The Brightside Blog: volume 3

Roll up, roll up: it’s time for your monthly dose of good news. Open wide and let us choo-choo train in some warm and friendly feels to lift your spirits and remind you that the world can be a happy place!

The power of Peyo

You may have heard of therapy dogs; but what about therapy horses?

Adorned with beautiful braids that give him a laid-back hippie vibe, Peyo serves as a friendly face to the patients in Calais hospital. For those in palliative care, the presence of therapy animals like Peyo can create feelings of calm — and sometimes even reduce the need for pain relief drugs.

Apparently, Peyo is a particularly special horse. While taking part in equestrian shows in his previous life, he would seek out human contact from people in the crowd. Scientists have even gone so far as to study his brain, concluding that it functions in a unique way, but also ‘still trying to find out more about his instinctive ability to comfort those who are sick.’ We think everyone should try and be a bit more ‘Peyo’!

Altruistic apes

Despite its popularity in the USA, social media site Reddit is not as well known here in the UK. So a quick update for those out of the loop: a whole group of Redditors (called WallStreetBets) essentially took down a private hedge fund through investing in GameStop shares.

Power-for-the-people chanting aside, the WSB community has now used some of their well-earned gains for the greater good by adopting 3,500 gorillas. Plus, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, a charity for the protection of endangered mountain gorillas, has also received more than $350,000 (£252,000) in donations.

Why gorillas? Well that’s down to the community’s use of the term ‘ape gang’ to describe themselves. It might be unusual, but it seems to have made a real impact. President of the foundation Dr Tara Stoinski told BBC News: “They’ve truly made a difference for our world and shown what can be accomplished when people come together. When we save gorillas and we save forests, we save our world.”

It’s a bug’s life

Our little island is pretty heavily populated, which over time has had a devastating effect on our flora and fauna. Luckily a new conservation project is underway to create ‘superhighways’ for insects, joining the dots between habitats to allow them and other wildlife to move freely around.

Launched by charity Buglife, the ambitious scheme actually started ten years ago, when teams began to map potential routes. Formed of stepping-stones of flowers that connect different wild habitats together, the new initiative means insects like bees — an essential part of our eco-system — have more access to the pollen they need.

And the public can also get involved. If you live along one of the routes, all you need to do is plant a small patch of herbs and you have your very own ‘motorway service station for bees’!

Trying to fix plastic

You might not necessarily associate band Coldplay with sustainability, but here they are — sponsoring the newest ‘Interceptor’ from charity The Ocean Cleanup. (And apparently, they’ve long supported green initiatives. Who knew?)

The semi-autonomous watercraft works by trapping stray plastic in the some of the world’s most polluted rivers, stopping it from eventually ending up in the sea. Capturing ‘thousands of tons of waste’, Interceptor 005 — which is solar-powered — will be let loose along the Rio Ozama in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Even better, thanks to the power of IoT, the watercrafts are connected to the internet and can let local operators know once their vessels are full.

We don’t have a direct quote from Chris Martin, but we imagine he’d say something like: ‘Nobody said it was easy, but come out upon my seas and I will try and fix you.’ (See what we did there…? We’ll see ourselves out.)

Moving mountains of food

Last but in no way least, a moving company in the USA has sparked an initiative that has resulted in over 22 million pounds of leftover food being donated to food banks.

We all know that moving house is very stressful. After individually wrapping and boxing up every item you own while trying not to scream at your dog/child/partner, the tinned beans and dry pasta in your cupboard barely warrant a second thought.

The founder of Move for Hunger Adam Lowy recognised the issue and decided to create a solution: instead of chucking out food you can’t be bothered to take with you, you donate it to a food bank via your moving company. Super simple, super effective. In fact, their February 2021 ‘Spread the Love’ event saw a massive 16,000 meals donated. What a feel-good note to end on!

Have a good news story you’d like to share? Drop us a line!

  • 1st April 2021
  • 5 min read
  • Louise Brooks
  • Categories

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