November 14, 2017
Time for Some Good News!
Between the hurricanes, wildfires, North Korea, and climate change, we’ve been bombarded with a lot of bad news recently. It’s enough to make you think that bad is the only kind of news is there is.
Well, we’re the kind of people who like to think of the pint as half full, so we make sure to focus on all the good that people are doing too. Ready for eight inspiring stories that’ll have you feeling better in no time? Let’s go!
Parking Pays It Forward
OK, nobody loves feeding parking meters, but Milwaukee, Wisconsin, started a program that might change your mind. It uses all the money collected from select meters around the city to help the homeless. The repurposed meters, painted gold and shaped like keys, are the brainchild of Key to Change, a local organization dedicated to ending homelessness.
“Burning Books” to Save the Library
In 2011, citing a lack of funds, the city of Troy, Michigan, decided to close its much-loved and -used public library. Its future looked grim until a citizens group jumped in with an unusual strategy for swaying public opinion: an elaborate hoax/viral social-media campaign. They set up a fake organization that supported closing the library for one very controversial reason: they wanted to burn all the books. This “book-burning party” spread like wildfire across social media, angering residents—and motivating them to come out to vote. Although it was a hoax, the effect was very real, and the library was saved. Seriously, watch the video we linked to above.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, knocking out power to just about everyone on the island. Even to this day, a ridiculous number of households remain without electricity. But thanks to a solar array installed by Tesla, one children’s hospital has the lights back on and can focus on helping those in need. Climate change is supercharging the weather across the globe, but utilizing renewable energy is a powerful way to make our energy grids more resilient.
Renewables to the Rescue
Of course, it’s not just about resiliency. Use of renewables is up all over the world, and the prices are coming down. California produced so much solar power over the course of a few weeks last March that it actually paid neighboring states to use it, saving residents in Arizona and elsewhere millions of dollars. And Germany generated so much power through wind at the end of October that its customers got it for free. Renewables are here to stay, and they’re leading the way to a clean-energy future.
Preserving Land, Habitat, and Culture
First Nations groups worked for a decade to preserve land in British Columbia, Canada, that some of their people have lived on for 10,000 years. Concerned about rampant logging, they and environmental groups worked hard to reach a deal with logging companies, and last year they did: preserving 9.1 million acres of Canadian rain forest that represents the “largest tracts of intact temperate rainforest on earth."
Who Is ALEC?
It’s not a who, but a what. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a shadowy national policy group that basically writes laws for state legislatures promoting its pro-corporate agenda. In fact, no surprise, it received piles and piles of cash from corporations—while drafting voter-suppression legislation and controversial laws like Stand Your Ground. Hardly anyone had heard of ALEC, or that companies like AT&T and Coca-Cola backed it, until our friends at Color of Change changed all that with a massive petition-writing campaign that pressured corporations to withdraw funding. Thanks to public pressure, ALEC lost a lot of money and was left significantly weakened.
Believe in Second Chances
Our good friend, Desmond Meade, is behind a remarkable grassroots effort to restore the ability to vote to 1.6 million Florida residents who were once convicted of a non-violent felony. There has never been anything like this in Florida—no citizen-led campaign has ever been so successful. They’ve already come so far, inspiring hope among so many, but now they need to collect enough signatures to get their proposed amendment on the 2018 ballot. Let’s turn a feel-good story into a major victory for democracy! Say yes to second chances today.
Is there still any question about whether people can change the world? Consider the effect of the Beyond Coal campaign. By 2010, activists had already helped prevent 132 proposed coal plants from being built (dozens more have since been added to the list). Yes, the market had begun turning against coal, but activists essentially helped impose a moratorium on the construction of new plants—a major and unsung achievement in the history of modern environmentalism.
We wake up every day excited, knowing that we can make a difference if we all stand together. Want to see more good news out there? Want to feel inspired? Let’s make it happen ourselves.
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