We like to focus on the positive things in life. Even when the news on the front page of our newspapers makes us feel a little uneasy, at least we can read it while enjoying some ice cream-topped waffles. After all, ice cream makes literally everything better.
Lately, we’ve been wading through a whole lot of groan-worthy news stories to find the chunks of positivity. (Mmmmm, chunks.) But when we find them, those happy news stories really make our day. In a world that too often seems to be choosing fear and division over understanding and inclusion, we are particularly happy to read stories like these — stories about people coming together to work toward a stronger democracy and a more just world.
Item number 1
Paris or Bust
Sure, President Trump decided to officially remove the US from the landmark Paris Climate Accord, making it all that much more difficult for the rest of the world to keep warming below 2° C. But, thankfully, he can’t stop the mighty engine of people power. An impressive 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses (including Ben & Jerry’s!), investors, and colleges and universities from across the US or with significant operations in the US have declared that they are still in — still in for lowering the US’s emissions, still in for making the US a global leader in clean energy, and still in for supporting the Paris Climate Accord. That’s a pretty cool decision, and we think resisting bad decisions, and standing up for your values is what the world needs right now.
Item number 2
That’s the number of people who turned out for just four of the largest demonstrations in Washington, DC this spring. This chaotic and divided political climate may have come with a lot of casualties (like facts), but one thing that it has given birth to is a culture of mobilization for our values. As we’ve seen during the Women’s March, the People’s Climate March, the Science March, and tons of other demonstrations around the country, millions of people are coming out and making their voices heard for what they believe in. They care so deeply about climate action, LGBTQ rights, women’s equality, and racial equity that they’re traveling to Washington, DC or to their own state capitals and marching for causes they believe in. And they are doing it in unprecedented numbers, which makes us hopeful.
Item number 3
Taking Back Democracy
We’ve seen several huge wins for democracy this year. The Supreme Court declined to reinstate North Carolina’s atrocious voting law which would have instituted a strict voter ID requirement, shortened early voting significantly, and prohibited out-of-precinct voting — all restrictions that targeted African Americans. It’s no secret that there has been a concerted effort in recent years to reduce voting rights among certain groups of Americans — people of color, the elderly, lower-income people, and students — and dilute the power of their votes when they are able to cast their ballots. We’re talking about voter ID laws, the myriad of obstacles to getting registered, and comically gerrymandered voting districts (like the two the Supreme Court struck down in North Carolina for relying too heavily on race). Texas saw a voting win, too, when its strict voter ID law was struck down by a federal judge.
Item number 4
No, not that kind of engaged. Congressional lawmakers have been holding town hall style meetings to standing-room-only crowds, getting citizens engaged at a rate rarely seen in recent years. And when that many people are willing to risk back pain and a grumbly tummy to talk about the issues, you know it’s a big deal. Whether they’re protesting a legislator’s voting record, asking questions, or simply talking about their experiences and what they believe in, more people getting involved with the political process is a win for democracy. They may have money, but we have people!
Item number 5
Banning the Muslim Ban
In a huge win, both of the Trump Administration’s attempts to bar all travel from Muslim-majority countries were struck down handily by courts earlier this spring. While the administration tried to claim the travel bans were not religiously motivated, that was a lot like banning Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Therapy, and Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core from your freezer but claiming it wasn’t a chocolate ban. Really? We’re not buying it. What we are buying is the courage of the judges who stood up to the President of the United States by challenging and eventually halting the ban, allowing once more for free travel between the US and Middle East.
Item number 6
Renewables Crushing It
Remember those 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges from #1 who are still supporting the Paris Climate Accord? We’re sure most of them are doing it because keeping the earth at a healthy temperature is the right thing to do. But some might be doing it because renewable energy is crushing it lately. Investing in renewables is simply a smart move. In 2016, solar energy was creating jobs at 17 times the rate of the national economy, and today there are more than twice as many solar jobs in the US than coal and mining jobs. Wind power knocked it out of the park, too, topping 100,000 jobs in the US. Renewables to the rescue!
Like what you see? We can keep the positive news stories coming if we continue to unite and speak out against injustices. Together, we are amazingly powerful.