open access trends in the UK, world trends are also compared. Based on the parameters used in the article, 16% of the world's research articles run on an Open Access model. That isn't much, but it's improving. It's a positive trend in the spread of knowledge in the world.

From the post: The report reveals that the UK is making a strong transition to open access, and while it was slightly behind global trends in terms of gold, hybrid and green open access in 2012, it is now significantly ahead. In 2014, 18 percent of articles from the UK were published gold open access, compared with under 17 percent globally.

Changes in publishing facilitated this increase in the uptake of open access: today around two-thirds of the world’s journals, and more than three-quarters of those in which UK researchers publish, offer an open access option, be it via a fully OA or hybrid model. Again, hybrid journals are important here: they comprise about half of all academic journals and two-thirds of those in which UK authors publish.

https://www.elsevier.com/connect/open-access-policy-propelled-the-uk-ahead-of-global-trends

#HumanitysPositiveFuture #OpenAccess #OA #Research #UK

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"Actually"

That "actually" in the link title implies what so many think about the youth, that they carry with them enough of a negative stereotype to warrant that qualifying word. The reality is a bit more positive.

While improvement in teen behavior from previous generations (in those areas discussed in this post) does have nuances, in general behavior over time has improved. A closer look at some statistics, such as the metrics on volunteering, one can see a difference in volunteerism among whites, blacks, and latinos. The same can be said for illegitimate children. Each of the 7 areas of improvement point to recent research (the article itself is one year old).

From the post: Statistics tell an optimistic story. From smoking and drug use to unwanted pregnancies and abortions, the trends today show most teenagers making good choices. They are even volunteering in their communities more than ever before.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/teenstodayareactuallygood/

#HumanitysPositiveFuture   #Youth   #Behavior   #Trends  

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Energy Consumption Is Down

Page 4 of the third annual NRDC energy report showed that energy consumption is down, simultaneously with a growth in the economy. This is the first time that has happened. Previously, energy consumption was down only when there was an economic downturn. It has now happened in the midst of growth.

From the report:

The United States is leading a global clean energy transition that reached new milestones over the past year, with coal and electricity consumption down nationwide, oil use flat, and renewable energy surging. Sustained progress in energy efficiency, wind power, and solar generation paved the way for America’s first nationwide limits on power plants’ carbon pollution, issued in August, and offered hope for significant progress in the global climate negotiations scheduled for December in Paris. In the meantime, California has
enacted the world’s most ambitious combined clean energy targets.

http://www.nrdc.org/energy/energy-environment-report/files/energy-environment-report-2015.pdf

#HumanitysPositiveFuture #Energy #Consumption #NRDC
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Five Reasons Why 2013 Was Humanity's Best Year

From the article:

Contrary to what you might have heard, virtually all of the most important forces that determine what make people’s lives good — the things that determine how long they live, and whether they live happily and freely — are trending in an extremely happy direction. While it’s possible that this progress could be reversed by something like runaway climate change, the effects will have to be dramatic to overcome the extraordinary and growing progress we’ve made in making the world a better place.

Thank you to +Gazzaroonii T.​ for pointing me to this must read article. If you know of articles that can contribute to the good news of this collection, do mention me and use the hashtag #HumanitysPositiveFuture. Have a look at the rest of the collection to get a sense of its scope.

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Wild Poliovirus type 2 Eradicated Globally

We, the members of the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, conclude today, 20th September 2015, that indigenous wild poliovirus type 2 has been eradicated worldwide.

http://www.polioeradication.org/mediaroom/newsstories/Global-eradication-of-wild-poliovirus-type-2-declared/tabid/526/news/1289/Default.aspx

#Polio   #Eradication   #Global  

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The Narrative We Tell

If the news we consume is without critique, it becomes nothing but a support for our already preconceived ideas for how the world is. The narrative we allow ourselves to hear can't be from only one source. It's that old saying: if you are dumb and want to be smart, hang out with smart people; if you are smart and want to be smarter, hang out with smart people who disagree with you.

Or like Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.

These two #TedTalks (linked below) offer an alternative narrative to the one we are hearing continuously. They are what this collection is about. A different and positive view of the world we are living in. This is not a denial of all that is horrible on the planet, but a fair image of how things are and can be.

Change your narrative.

Mia Birdsong: The story we tell about poverty isn't true: http://go.ted.com/b2Gr

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story: http://go.ted.com/uBlmlA

(If you enjoy the content of this currently brief but positive collection, please help it grow by contributing to it. Just tag me +Jacob Dix​ and use the hashtag #HumanitysPositiveFuture and I will consider it for inclusion. A guideline to those things I will include are larger trends in the world as a whole.) 

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Carbon Signature Reporting

More and more, companies are reporting their carbon footprint, giving invests and consumers an added metric to alter their buying power, which is added leverage in pushing the market in a more healthy and sustainable direction.

From the article: Anyone who wants to put their money into climate-friendly businesses—like renewable energy or electric cars—has long been able to identify suitable companies or invest in “green” indices. But it’s been more difficult to avoid, or at least hedge against, investing in companies that actually worsen climate change. That, finally, is changing.

#CarbonFootprint #ClimateChange #Investment

(If you enjoy the content of this currently brief but positive collection, please help it grow by contributing to it. Just tag me +Jacob Dix​​​ and use the hashtag #HumanitysPositiveFuture and I will consider it for inclusion. A guideline to those things I will include in the collection are larger trends in the world as a whole.)

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Trends In Adult Literacy

I wasn't aware of International Literacy Day, and so it slipped me by. I am now. The trend of world literacy is a fabulous one, for women and men.

From the article:

8 September is International Literacy Day, which was first celebrated in 1966. New estimates of adult and youth literacy by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that the percentage of literate persons continues to grow worldwide. Even so, in 2008, 796 million adults aged 15 years or older - 17% of all adults worldwide - still lacked basic reading and writing skills and 64% of them were women (see UIS fact sheet on adult and youth literacy). By comparison, 24% of all adults were illiterate in 1990.

#literacy

(If you enjoy the content of this currently brief but positive collection, please help it grow by contributing to it. Just tag me +Jacob Dix​ and use the hashtag #HumanitysPositiveFuture and I will consider it for inclusion.)

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