Over 25 years, Hikmet Kaya, a Turkish forester and his team have planted 30 million trees, transforming the area around their village into a lush oasis in the midst of barren land.
By letting its readers borrow a person instead of a book, an unusual library in Denmark aims to fight prejudice and cultural stereotypes. Readers learn from the “living stories”, often told by representatives of various minorities.
Czech, Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian musicians teamed up for a charity event to show their support to those affected by the war in Ukraine and recorded a track, I Won’t Give Up.
A period of heavy rains and flooding didn’t deter an Indian couple from tying the knot. They sailed to their wedding down the flooded streets of their town in a cooking pot.
Dinamo Bucharest players turned up on the pitch before a game accompanied by abandoned dogs from animal shelters. Viewers could later adopt the dogs they had seen on television.
Postman Liu Baocho has delivered parcels and letters to people in remote parts of China who would be otherwise cut off from the world.
High school students in Bradford, Rhode Island, built a wooden shelter for a disabled five-year-old boy so he wouldn’t get wet while waiting for the school bus.
Brazilian skydiver Luigi Cani released 100 million seeds from 28 native trees while leaping from a plane over a deforested area of the Amazon rainforest.
To protest against unequal Covid restrictions that forced museums and galleries in Holland to stay closed, leading cultural institutions were temporarily transformed into establishments not affected by lockdown. For one day, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam turned into a nail salon, the Limburgs Museum in Venlo into a gym, and concert halls across the country into hair salons.
A Finnish woman has been cleaning the grimy homes of strangers for free. Auri Kananen (aka Aurikatariina, Queen of Cleaning) has focused on people who are unable to look after their own homes because they have found themselves in difficult situations or suffer from mental health problems.
In 1982, Japanese yachtsman Kenichi Horie was the first person to sail solo across the Pacific. He repeated his voyage sixty years later, becoming the oldest person to make a non-stop crossing from Japan to the United States.
The President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, personally walked an 11-year-old girl with Down‘s syndrome to school after he heard that she was being bullied.
Officials in Melbourne, Australia, assigned an email address to each of the city’s 70 000 trees to make it easier for local residents to report broken branches and other damage. Instead, people from all around the world started sending the trees love letters and fan mail.
At the Prado Museum in Madrid, visitors can enjoy the painting The Sense of Smell by Brueghel the Elder and Rubens not only with their eyes but also with their nose. The Old Masters’ painting is accompanied by the scent of orange blossoms, jasmine, figs, as well as African civet.
When the war in Ukraine broke out, twelve-year-old Gabriel Clarkie from England decided to help children caught up in the conflict by making a wooden bowl. His Bowl for Ukraine went viral, raising a quarter of a million pounds sterling, which he sent to the war-torn country.
Nine-year-old Lowri from Nottinghamshire in England was so upset by the lack of glasses-wearing princesses in fairytales that she decided to write a letter to the executive director of Disney. The animated picture Encanto, released three years later, features the first Disney heroine with glasses.
Thanks to the tradition of mowing and raking by hand the Kopanecké Meadows in the Slovak Paradise region have the richest biodiversity in the world, with 54 types of higher plants in an area of just 0.25 square metres.
Roger Federer surprised one of his child fans, Izyan Ahmad, by flying him to Zurich and playing a game with him. The Swiss tennis star fulfilled a pledge he had made to the young man, known as Zizou, who challenged him to a match five years earlier.
The New York Public library gave away half a million books from its holdings to children and teenagers to help them build their own home libraries and enable the young people to study and develop their skills even during school holidays.
After forty years, rhinos have been reintroduced to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique.
Switzerland has banks not just for money but also for time. The Ministry of Health came up with the concept of Time Banks where young people can deposit hours spent by looking after lone seniors. They will be able to take out the time they deposited when they themselves grow old and dependent on other people’s care.
While Mariupol was under bombardment, a former night club owner bought a van and used it to gradually evacuate 200 people from the besieged city.
Coral Vita, an organisation in the Bahamas, has been growing corals on the mainland and later planting them in the sea, to help restore and protect the marine ecosystem.
After more than thirty years, women cyclists have returned to the Tour de France.
A Californian man adopted a 16-year-old dog so that it wouldn’t die alone in a shelter. However, the dog recovered in his care and started enjoying life again.
Rescue workers and volunteers in a refugee camp organized a birthday party for a seven-year-old Ukrainian girl.
