United Methodist Church lifts bans on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings

Good news for humankind!

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

April 29 – May 5 2024 C.E.

United Methodist Church lifts bans on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings

Delegates overwhelmingly approved the changes, 692 to 51, during the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. Shortly after the vote, spontaneous celebrations erupted on the conference center floor. Hundreds of people began cheering and singing. One of the hymn lyrics distinguishable in the crowd was, “You are a child, you are a child of God.” The UMC is one of the largest Protestant denominations in the U.S., with over five million members and 29,000 churches.

G7 agree to close all coal-fired generating stations by 2035

Energy ministers from the G7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union — agreed at a meeting in Turin, Italy, to close all coal-fired generating stations in their countries by 2035 if not sooner. Putting an end date on coal — the most polluting of all fossil fuels — has been highly controversial at international climate talks. Until this point, Japan, which derived 32% of its electricity from coal in 2023 according to the climate advocate Ember, has blocked progress on the issue at past G7 meetings.

Mongolia signs landmark climate finance deal for its grasslands

Mongolia’s government and a coalition of partners have signed a nature finance agreement aimed at protecting 35.6 million acres of the country’s lands and waters, including the world’s last great tract of temperate grassland. The agreement dubbed “Eternal Mongolia” will see a global donor-supported transition fund worth $71 million combined with a government commitment to spend $127 million on conservation over a 15-year period.

Solar is now perhaps being installed faster than any technology in history

Cumulative global installed solar capacity in 2023 passed 1.4 terawatts (TW), which is tenfold larger than ten years ago and doubling every 3 years. At current growth rates (20% per annum), solar will pass fossil gas in 2024 and coal in 2025. Current growth rates also suggest that solar will approach 9 TW in 2031, when there will be more solar generation capacity than everything else combined.

Denmark plans massive 10GW offshore wind tender to insure against “Putin’s black gas”

The Danish Energy Agency announced this week plans for the largest offshore wind tender in the country’s history, which could see anywhere from 6GW to 10GW awarded from six new sites. Denmark is currently operating total offshore wind capacity of 2.7GW, with the 1GW Thor Offshore Wind Farm to be completed in 2027. A further 3GW is expected to be built on the Bornholm energy island being developed between the Danish Energy Agency and Danish TSO Energinet.

Humpback whales make massive comeback on North American West Coast

Seeing just two humpbacks in Puget Sound was noteworthy in the 1980s. Today, the number of humpbacks has grown by an order of magnitude from about 500 on the West Coast to more than 5,000, including about 2,000 in Washington and southern B.C. waters.

Number of houseless people in Japan hits record low

The number of unhoused people in Japan fell 8.0% as of January from a year earlier to 2,820, the lowest level since data began in 2003, the health ministry said in a recent survey report.

Bacterial enzyme strips away blood types to create universal donor blood

There’s a global shortage of blood supplies needed for life-saving transfusions due to factors that include an aging population with a higher demand for it and a lack of volunteer donors. To help address this challenge, researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have used enzymes produced by a common gut bacteria to remove the A and B antigens from red blood cells, bringing them one step closer to creating universal donor blood.

U.S. President Biden forgives more than $6 billion in loans for 317,000 Art Institutes students

The relief will apply to students who were enrolled in the school system between January 1, 2004 and October 16, 2017, during which the U.S. Department of Education found that The Art Institutes made “pervasive and substantial misrepresentations to prospective students about postgraduation employment rates, salaries, and career services during that time,” according to a statement from the Department of Education.

Denmark relaxes abortion law

Denmark is easing its abortion law for the first time in 50 years to allow women to terminate their pregnancies up to the 18th week. The new rules will also allow 15 to 17-year-olds to have an abortion without parental consent and will replace the five regional abortion consultations with a new national abortion board, to avoid local differences.

The United Church of Christ becomes the first mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S. to ordain an openly gay clergyperson (1972 C.E.)

The Rev. Dr. William R. Johnson was the first openly gay person ordained in the United States and perhaps the first worldwide in a mainline Protestant denomination. His ordination took place on June 25, 1972 at the Community UCC in San Carlos, California, authorized by the Golden Gate Association of the Northern California/Nevada Conference UCC.

All of the world’s countries formally legalize same-sex marriage (2065 C.E. ???)

The world’s last countries affirm the right of all adults to love who they love and marry the partner of their choice. The achievement further reduces the stigma against LGBTQ citizens around the world, fostering improved mental health and reducing bullying and violence.

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Changes to weekly schedule

I’ve gotten several notes from you all asking me to move this weekly note to the top of the newsletter. At least a few of you are more interested in hearing from me than the good news portion of the newsletter.

First off, I’m flattered! Thank you for the words of encouragement.

With that said, I am committed to keeping this newsletter focused on good news. (For what it’s worth, I also get occasional notes asking me to just stick to the good news rather than my own reflections, updates, editorialization, etc.)

So to try and balance all of this, moving forward, I will send only good news (i.e. everything that usually comes before this note) on Mondays, as usual. On Wednesdays, I’ll send the note that usually goes right here as a standalone email. That way, you can focus on whatever you want to read most.

Hope that works for you all. Have a beautiful week!

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