Greece legalizes same-sex marriage
By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
7 min read

Greece legalizes same-sex marriage

And nine more of humanity's social change milestones from the week of February 12 - 18 C.E.

Good news for humankind!

The world's latest milestones for climate, justice, peace, health, and more

February 12 - 18 2024 C.E.

Greece legalizes same-sex marriage

Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalize same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after the 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis proclaimed "People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us, and with them, many children will finally find their rightful place."

E.U. reaches first-ever agreement to eliminate various forms of violence against women

The European Union has reached a historic agreement to protect women from different forms of violence, including female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and online harassment. Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and common human rights violations globally. According to the European Council, one in three women in Europe has experienced physical or sexual violence and 600,000 have undergone female genital mutilation.

Super Bowl 58 first to be fully powered by renewable energy

This year's Super Bowl was the first one ever to be fully powered by renewable energy, thanks to the host stadium's agreement with a solar farm. More than 621,000 solar panels found in a barren area of the Nevada desert help power Allegiant Stadium, home to the Las Vegas Raiders and host of Super Bowl LVIII. According to CBS News, the Les Vegas stadium entered into a 25-year agreement with NV Energy to buy power from its new solar installation.

2023 was the first year without elephant poaching in Republic of Congo’s Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park

The park, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on December 31 of 2023, also shared an exciting conservation milestone: 2023 was the first year without any elephant poaching detected. “We didn’t detect any elephants killed in the Park this year, a first for the Park since [we] began collecting data. This success comes after nearly a decade of concerted efforts to protect forest elephants from armed poaching in the Park,” Ben Evans, the Park’s management unit director, said in a press release.

Michigan’s historic “right-to-work” repeal goes into effect

Last March, the Michigan legislature passed the bill to toss the law aimed at hurting labor unions by allowing workers to opt out of union dues while still reaping benefits of unionization, costing unions resources and money. Pro-labor groups have celebrated the law’s repeal, saying that it was a victory “decades in the making” as unions and labor advocates have fought against the law.

Zambia passes landmark law amendment ending child marriage

Child marriage is now illegal in Zambia, thanks to the new Marriage (Amendment) Act. The landmark amendment defines a child as a “person who has attained, or is below, the age of eighteen years.” It also states that any marriage between persons where either is a child is now void. Although the practice has become less common in recent years, the UNFPA and UNICEF reported that in 2018, 29% of all young women in Zambia aged 20–24 married before 18 years old, and 5% before turning 15.

$15 million land purchase to protect 8,000 acres of “America’s Amazon” in south Alabama

Nearly 8,000 acres of Alabama’s most sensitive and ecologically important land is being preserved forever, thanks to a multi-million dollar collaboration involving The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, Patagonia, and an undisclosed donor. The Nature Conservancy in Alabama says it has closed a $15 million+ deal to buy 7,990 acres in Clarke County at the head of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, often called "America’s Amazon" for its remarkable biodiversity and wildlife.

Hand-held test for breast cancer uses your saliva and gives accurate readings in 5 seconds

A new hand-held portable device is not only extremely quick and easy to use but very cost effective, say scientists from the University of Florida and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Compared to the costly alternatives of mammograms, which expose women to radiation—or MRIs and ultrasounds which require expensive equipment—researchers called the device revolutionary.

Decarbonization containers turn 78% of marine emissions into limestone in new pilot

A remarkable pilot project installed on a 787-ft. container ship has proven it's possible to capture emissions from the smokestacks of cargo ships with 78% efficiency and convert the CO2 into limestone pebbles, which can be offloaded and sold. London startup Seabound, funded by a US$1.5-million grant from the UK Government, partnered up with global shipping company Lomar to install the carbon capture equipment on one of its older and dirtier-burning ships, a medium-sized vessel capable of carrying more than 3,200 shipping containers.

Millennial fathers in the U.S. spend more quality time with children than in previous generations

Fathers in the U.S. have a growing preference for spending time with their children over working. According to Pew Research, dads spend three times more time with their children than two generations ago. Most of these men now see being a good father as central to their identity.

Belgium becomes second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (2003 C.E.)

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Belgium since 1 June 2003, making it the second country in the world to open marriage to same-sex couples, after the Netherlands, and 9 days ahead of the Canadian province of Ontario. Legislation to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples was passed by both chambers of the Federal Parliament in November 2002 and January 2003 with the support of most political parties, and received royal assent on 13 February 2003.

All countries in the E.U. legalize same-sex marriage (2037 C.E. ???)

After years of campaigning, LGBTQ advocates achieve marriage equality across all 27 member states of the European Union. As of 2024, 16 E.U. members had fully legalized same-sex unions, while 7 still had them legally banned by their constitutions.

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A strong take

For a time, I was one of those guys on Facebook with strong, bold takes on politics, even willing to get into an argument with a stranger from time to time if need be. Especially in my 20s, it felt enlivening and vital. It was my way to show the world that I cared. My way to show I wasn't weak or scared. My way to actually do something.

But eventually, as the amount of my life spent arguing or crafting some perfect comment grew, I noticed it all become much more draining, stressful, and increasingly toxic. I often felt agitated and preoccupied with some squabble. I saw the insidious effects of growing divisiveness and vitriol in the world around me. Adding more anger to the world felt less helpful than it once had.

So I stopped. It wasn't hard to get interested in less political issues like personal growth, philosophy, and organizational development instead. It was much more peaceful. And I felt better about myself and the kinds of relationships and conversations I was attracting.

Now, when I put writing out into the world, it's rarely intentionally divisive, overtly political, or applying pressure for others to adopt some agenda of mine. I try as much as possible to just offer different ways of looking at ourselves, life, and the world that perhaps can help foster greater peace, clarity, courage, and wisdom.

And then I look around at the world. I try to see it clearly.

There is a lot of good news, yes. But then I also see yet another unspeakable mass shooting, compounding climate emergencies, growing authoritarianism and political insanity, and deeply exciting yet concerning advances in technology, all darkening our horizons, and increasingly, our today. There are very real, very deep challenges that we too often shy away from or try to ignore. I can't help but feel that more of us need to say and do something about it, quickly.

I also sense the part of me that feels passionate about advocacy, is willing to be courageous and hold an unpopular opinion, and has a conviction that urgent action is needed. I realized I've deadened the part of me in favor of the part that wants to be at peace and doesn't want people to be mad at me. More and more, I feel out of integrity with the world and myself.

When I really listen within, what feels most alive lately is an impulse to speak more powerfully and boldly, especially about ways I and others can be in greater integrity with ourselves, our society, and our planet.

Yet, as I learned before, doing so can so quickly devolve into something toxic - both for myself and others. So here are some questions that can help guide me:

  • Am I being fiercely kind? Or fiercely cruel, defensive, and self-serving?
  • Am I embodying whatever ethos I am calling others into?
  • Am I being open, curious, and vulnerable?
  • Does saying something right now serve anyone other than myself?

Peter Schulte
Leadership Coach
Executive Director of Spark of Genius

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By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
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Good News For Humankind