Good News: Inspiring Reports From a Very Bad Year

Photo: Boyd Huppert, KARE, Minneapolis.

The month of August, especially the end of August, used to be full of quiet news cycles. Vacations were taken; summer Fridays kicked off good long, lazy weekends. Politicians went home to bathe in the love of town halls, surrounded by supporters and softball questions. Well, not this year. The seven months since Donald Trump left his gilded castle in the sky and settled into The Dump, as he calls the White House, has been one long crisis after another, culminating in the horrific display of violent white Supremacy, neo-Nazis and the murder of an innocent woman, Heather Heyer, by an American terrorist.

As a nation, we are exhausted and anxiety-ridden. We don’t know if North Korea will blow up Guam or if America will be blown up by our not-so-closeted racist-in-chief. We open our apps and newspapers each day to some new scandal, some new outrage, some new, combative Trump tweet. We are a country that needs Xanax more than ever.

So I will not talk of the horrors of the lunatic in the Oval Office. Instead, I will end this summer on a note of something good, a note of hope. We need to hope. We need something to make us remember that we’re not on a path to nuclear annihilation due to a temper tantrum by an insecure narcissist with access to the Armageddon football.

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Lost in all the bad news are delicious nuggets that make me feel better about mankind. There is the story my friend Damian shared with me about a 94-year-old Minnesota man who, after losing his wife of 66 years, decided he didn’t want to feel lonely and sad anymore. He built a pool in his backyard so that all the neighborhood kids could come over every day and swim. Instead of crying all day, he delights in watching the pure joy of kids screaming with laughter.

In Africa, elephant numbers have been dwindle due to poachers and ranchers, particularly when the animals stray from protected space onto private land. When Scott Struthers, a Southern California businessman, noticed the steep drop in the numbers of these magnificent animals, he stepped to fund Air Shepherd, a drone program that helps keep elephants in their protected areas and is so good, it’s 100% effective. Struthers also founded Elephant Cooperation, a nonprofit that supports projects to fight the extinction of the elephant.

Back home in the US, mayors have decided that if the Trump administration wants to deny climate change, they will take the lead, defying the White House. Hundreds of mayors have agreed that their towns and cities will continue to fund programs that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create more renewable energy sources; many will continue to work under the tenets of the Paris Agreement. Mayors have discovered that green jobs are better than good — they’re the fastest growing jobs in the market, directly benefiting the economy and everybody’s bottom line.

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The ocean is being cleaned! We’ve all heard about pristine beaches on islands in the most isolated places being despoiled by floating trash and plastic — and that Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. Well, hold onto your flotation device because The Ocean Cleanup has arrived! According to their website, The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. A full-scale deployment is estimated to clean up 50% of the Great Garbage Patch in five years. Feel free to donate to help this extraordinarily project — it will make you feel good.

What else? World hunger reached a 25-year low!

Steve Frost of Redding, CA, with 11-year-old Elmo. (Photo: Steve Frost.)

And for all of you dog lovers out there, adoptions of senior dogs are way up! Just like human adoptions, people want cute babies or puppies, leaving older dogs to live their lives in shelters (if they are not put down). But now people are seeing that bringing an older dog into a loving home is one of the greatest gifts they can give. These dogs deserve to live out their final years surrounded by comfort, a cozy bed and infinite belly rubs. The reward is the feeling of undying love in return: we all know dog love is the best love.

So let’s end summer on a warm and fuzzy note. Let’s look for the good news and kind actions and celebrate these moments as often as possible. We face a tough fall and winter, and to get through it, let’s look for the stories that uplift us and remind us that we can still do great things, that our humanity is still intact. Share any good news stories you can think of in the comments below. And have a great end of summer!