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Good News: Shell Ordered to Halve Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Delaware State University Cancels Student Debt, + More

From the historically Black university that canceled over $700,000 in student debt to Issa Rae’s revival of Project Greenlight on HBO, keep reading for some of our favorite good news headlines in May.

May 01: Five-Year-Old Larbert Girl Turns Garage Doors Into Works of Art to Raise Spirits (The Scotsman)

Well-known amongst her neighbors for the level of detail in her eye-catching artwork, five-year-old Eilidh has spent much of lockdown working with her mother, Christine Hilditch to create drawings that would brighten up everyone’s day. 

“It started when she was in nursery. In April we started doing big chalk drawings on the garage. We live on a busy road and could see people doing their daily walk, and we thought we would give them something different to look at,” Hilditch told The Scotsman. “Everything was Eilidh’s idea. One day it was butterflies and bees, and the next it was dragons and sunflowers. It gave her confidence.” 

May 04: This App Lets You Buy Whatever Food Your Favorite Restaurant Has Leftover at the End of the Day (Fast Company)

As Fast Company reports, 30-40% of all food produced in the United states is wasted—meaning it goes to a landfill instead of a person—and global food waste is responsible for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Searching for a simple solution, Lucie Basch co-founded the app Too Good To Go, which offers users a grab bag of menu items from specific restaurants in their area. For a discounted price, users can sign up for a “surprise bag” of items that otherwise would have been thrown out at the end of the day. Since the app’s 2016 launch in Copenhagen, Too Good To Go has over 500,000 users across 15 countries—saving 125,000 meals a day globally. In the United States alone nearly 200,000 meals have been saved since the app’s expansion stateside in September 2020. 

“We think we can save more than 2 million meals from the trash in the U.S. in 2021 already. That’s thousands of tons of emissions avoided.” Basch says. Available to users in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Too Good To Go is coming to San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland before summer 2021 with plans to expand to five other U.S. cities by the end of the year.

May 11: Forests the Size of France Regrown Since 2000, Study Suggests (BBC)

A study suggests that in the last 20 years, a France-sized area of forest has naturally regrown worldwide, which conservation groups report can soak up more than the U.S.’s annual carbon emissions. William Baldwin-Cantello from WWF, the organization that built a map of regenerated forests with satellite data, finds that natural forest regeneration is “cheaper, richer in carbon and better for biodiversity than actively planted forests.” 

May 14: Delaware State University Will Use Biden’s Stimulus to Cancel Over $700,000 in Student Debt (Insider)

Officials from Delaware State University recently announced that the school would be canceling up to $730,655 in debt—approximately $3,276 in relief for the average recently-graduated student. 

“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school. While we know our efforts won’t help with all their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part,” says Antonio Boyle, Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management at DSU.

May 18: Issa Rae to Lead ‘Project Greenlight’ Revival for HBO Max (Variety)

Issa Rae is heading up the new “Project Greenlight,” a revival of the critically acclaimed docuseries that focused on filmmakers directing their first feature films. Produced by Rae’s media company, Hoorae, the revamped “Project Greenlight” will highlight female first-time filmmakers. In a cover interview with Vanity Fair, Rae said, “I want this version of the show to make filmmaking feel attainable.” 

May 27: Dutch Court Orders Shell Oil Company to Halve Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030

Talk about historic: in a major court ruling, the Royal Dutch Shell oil company has been ordered to cut its greenhouse gas emissions—by half—by 2030. Though this ruling applies just to the Netherlands for now, it’ll set a global precedent. The ruling aligns future emissions cuts with numbers set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Read more about the ruling via Democracy Now.