A confession: I'm not the best at keeping up with news and current affairs. I spend a lot of time scrolling social media and various sites online finding titbits to consume, or bits others consider newsworthy... nonsense, really. It's a truth I'm ashamed to admit. In a lot of ways, I take care to educate myself on matters than are important to me, but there's so much of import I am completely ignorant about, because I don't follow news as I should.
When I do seek out news, often I am reminded why I so readily avoid it. I think we can all agree that nine times out of ten, world news is pretty grim. Just today, after five minutes of consuming news online, I felt emotionally drained... turtles dying on U.K. beaches trapped in plastic left by humans; abortion rights threatening to be revoked in developed nations (though how much longer the U.S. can be classified as such remains to be seen); families perishing in Californian wildfires; the rise of the racist right in Italy... it all makes me so angry, so heartsick.
I know it's important to get heartsick sometimes, to see the things that stir us to action. What is that saying? The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing? Preach. But there's also a lot of things we can't undo - wildfires, for example - and the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that reading those things evokes is often overwhelming.
I'm not saying it shouldn't be read, but sometimes it feels like the bad is all that is out there. There are so many wonderful moments and movements happening every day, but they never seem to make the news the same way the bad ones do. I think if we had a little more balance, the bad news would be more digestible, and less overwhelming.
To that end, I've actively sought out some wonderful, utterly heartwarming bits of news which couldn't help but lift my spirits. We have to be reminded of the good in the world to make it one we want to fight for.
LEBRON JAMES OPENS I PROMISE SCHOOL
NBA superstar LeBron James this week opened a first-of-its kind school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. I Promise School aims to meet the needs of 'at risk' children who are prone to falling behind in school. James missed 83 days of school in his third grade year alone, as his young mother struggled to keep a roof over their heads, and moved them from one couch to another. The school provides free tuition, uniforms, bikes and helmets, breakfast and lunch, and transportation to students, as well as offering a food pantry for families, job placements for parents and full tuition coverage at the local University for any student who graduates. Read more here.
BREASTFEEDING (FINALLY) LEGALISED IN ALL FIFTY STATES
This one took me by surprise, as I have to admit I never would have considered public breastfeeding might actually be illegal in any progressive country, but until last week that was the case in Utah and Idaho. Let's hope the law change marks the beginning of a new era in which society finally gets over its weird opposition to women feeding their hungry babies (honestly, the nerve of these women using their breasts for their natural, intended purpose. Who do they think they are?!) Read more here.
NEW ZEALAND INTRODUCES PAID DOMESTIC ABUSE LEAVE
In what has been called a 'huge win,' the New Zealand government last week passed a law which grants victims of domestic abuse ten days paid annual leave to leave their abusive partners, find new homing, and protect themselves and their families. New Zealand is only the second country in the world to introduce such legislation, after the Philippines did the same in 2004. This is a step in the right direction to tackling a massive problem; New Zealand has one of the worst rates of domestic abuse in the world. Read more here.
CAMPAIGN USES TRUMP'S IGNORANCE TO HELP TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE
It's hard not to get frustrated by the endless stream of lies spewed out as fact by POTUS on a regular basis, but perhaps none make my blood boil like those regarding climate change. Oh, didn't you hear? It's just a hoax! All fake news people, nothing to see here. Because it still snows see, so the concept of global warming just doesn't make sense. Sigh. Now, a new campaign by Treespond is tackling the problem with the problem. Saying 'ignorance is as devastating as climate change itself,' the organisation is asking people to rank a series of Trump quotes about the environment, and based on ranking, a certain number of tress will be planted. Voters will be updated on the trees they are responsible for planting. Genius.
LASTLY... KIDS RESTORING FAITH IN HUMANITY
In a proper life-affirming video that has unsurprisingly gone viral, three kids in Colorado were captured doing the ultimate good deed on a security video. Finding a wallet in someone's driveway that just happened to contain $700 (don't ask me who carries that much cash around) the trio pause their bikes games to return the wallet to its owners. Finding no one home, they speak to the security camera saying, 'I'm just going to put it over here so no one takes the money,' before running off to pick up their bikes and ride off into their lovely little lives. Why are kids so pure of soul? Watch the video here.