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Karuna News

“Nurturing is not complex. It's simply being tuned into the thing or person before you and offering small gestures toward what it needs at that time.” -- Mary Anne Radmacher.

Hello everyone! Sometimes the issues and problems we face as a country, nation, or world can feel just too big. We may think there is nothing we could do that will make a difference; and yet, this week’s stories remind us that each and every effort made does matter. Among our stories, we learn about a teen creating detection for land mines; a woman devoting her life to trees; and two men picking up thousands of pounds of trash! May these acts of courageous kindness bring hope and new possibilities into your future!

YOUTH

Teen In Ukraine Invents Drone That Can Detect Land Mines

Teen In Ukraine Invents Drone That Can Detect Land Mines

Igor Klymenko via Smithsonian Magazine

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, 17-year-old Igor Klymenko had to flee his home in Kyiv. He and his family moved to the countryside and took up shelter in a basement, as explosions took place outside. After three weeks, the teenager revisited a passion project: creating a drone that could find unexploded land mines. In 2014, when Klymenko was just 9 years-old, Russia invaded Crimea and he learned about the global land mine crisis (as many as 110 million land mines could be buried in 60 countries). While sheltering from the attacks, the teen thought "I can't give up," he told Smithsonian Magazine. "My people are defending Ukraine, my country, me, my family, and I should also help them." As he finished his senior year in high school amid sheltering from the attacks, Klymenko worked with scientists and programmers to hone his Quadcopter Mines Detector. Now, he has two working prototypes and two Ukrainian patents. In September 2022, Klymenko was awarded the Chegg.org Global Student Prize for his efforts. Today, Klymenko is a computer science and mathematics students at Canada's University of Alberta. He continues to refine his device and hopes to create a minimum viable product by the end of the year. Read Full Story.

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EVERYDAY HEROES

Hurricane Ian Dumped Trash On The Beach. These Guys Picked Up 310 Pounds Of It.

Hurricane Ian Dumped Trash On The Beach. These Guys Picked Up 310 Pounds Of It.

Manny Rionda

Manny Rionda said he has developed a habit he never imagined he'd have: picking up trash. He called it both addictive and life changing. So, when the Florida, US, man saw waste piling up along the shore this week as Hurricane Ian sent tropical-force winds to Miami, he went straight to the beach. He brought with him environmental activist Andrew Otazo. They removed 310 pounds of derelict lobster traps, marine rope and other waste on key Biscayne Beach that had washed up on the shore from the severe winds. The ocean floor has large piles of trash that have accumulated over time and come ashore during weather events. "I'm not just doing this because I want to make a difference; I also want to bring attention to this problem," said Otazo. He said he started doing cleanups five years ago, when he noticed copious amounts of debris trapped beneath the exposed roots of red mangrove trees, which are native to Florida. Mangrove trees play a critical role in protecting the region from erosion, particularly during extreme weather events, including hurricanes. Otazo is committed to protecting the trees; he has spent his weekends for the last five years cleaning up waste from barrier islands. So far, he has removed more than 22,000 pounds of trash from South Florida's coastal ecosystem and says he's just getting started. Read Full Story.

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EVERYDAY HEROES

Woman Devotes Her Life To Planting Trees

Woman Devotes Her Life To Planting Trees

David Vig | Unsplash

Tulsi Gowind Gowda has an extraordinary love for trees. Many people call her "the goddess of trees". Now over 80 years old, Gowda has devoted her entire life to restoring forest ecosystems in southern India that were destroyed during the process of modernization and urbanization. Starting with land behind her family's backyard, Gowda has turned vast areas of land in Karnataka into dense forests. She was an advisor to Adugodi Nanjappa Yellappa Reddy, a top Indian official who was charged with reforesting large areas of land in Karnataka. "There was some magic in her hands," said the 86-year-old Reddy, "Her knowledge to identify indigenous species and collect them carefully and nurture trees can be found in no book." Even though Gowda has long been retired, she continues to share her extensive knowledge and experiences with visitors and the government nursery where she worked for 65 years. Last year, the Indian government awarded Gowda one of the country's highest civilian honors for her lifelong work in forest conservation. Though fully cognizant that the environment has been negatively impacted by human activities, the optimistic Gowda says, "When I see these filled forests here, I feel it is possible for humans to prosper without cutting trees." Read Full Story.

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ELDERS

How Singapore Builds Its Dementia-Friendly Neighborhoods

How Singapore Builds Its Dementia-Friendly Neighborhoods

Straits Times

As its population ages and more younger people are diagnosed with dementia, Singapore is working to develop a wide range of services and programs for the varied levels of support people need at different stages of dementia. Dementia Singapore works with hospitals and community partners to develop different models of care that will help people stay in their homes. Nee Soon, Singapore's first dementia-friendly estate, was co-designed in 2019 by community stakeholders, healthcare partners and design consultants. Buildings are demarcated into three zones by primary colors; staff and retailers are trained to assist people with dementia; and there are go-to-points to which residents can bring wandering people with dementia. Since 2019, Dementia Singapore has been working to bring people with dementia into these planning conversations. To date, there are 15 dementia-friendly communities in Singapore but the goal is to move towards a dementia-friendly Singapore as a whole. Read Full Story.

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ENVIRONMENT

Lights Out In Leiden: Thousands Turn Out To Stargaze In Netherlands City

Lights Out In Leiden: Thousands Turn Out To Stargaze In Netherlands City

Felix Mittermeier | Pexels

On September 25, 2022, thousands of stargazers flooded into the streets of central Leiden, Netherlands, to look at the night sky. Local businesses and residents were encouraged to turn off their lights between 11-11:30PM, so constelations like the Big Dipper and Orion could be more easily viewed by the naked eye. It was an occurance known as "Seeing Stars Leiden," an event organized by Unesco and artist Daan Roosegaarde, as part of a European City of Science series. Ever-increasing light pollution blinds many city residents from seeing the star-studded beauty of the night sky. Artificial illumination also has become a hazard for animals, leading robins to sing under street lamps, migrating birds to swirl in confused circles around oil platforms, and affecting life spans of insects as well as spawning patterns of sea turtles. The event offered an opportunity to view constellations without the strain of human-made illlumination of store window displays, electric billboards, and traffic lights. "Everybody should have the right to see the stars through an unpolluted night sky," Kathleen Ferrier, chairwoman of the Netherlands Commission for Unesco said in an event press release. "Looking at the stars makes you feel connected to each other, we are all part of the immense cosmos." Read Full Story.

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