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By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
4 min read

Ecuadorians vote against oil drilling in critical Amazon biosphere

And nine more social change milestones from the week of August 21 - 27 2023.

Good news for humankind!

From the week of August 21 - 27 2023 C.E.

Ecuadorians vote against oil drilling in critical Amazon biosphere

The referendum was a popular initiative demanded by Indigenous communities to protect the vast Yasuní National Park from oil drilling. Ecuador's government has announced that it will honor the result of the referendum and have machinery removed within a year.

World’s new largest offshore wind farm opens in Norway

The implementation of Hywind Tampen is expected to lead to an annual reduction of 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions from significant oil and gas producers in the North Sea.

India approves $7 billion for 10,000 electric buses for 170 cities

The government’s push for electric public transportation vehicles comes as it works to cut emissions, reduce fuel imports, and clean up air pollution.

Brazil makes homophobic hate speech punishable by prison

Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled with a vote of 9-1 that homophobic hate speech is on par with racial hate speech and punishable with a prison sentence of two to five years.

U.K. achieves record numbers of heat pump and solar panel installations in first half of 2023

With almost 17,000 installations occurring on average each month, the European nation achieved a 62% rise in solar panel installations over the previous year. It also installed over 17,000 climate-friendly heat pumps over that same period.

Zimbabwe sees recycling boom as waste picking becomes lucrative business

Community-based recycling organizations, which handpick litter, quadrupled in the last few years, now picking up 15% of all plastic waste generated in the country.

Cancer checks have given Americans 12 million more years of life over last 25 years

If everyone who qualified for current screening for four key forms of cancer received it, at least another 3.3 million life-years could be saved and another $1.7 trillion in economic impact added, the researchers from University of Chicago and University of Michigan find.

Mexico announces 13 new protected areas, with more to come

Mexico introduced six new national parks and seven “flora and fauna protection areas” covering 44,276 acres to be overseen by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas.

U.K.’s largest opencast coal mine to permanently close in November 2023

Campaigners had been pushing for the site in Merthyr Tydfil to close since its planning permission expired in September last year after 15 years.

Massachusetts adopts universal free school meals

All public school students grades K-12 will be entitled to free lunches regardless of their financial status. It’s estimated to save families about $1,200 a year per student.

Ecuador formally establishes Yasuní National Park (1979 C.E.)

Arguably the most biologically diverse spot on Earth, it remains the South American nation's largest national park. It is within the claimed ancestral territory of the Huaorani Indigenous people and is home to two uncontacted Indigenous tribes.

Ecuador ends all oil and gas production (2043 C.E. ???)

After decades of pressure from citizens and civil society groups, the Ecuadorian government formally bans all oil and gas production and transitions to renewable energy sources and climate-friendly industries.

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A more beautiful world?

The titles of two recent books - Sally Rooney’s “Beautiful World, Where Are You” and Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” - seem to speak to a growing sentiment today: disappointment at the failures of modern society and a yearning for an idyllic future world more beautiful and wise than our own.

When I see this “more beautiful world” idea come up, a part of me protests.

I do think a more beautiful world is possible and obviously worth striving for. A world more prosperous, just, and in harmony with Earth would certainly be more beautiful than one that is less so. And it’s of real value to envision and embody that more beautiful world.

And yet: is our world today really not beautiful enough?

From where I stand, our world right now today is almost unimaginably beautiful. Earth itself is teeming with spectacular life, land, and water. Humans across the world continuously create works of beauty, courage, and genius. And billions of us spend our lives committed to loving our family, friends, and communities.

We face many urgent problems that deserve our urgent attention. Of course. But a lack of beauty is not one of them.

We so often spend our energy decrying what we see as the ugly parts of the world. Sometimes it even feels like an intentional strategy to inspire action. Perhaps our "more beautiful world" will come about more swiftly and fully if we spend more of our energy simply in awe of the preposterously beautiful world right before our eyes already.

Peter Schulte

Purpose & Leadership Coach

Founder & Executive Director, Spark of Genius


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By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
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Good News For Humankind