This is your weekly roundup of good news.
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Scientists have found a treatment that could finally put an end to recurring nightmares; camera-equipped sharks mapped the largest seagrass meadow ever discovered; new publishing house brings forgotten female composers out of obscurity; Barcelona’s ecological school ‘bus’; and a green school in South Africa that should inspire you to make your dreams come true.
Here are all the details:
1. Scientists have found a treatment that could finally put an end to recurring nightmares
The two techniques have enormous potential to help people who suffer from fear of sleeping and recurring nightmares.
The first is imagery rehearsal therapy or IRT. In it, people have to remember their nightmares and change the negative story in themselves to give it a positive tone.
For about 30 percent of patients, practicing this positive sleep scenario during the day has been shown to reduce nightmares after two or three weeks.
What about the remaining 70 percent?
This is where something called targeted memory reactivation or TMR comes in.
TMR is a process during which a person focuses on learning something (such as a positive nightmare) while listening to a specific sound, which is then replayed as a cue while the person sleeps.
For those who tested the combination of IRT and TMR, the bad dreams disappeared almost entirely, with the average number of nightmares falling from three to 0.2 per week.
Read more about the research to end the nightmares here, written by Giulia Carbonaro for NEXT, Euronews’ forward-looking section.
2. Camera-equipped sharks mapped the largest seagrass meadow ever discovered
Swimming through the depths like Google Street View’s underwater cars, a group of eight sharks with biodegradable cameras attached to their dorsal fins mapped 92,000 square kilometers of seagrass in the Bahamas. This is twice the size of the previous largest known seagrass meadow, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Seaweeds sequester 10 times more carbon per hectare than the Amazon rainforest, making this newly discovered area one of the world’s largest carbon reservoirs.
“The Bahamian coast is such a vast environment that it’s impossible to cover with human divers, so the tiger sharks were actually scouting [it] for us,” says Dr. Carlos Duarte, science and policy advisor to the board of Beneath the Waves, the organization leading the initiative.
Duarte says the discovery is a remarkable demonstration of “how little we still know about the ocean” and is a call to action to invest more in exploring the big blue, because it can bring huge benefits.
One of the things Beneath the Waves learned from the experiment was that tiger sharks spent significantly more time in areas where there were seagrass meadows.
Sharks have been protected in the Bahamas for almost 30 years, “…and now we know that a seagrass meadow could really have very large ecosystem services and economic benefits for the people of the Bahamas, so it’s really not a stretch to say that if you protect sharks, you can protect people,” says Austin J. Gallagher, lead scientist and CEO of Beneath the Waves.
3. A new record company brings forgotten female composers out of the dark
French cellist Héloïse Luzzati spent about three decades studying and performing classical music, until she realized that she was always only performing work created by men.
The contribution that women have made to classical music receives hardly any recognition. Women’s works are rarely published, so they are even less recorded.
The problem, says Luzzati, is that “a book can be read and a picture can be looked at, but music, if it is not played or recorded, will cease to exist.”
So Luzzati founded La Boîte à Pépitesrecord company dedicated to reviving female composers from obscurity.
The first release was a three-CD set of works by the late French composer Charlotte Sohy, who died in 1955 and published the music under her grandfather’s name to avoid prejudice.
The initiative also includes a festival – ‘Elles – female composers’, as well as a YouTube channel to highlight the works of little-known female composers.
4. Ecological school ‘bus’ in Barcelona
A new school transport scheme, Bicibús, is taking Barcelona by storm, with a group of happy children cycling to and from school.
“The goal is to safely accompany children to school, while at the same time they have the opportunity to gain a sense of belonging to a group,” says Helena Vilardell, founder of Canvis en Cadena, the organization behind the Bicibús initiative.
Bicycle guardians – parents, teachers and other volunteers – pick up and drop off children along the route, just like a traditional school bus.
The initiative was launched in September 2021 and already has more than 1,200 children traveling en masse to more than 70 schools in 25 cities in Catalonia.
The best part? It is very replicable, it is organized by family associations and schools, it is good for children and great for the environment.
Children even say they enjoy riding their bikes on rainy days, because it’s fun to “ride through puddles”.
“There’s a roof in the car and you can’t see the sky,” reports another child in a Bicibús YouTube video.
5. A green school in South Africa that should inspire you to make your dreams come true.
People’s Good News of the Week is Alba Brandt, a South African on a mission.
After spending six months in Bali, Indonesia on a family adventure with her husband and three daughters, they decided to create the first ‘green school’ in South Africa, based on a similar school the children attended in Bali.
“We really wanted to create the same experience for our children in our local context. We love living in South Africa. So we came back. We were looking for land. We designed the campus we built during COVID. And we opened last year until 2021,” says Brandt, co-founder of “Green School” with her husband.
“Our children could then continue with the Green School curriculum, which is based on joy and wonder, and greatly teaches children, families and teachers how we can live sustainably on this planet.”
The Green School is the first of its kind in South Africa; aims to raise a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens, encouraging children’s creativity and resistance to climate change.
Sara Samanani, a 14-year-old student at the school, says she was a bit “skeptical” at first.
“I asked myself, am I really going to do what I need to do at this point in my life? But then I realized we’re still learning the same things, I just think in a generally better environment.”
Samanani says the way of teaching at the Green School has improved her focus. “We have breaks. We have time where we can talk; we talk to our teachers as if they were our friends,” she says.
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