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With so much happening in the world, it can be easy to miss some of the under-the-radar signs of progress for the planet and society. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up several stories to illuminate the positive changes underway.

For example, some experts think we might be closer than ever to changing the course of climate change. And while much work remains, reports from global negotiations in Ottawa indicate that nations are finally making progress on a treaty to end plastic pollution.

We’ve also seen some inspiring stories of support for underrepresented communities, such as this profile of a Black entrepreneur devoting her career to help other Black entrepreneurs and a new program connecting VC-backed startups with diverse talent.

You’ll find more news to brighten your week below.

Scientist Reaches New Heights
Labeling Nalini Nadkarni as fearless might seem natural if you saw her up in the treetops of the Costa Rican rainforest, where she spent years studying the plants, animals and microbes that live in the upper canopy. As a forest canopy researcher, she has climbed countless trees to study these ecosystems.

But Nadkami’s lack of acrophobia (aka, fear of heights) is just one element of her bravery. While many scientists share their research within the scientific community and through venues like museums and zoos, Nadkami has spent her career reaching beyond her bubble to bring science education to people in unconventional ways. She has created programming for the incarcerated, churches, and synagogues, and she even worked with Mattel to create Explorer Barbies.

In addition to her career accomplishments, Nadkami’s account of recovering from a traumatic 50-foot fall to the forest floor is a powerful story of how one can emerge stronger from tragedy. Although doctors once thought she’d never walk again, she fully recovered and even returned to her work of climbing trees.

As a National Geographic Explorer at Large and a senior fellow with the Sorenson Impact Institute, Nadkami continues to inspire and guide the next generation to explore and improve the world.
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Proactively Responding to Climate Risk Creates Value
new study indicates that adapting to climate change and preparing for the green transition protects a company’s market value. Researchers analyzed earnings call transcripts from more than 4,700 companies over a 16-year period, finding that the market rewards companies that take a proactive approach to addressing climate risks.
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Opportunities to Level Up Your Investing Knowledge

If you are trying to expand your impact investing knowledge, our friends at Invest for Better have some upcoming courses for women who want to align their investments with their values. Become an Angel of Change aims to help participants demystify private investing, and Values-Align Your Stock Portfolio will offer insights and practical strategies for aligning public equities investments with your values.
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Bringing Out “Hidden Geniuses”

Aiming to prepare Black men to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists, the Hidden Genius Project program connects young Black males with skills, mentors, and experiences. Eric Steen, the program’s Chicago site director, recently told CBS News, “At the end of the day, we want our boys to have an opportunity. We know that each one of them has a genius deep inside of them and we know that it takes a community to help bring that genius out, and we want to provide that community for them so they can reach their ultimate height."
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250 Inspiring Women Founders
The women who made it onto Inc.’s Female Founders 250 show the tremendous impact women are making in the business world. Collectively, the female founders grew their 2023 revenue to more than $8.86 billion and raised $6.2 billion in funding to date. Just as impressive are their narratives of determination and success, like these stories of courage under fire and profiles of trailblazers like Billie Jean King.
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Ingenuity on Display

Today’s youth never ceases to amaze us. The latest example — 14-year-old Naya Ellis has invented a potentially life-saving device: a stroke-detecting watch. Ellis is one of 143 National STEM Champions who showcased innovations at the first National STEM Festival in DC last month. NBC News has even more examples of their ingenuity, like a Chicago teen working to improve food access and a Colorado boy who designed an early tornado warning system.
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