Whether you’re out at work today performing an essential job or staying at home, chances are your newsfeed has been full of more bad news than good news over the last few weeks. Today, for the second edition of our daily cure for cabin fever series, we’re talking about some of the things that are going right in the world! Here are a few great things that have happened so far this past year:

Vans launched an Autism Awareness Collection

As of this month, Vans has released a collection of shoes for children and adults titled the “Autism Awareness Collection.” This collection features nine shoe designs that they call “sensory inclusive,” with benefits ranging from extra-soft soles to help with comfort to slip-on and Velcro options that give more independence to people that struggle with motor skills. Vans has also promised to donate at least $100,000 of the proceeds from this collection to A.Skate, a non-profit that offers skate lessons, mentorship, and other resources to people with autism at no charge.

The second person to be cured of HIV is still free of HIV a year later

The 40-year-old “London Patient,” who has now publicly shared his identity as Adam Castillejo, is still free of HIV a year after the initial announcement. This “cure” isn’t a treatment that was being used for his HIV, but rather, a stem cell treatment he was receiving for cancer. The stem cells were meant to replace cancerous cells, but also ended up replacing some immune cells with ones resistant to HIV because of an uncommon gene that the stem cell donors have. After over two years without antiretroviral therapy, Castillejo still tests negative for HIV.

Because of the high risk of stem cell therapy and the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART), it is recommended that those who are seeing success with ART continue using that treatment. Still, this is evidence that a cure is possible, and that there may be a cure developed in the coming years using gene therapy.

ART is actually extremely effective, and while it isn’t a “cure,” it allows people with HIV to live very normal lives. ART usually involves a combination of medicines that are used to treat HIV, which help reduce the viral load, or how much HIV is in that person’s blood. When used as prescribed, ART can actually make HIV undetectable even by the best tests, which helps the person with HIV stay healthy and means that they have “effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV negative partner through sex” according to the CDC. While the thought of a cure is exciting, as it could reduce costs and the frequency that care is necessary for HIV positive people, current therapies are very effective at treating HIV and helping HIV positive people live normal, healthy lives.

The United States’ CO2 emissions dropped in 2019

The United States’ Energy Information Administration came out with a report in January of this year stating that CO2 emissions had decreased by 1.9% in 2019, and if things go as expected, they will decrease another 2.0% in 2020. The EIA also estimates another decrease of roughly 1.5% in 2021.

While natural gas usage has increased, more efficient ways to use it have also been developed. This helps decrease emissions rates, which is good news for the environment. EIA agents also believe that the steady climb in petroleum and gasoline prices impacted the decrease, since it is driving more people to invest in renewable energy sources and purchase cars that are more fuel-efficient or even fully electric. This decrease is cause for celebration as we continue learning how to take better care of the Earth!

Wales is building a MASSIVE forest

This past month, the Welsh First Minister has begun to lead a reforestation initiative in the country. The government is looking to restore the natural habitats of local animals and keep ecological balance by planting millions of trees spanning the length and breadth of the whole country. They plan to connect and expand preexisting forests, which will aid in the regrowth of the nation’s once-massive forests.

In planting these trees, once vast habitats for the local wildlife will be restored, aiding in the ecological growth of the area as a whole, since niche communities of animals, plants, and insects will once again be able to thrive. Planting these trees will also help decrease Wales’ carbon footprint, and the country can once again return to its culturally significant roots that focus around the landscape.

All this news is great, but how can we participate at home, you ask? There’s one easy and adorable solution that everyone with a Wi-Fi connection can do!

Zoo and wildlife live streams are getting more traffic

While just about everything is shutting down, zoos, animal reserves, and rescue shelters are all still chugging away, helping animals of all kinds in need. Many of these places offer live streams of their animals, which can be found easily at Explore.org, a site made to live stream educational exhibits from zoos, museums, and animal shelters. After the penguin video went viral, the trend of watching zoo and animal rescue videos has gone up, and this means more exposure for these institutions.

By participating in an animal live stream from a zoo or rescue center, you can make these livestreams more profitable for the organizations through ad revenue. Zoos are usually non-for-profit and don’t get much attention during the colder months, so learning about the animals in these streams can help spread awareness about endangered species, gather funds for the organizations, and increase the zoo’s popularity.

Life may seem messy right now, but there is still so much good news out there. If we all do our part, we can continue making the world a better place.

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