This month’s good news…
The best ideas are often the most obvious. And that seems to be the case with news of a growing trend: turning shipping containers into accommodation for homeless people.
Independent movements in Los Angeles, Bristol and Ilford have all been trying to house the homeless with the specially converted vessels, with the hope the idea will catch on elsewhere.
‘I’ve been blessed more than I should have been,’ says US Marine veteran Dale Dollar of his new abode; ‘It’s wonderful.’
Dale had been sleeping rough for 14 years, before the creation of the Potter’s Lane structure in LA.
The Ilford project came about after £10,000 was raised via the local Salvation Army, who turned to crowd-funding to reach their target.
Good food guide
Here’s a stat to make you spit out your coffee: 7.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by UK households each year.
Now supermarkets are being urged to simplify food labels, saving consumers a small fortune and cutting down on waste.
The draft guidelines – drawn up by sustainability charity Wrap, Defra Labelling and the Food Standards Agency – say ‘use-by’ dates need to be removed from food unless there is a risk of food poisoning.
Andrew Parry of Wrap says: ‘There seems to have been a movement to shorten these dates in recent years, some dates used to be longer.’
Two wheels good
Encouraging men to speak up about mental health and finally offering them support is vital for suicide prevention.
Thankfully, cycling event Tour de Test Valley – currently in its fifth year – is raising funds for Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably), the award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide.
While the course takes in stunning 40, 80 and 160km routes, it’s all in honour of pro-snowboarder and keen cyclist Nelson Pratt, who tragically took his own life in 2012.
The event takes place on 16 September at Test Valley, Hampshire. Visit British Cycling for more details.
A Stella outlook
Credit where it’s due. Ever since a spotlight was pointed towards the dark world of ‘fast fashion’ and its damaging impact on the environment, it has tried hard to clean up its act.
Now Stella McCartney has joined forces with US biotech company Bolt Threads with an eye on making future fashion more environmentally conscious – think specialist sustainable fibres.
The potential ramifications are huge: McCartney is looking to revolutionise the fashion industry by embracing technology for better sustainability and it is hoped more A-listers will follow suit.
And McCartney says: ‘The dots are being connected between fashion, sustainability and tech innovation… it is a truly modern and mindful approach to fashion.’
A happy ‘c word’
One potential scientific breakthrough has come to light that could help to combat multiple sclerosis.
MS is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system and has around 2.5 million sufferers worldwide.
Now it has emerged that a group underwent chemotherapy and stem cell bone marrow transplant as part of an experimental 2002 study. Of 24 patients, 70% saw the disease halted or reversed.
‘Everyone is hesitating to use the “c word”, but these patients are cured,’ says Michael Rudnicki of the Ottawa Health Research Institute.
Meanwhile, Dr Su Metcalfe of biotech company LIFNano also appears to have made a breakthrough. By using stem cell proteins that form naturally in the body, the research hopes to combat MS by using mechanisms already within the body.
Dr Metcalfe explains: ‘We’re simply switching on the body’s own systems of self-tolerance and repair.’
Fight for your right
Given you’re reading this magazine, there’s every chance you’re an open-minded sort. We’d even wager you fully support equal rights, what with it being 2017 and everything.
However, with the news that hate crimes against LGBT people in Britain have increased by 78% in five years (from 9% in 2013 to 16% in 2017), clearly more needs to be done.
It’s why Stonewall – the charity renowned for lobbying for equality – has just launched its Come Out for LGBT campaign, which asks everyone to report any incidents or abuse you come into contact with.
A craze that’s slowly sweeping across the globe is… picking up litter.
OK, as crazes go, it might not be as glamorous as, say, the Macarena, but it’s a trend nonetheless.
Take3ForTheSea is an Australian Instagram account with more than 50,000 followers that urges everyone to, as you can guess, pick up three bits of litter.
There’s also Jeff Kirschner, who started the Litterati blog in 2013 and has now launched a Litterati app, designed to make litter-picking fun (again, hey, it’s no Macarena), while encouraging companies to do something about pollution.
And, on a more local level, councils and communities are urging residents to do their bit, such as the successful ItsMyStreet campaign in Ipswich and the #LitterHeroes group in Lincolnshire.
Give it a try: your hands might get dirty but your soul will soar.
‘Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer and there is currently no cure,’ says Colin Capper, Alzheimer’s Society’s head of research development.
We know what you’re thinking: ‘We thought this was supposed to be “good” news?’
Well, it is, because the Alzheimer’s Society has announced it’s investing £2million over five years in three research grants at University College London, the University of Exeter and Newcastle University.
Researchers will create Centres Of Excellence to focus on key areas of dementia care research. With 72,000 people suffering from dementia in London alone, Colin adds, ‘these centres are an excellent example of how being united against dementia, and listening to those affected, can bring about real and lasting change through high-quality, world-leading research.’
Read more: Why we should be kind in person