Written by Becky Waldron
Illustrated by Sapphire Ink
2019 is really starting to feel like a year of doom and gloom, isn’t it? Mind you, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were all much of the same. We’re constantly swarmed by the negative things happening around the world, leaving consumers feeling anxious, fearful and in a deep pit of despair.
Of course, bad news sells, but it seems we could all benefit from hearing about the positive events which are happening around the world. Although it’s hard to believe, these do exist and you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve listed some of the positive stories this year has to offer so far…
Indigenous peoples were victorious in protecting the Amazon from oil drilling
On April 26, a historic court ruling took place in which the Waorani people – a group native to the Amazonian region of Ecuador – successfully defended an entire half a million acres of indigenous territory in the Amazon Rainforest. The Pastaza Provincial Court indefinitely suspended plans to auction around 180,000 hectares (one hectares is equal to 10,000 square metres) to oil companies.
Stroke deaths in England have halved in the last decade
According to a study published recently in the British Medical Journal, the number of strokes, and the number of people who died from having a stroke decreased, by 20 per cent thanks to improvements in treatment.
Four teenagers saved 90-year-old woman from house fire
We are almost conditioned to believe the youth of this generation can do no good. However, this heart-warming story of four teenagers in Oklahoma, saving an elderly woman across the street from a fire engulfing her house, shows us that there is courage and generosity in a lot of us. Wyatt Hall, 17, Dylan Wick, 16, Seth Byrd, 16, and Nick Byrd, 14, took the world by surprise.
Entrepreneur is donating unwanted bicycles to underprivileged students in Myanmar
Through large bike sharing schemes can come a vast amount of perfectly good bikes which are left redundant. Mike Than Tun Win, an entrepreneur, has bought 10,000 bikes from bike-sharing companies, which he plans to provide to school children across Myanmar. Many of these children have to walk for hours to get to school and lack transportation as their families simply cannot afford it. Thus, they will benefit incredibly from this act of kindness.
First UK supermarket chain to eliminate plastic from produce
There’s only so much we, as individuals, can do to help save the state of the planet. It is of some reassurance to know the third largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, has fully committed to cutting 1,284 tons of plastic from their supply chain over the next year. The company have already implemented measures that are leading to a reduction of 8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and single use plastic every year. Its latest efforts bring this total to over 10,000 tonnes.
A Muslim community group has launched in Birmingham helping to integrate cultures
A volunteer-led group has been launched in Birmingham that helps combine Muslim and British values to help the local community. Imran Hameed began Bearded Broz during the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Hameed and some other volunteers collected donations and headed to London to help victims. Now, Bearded Broz promotes Islamic values, breaking down negative stereotypes of the religion and how they go hand-in-hand with British values. Those from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and ages are part of the communal group and aim to look after their neighbours and neighbourhoods.
The world’s first crowdfunded hospital which built in a conflict zone has proved a sanctuary of hope
Hope Hospital for Children, in Syria, has defied the fate of many other healthcare facilities in the war-torn country. As these much needed institutions are often a target of destruction, this hospital has battled through the odds in a dangerous environment, saving thousands of children’s lives. Donors from around the world pledged £246,000 to fund its construction back in 2017. However, last year, due to a funding crisis, the hospital faced closing but it was saved by donors as they pledged a further £480,000.
Canada bans whale and dolphin captivity
Canada’s parliament approved a bill that bans keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity for entertainment. Canada is now one of the 11 leading countries that have taken a stand against the keeping and breeding of these animals for the sake of human pleasure.
On the topic of saving whales…
No whales will be harpooned in Icelandic waters this summer
For the first time in seventeen years, there will be no whaling around Icelandic seas. As whale meat is becoming increasingly unpopular in the international market, and no-fishing coastal zones expand, the nation’s major whaling companies have abandoned their whaling plans for the season.
‘Rainbow Railroad’ has been helping LGBTQ+ citizens escape their repressive nations
Non-profit organisation, Rainbow Road, has been helping hundreds of LGBTQ+ people around the globe escape governments that oppress their sexuality. A sexuality that can put their freedom, safety and lives at great danger. Similarly to how the Underground Railroad helped African-American slaves escape to freedom, this organisation rescues those that identify as LGBTQ+ and transports them to a life of safety and liberation.
As you can see, despite the narrative of the UK’s mainstream media, there are a lot of positive and uplifting stories to be found in the world – this article names only a small fraction.
Of course, negative news will never cease and it is vital for us to be aware of what else is happening in the world. Yet, it is how we as humans choose to deal with it and with each other. People can prove much more generous and kind than we might have been swayed to believe.
Becky studied at the University of Sussex and currently lives in Brighton. She specialises in musical journalism and writes poetry and songwriting in her spare time on the side of doing care work.
Edited by Stephanie Kleanthous