Nzambi Matee, an engineer in Nairobi, has invented a method of turning disposable plastic into bricks that are stronger than concrete. Her bricks are now used to build nurseries, schools and roads in Africa.
After the holidays, students in Prague made use of the Christmas tree in Old Town Square to build insect hotels to give to care homes for the elderly.
People in Berlin have been welcoming Ukrainian refugees with banners and information on how many people can find temporary refuge from the war.
Fans of the Spanish football club Real Betis threw thousands of stuffed toys onto the pitch at half-time. The toys were later donated to disadvantaged children as a Christmas gift.
At the age of 19, Belgian-British aviator Zara Rutherford became the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world solo. During her five-month journey, in a microlight aircraft designed in the Czech Republic and built in Slovakia, she covered more than 51,000 kilometres and flew over five continents undeterred by frost, storms, smog or bureaucracy.
A dog named Patron helped Ukrainian emergency services find 200 unexploded bombs. President Zelenskyy awarded Patron the Order of Courage.
Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch organization that has been developing effective technologies for cleaning the ocean, reached an important milestone when it removed more than a hundred tons of plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean.
Jane Goodall, the British primatologist who has studied chimpanzees and humans since 1960, received the prestigious Templeton Prize for her unwavering scientific and spiritual curiosity. A world-famous toymaker congratulated her on the award by unveiling a special-edition doll depicting Goodall as part of its “Inspiring Women” collection.
Two-year-old Barrett from Texas ordered 31 cheeseburgers while playing with his mother’s mobile phone. Since the order couldn’t be cancelled, she threw a cheeseburger feast for people in the neighbourhood.
A new law adopted in Switzerland bans people from owning just one guinea pig on the grounds that the animals are a social species.
Staff at the Fotografiska Gallery Bistro in Stockholm wear special aprons that capture CO2 from the air during the day, releasing it at night to feed the bistro’s hydroponic plant garden.
The triple grand slam champion Horia Tecău invited children of Ukrainian refugees to his tennis academy in Romania.
British scientists have developed a jet suit that allows paramedics and doctors to fly up to reach mountain regions that are inaccessible to ambulances and helicopters.
The Supreme Court of Ecuador has banned all oil drilling in the Amazon Forest in a historic victory for the local indigenous population. This is an important milestone in protecting sites of environmental and cultural significance in Amazonia.
After war broke out in Ukraine, José Andrés, a famous Spanish chef, travelled to the Polish-Ukrainian border. With his team he prepared thousands of meals a day for refugees, supported by local chefs, restaurants, food producers and suppliers.
When the neighbour who lent a tent to the twelve-year-old English boy Max Woosey died in a hospice, the boy decided to raise funds for homes that care for the terminally ill. By spending 500 nights sleeping in a tent he raised half a million pounds sterling and was met by the Prime Minister.
Two Czech tourists travelling around the world decided to help clean the planet. In the places they visited, they helped local people clean up parks, streets and beaches.
A vault buried inside an icy mountain in the north of Norway holds millions of seeds of plants from every country on the globe. They have been collected by scientists as a basis for renewing the richness and biodiversity on Earth in case of a global catastrophe.
While defending the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers Valeryi and Lesya got married in a meadow on the the city’s outskirts in the presence of Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
A hiker who was injured while climbing in Croatia’s mountains was saved from freezing to death by his dog. The animal lay on top of him, keeping him warm for 13 hours until they were reached by rescuers.
Female Afghan scientists who were forced to leave Kabul showed their robotic inventions at the World Forum in Doha. They have been taking part in science competitions around the world to help young Afghan women develop their engineering, science and technology skills.
The Slovak ultramarathon runner Lenka Vacvalová went to Peru where she ran 850 km along one of the most ancient trails in the world, raising money to buy unique equipment for the children’s oncology clinic in Bratislava.
Italian street artist Cibo has been fighting hatred in the public space by covering neo-Nazi graffiti with colorful murals depicting all kinds of foods.
A daytime disco for seniors has opened in the South Korean capital Seoul to tackle loneliness and old-age dementia. Over-65s can come here to have some fun, re-energize and make friends.
Valentina and Leonid Stoyanov, a veterinarian couple from Odesa, turned their house into a shelter for abandoned animals from Ukrainian towns affected by war.
When the pandemic prevented Australian farmer Ben Jackson from attending his beloved aunt’s funeral, he laid out grain in the shape of a heart on his field, then let his sheep out to pasture. The giant heart created by the sheep sent a message of love to his aunt straight up to heaven.