The week's good news: July 20, 2023

It wasn't all bad!

A fashion designer at work
(Image credit: Cavan Images via Getty Images)

1. UNAIDS report shows a path to ending AIDS by 2030

There is a clear way forward to ending AIDS by 2030, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) declared in a hopeful report published last week. The report, "The Path that Ends AIDS," reveals that several countries, including Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Botswana, have achieved "95-95-95" targets, meaning 95% of people who have HIV know their status, 95% percent of people who know they have HIV are on antiretroviral treatment and 95% of people receiving treatment are being virally suppressed. More than a dozen other countries with high HIV rates are close to reaching those targets. "The end of AIDS is an opportunity for a uniquely powerful legacy for today's leaders," UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement. For this to happen, leaders must follow the data and science, address inequalities and find funding, and Byanyima said there is now "a hope rooted in seeing the opportunity for success, an opportunity that is dependent on action."


2. Designer makes clothes based on grandmother's vintage sketches

After posting a slideshow of sketches her grandmother drew in fashion school during the 1940s, a TikToker named Julia was encouraged by her followers to make these designs come to life. Julia was up to the challenge, and began learning how to sew so she could recreate the drawings. The project has been "really connecting" for Julia and her grandmother, she told Good Morning America. "Some people look up to rock stars or singers or artists. I always looked up to my grandmother. She's always been such an inspiration of what a strong and caring woman can be." Every time she completes an outfit, Julia models it for her grandmother and shares the interaction online. In one video, Julia's grandmother praised her for always putting a creative and modern touch to her designs, saying it's "lovely to see because it brings us into this time in life."

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Good Morning America

3. Vertical farming could solve problem of commercial real estate vacancies

Office buildings that have been empty since the start of the pandemic are getting new life, thanks to vertical farming. In Arlington, Virginia, where office vacancy rates were at 23.7% in the first quarter of this year, Area 2 Farms is growing root vegetables, herbs and greens inside what used to be a paper warehouse building. Area 2's growing apparatus is called Silo, which is a "multi-level conveyer belt system that moves vertically throughout the day to replicate a plant's natural circadian rhythm," Modern Farmer wrote. Office spaces are good for farming because they have air conditioning and heating and are well ventilated, Dan Houston, president of AgriPlay, said. Earlier this year, his company took over an office space at Calgary Tower Center in Alberta, and has already produced strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. Houston told Modern Farmer vertical farming takes care of two problems: food insecurity and an "imploding" commercial real estate industry.

Modern Farmer

4. Migrating turtles get a boost from workers at a Connecticut dry cleaners

During the summer, customers at Best Cleaners in Middletown, Connecticut, know to look down — they might spot a tiny Eastern painted turtle making its way across the store. The dry-cleaning business is on the path between Pameacha Pond and a grassy marsh, and every year, from May through September, the turtles go from the pond to the marsh to lay their eggs and then make the return journey with their hatchlings. They have to cross a busy street, and because the baby turtles can be as small as a quarter, sometimes they get hit by cars. For the last five years, workers at Best Cleaners have done their part to help the turtles that make their way into store or its parking lot, picking them up and delivering them to the pond. "Humans are the ones who built infrastructure around their habitat, so we owe it to the turtles to do anything we can to give back," Best Cleaners regional manager Matt Dionne told The Washington Post.

The Washington Post

5. Native giraffes reintroduced to the Angolan wild

For the first time in decades, native giraffes have a home inside one of Angola's national parks. Last week, seven male and seven female Angolan giraffes were moved from a private game farm in Namibia to Iona National Park in Angola. The Angolan Civil War devastated wildlife, and it's believed there haven't been Angolan giraffes inside the country's national parks since the 1990s. Several organizations decided it was safe to reintroduce the giraffes to their homeland, and the government of Angola, African Parks, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, and the Wyss Foundation came together to make it happen. A lot of planning goes into giraffe translocations, and it took more than two years to plot and then execute the move. With its success, everyone involved is hopeful this translocation is the first of many. "It's great seeing a species back where it should be," Iona National Park manager Pedro Monterroso told The Guardian. "It's a message of hope for conservation in this country."

The Guardian

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.