Weeks 68 & 69: Altruistic Stories from the BSU Peace Center

September 27, 2021

For the 68th & 69th consecutive weeks, the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies has compiled a list of acts of kindness and peace. The initiative began as a response to COVID-19 and the racism pandemic but has broadened to include any act of compassion or service to others. Please share these stories. If you have stories of positive acts people/organizations are taking and you would like to share them, please email them to Brandon Miller at peacecenter@bsu.edu. All the stories starting from week 1 are available online (www.bsu.edu/peacecenter). Additionally, you can follow the Peace Center on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) at bsu4peace.

Week 68

Malawi Inventor lights up his whole village Basically for Free- Starting with a Bicycle and a River . 

In Colrerd Nkosi's hometown of Mzimba, Malawi, electricity is scarce, so Nkosi took it upon himself to utilize the junk around his home to invent a sustainable way to generate electricity.  After multiple trials and errors, he was finally able to build an electric turbine by only using a “ repurposed corn-shelling machine motor and a fast-moving river.”  This new invention not only brings electricity to all of his neighbors but also counters deforestation by reducing the necessity for charcoal.  The only form of payment that Nkosi requests is a maintenance fee of 1 euro. Nkosi also hopes to be a mentor to the children in his village so that they too could improve their skills.

Source: Good News Network - https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/malawi-inventor-lights-up-village-for-free-with-bicycle-and-river/


As a child, she wrote to a WWII vet. He carried the letter everywhere, and 12 years later, they finally met.

What was originally a class project brought two strangers together. In 2009, Frank Grasberger, a  WWII vet, received a letter from then 9 years old Dashauna Priest. Grasberger went on to keep this letter hoping that one day they could potentially meet. Twelve years later, that day finally arrived. After showing the letter to Jill Pawloski, resident services director of the senior residence facility where Grasberger lives. Palowski  proceeded to search through Instagram and locate Dashauna. Palowski then sent a message to Dashauna to not only confirm her identity but also set up a surprise meeting. Grasberger was extremely excited to finally meet Dashauna who also went into the military. Both of them went on to regularly meet throughout the years. Grasberger went on to mention that he considered her as a daughter.

Source: The Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/09/14/wwii-vet-letter-child-war/


The world’s biggest plant to capture CO2 from the air just opened in Iceland

Climeworks, a swiss organization that specializes in technology to CO2, built a plant that will automatically capture CO2 from the atmosphere.  This new facility will aid in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases currently polluting our environment. The plant is located in Iceland and is said to “capture 4,000 metric tons” of carbon dioxide every year. The plant uses fans to capture the CO2 within a sponge filter, which is then heated to release the gas. It is then mixed with water and pushed deep underground into basalt caverns where it cools and later turns into stone. One of the co-founders of the plant mentions the revolutionary effect it will have in combating climate change. 

Source: Good News Network - https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/iceland-builds-a-factory-to-bury-co2-in-rock/


Week 69

Dutch prisons turned into welcoming homes for refugees

Plunging crime rates throughout the Netherlands have left Dutch prisons empty - and a new, creative way has been found to make those empty buildings useful. The government has restyled these former prisons to become temporary homes for refugees and has partnered with an artist group called United Painting to make these buildings beautiful. Partnering with local artists, United Painting has turned these buildings into functional pieces of art, transforming “ this huge complex with six giant grey towers that have long been an eyesore in Amsterdam’s skyline” into a beautiful, welcoming place for refugees. While living in these restyled buildings, refugees practice their Dutch, learn to ride bikes, and create lasting connections.

Source: https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/artists-turned-empty-dutch-prisons-into-colorful-homes-for-refugees


“One lawn chair at a time.” How a community has been working together to prevent crime.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, has long struggled with crime and violence, sometimes seeing up to eleven homicides a month. In the wake of recent police brutality and urban violence, community members are stepping up to help prevent crime. The 21 Days of Peace event saw community members and church congregations becoming “violence interrupters”, by seating themselves on lawn chairs in particularly dangerous neighborhoods. Police statistics show that these actions are working, as homicide numbers in these areas decreased dramatically during these twenty one days, and in the months following. This movement has inspired similar movements across the country, as communities work together to stop violence one lawn chair at a time.

Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/minneapolis-nashville-and-baltimore-violence-interrupters/ 


Tackling homelessness and saving money: Permanent supportive housing

Denver, Colorado, like many U.S. cities, struggles with an ever-growing homeless population. Unlike many other cities, however, Denver has taken a new approach to tackle homelessness, while also saving money. The permanent supportive housing program works not only to house unhoused people, but to help them stay housed by providing them with a skilled support team made up of social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and peer mentors. This program is also unique in that instead of putting the burden on unhoused people to find and apply for the program, it actively tracks down people that need its services. This program has both decreased Denver’s homeless population and saved them money by lowering the city’s spending on “police, court, emergency medical, ambulance, and jail services.” This program is not without its struggles, however. There is pushback from conservatives, homeowners, and businesses, too many people and not enough beds, and the challenge of finding skilled teams to run the program. But with the statistics in permanent supportive housing’s favor, it’s likely that this program will continue to develop and grow. 

Source: https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/how-denver-tackled-homelessness-while-saving-money

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