By Cheryl Mahoney
Do you get tired of hearing about kidnappings and fires and robberies and foreclosures on the news all the time? If you remember my post a few months ago on this subject, you know I do. In discussing the news, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If we read of one man robbed, or murdured, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked…we never need read of another.” I think that sums it up rather well, and a hundred and fifty years later, he’s still right.
But not to worry, because I think I found an answer. Or at the least, a good resource for different news–news that will make you smile. When looking for something positive, what could be better than Positive News International? This is a quarterly publication covering news from all over the world, with a focus on the kind of stories that don’t usually show up in mainstream media. They try to highlight people who are doing great things to better the world, and, ultimately, to inspire others for change.
So instead of reading about a murder on the other side of the country, you can read about Will and Ed. They’re walking around Britain’s countryside, learning about the places, the land and the people, gathering traditional songs and singing them to earn money to fund the trip along the way. Who wouldn’t want to hear more about that story? And I think Thoreau would approve of this sort of endeavor. Naturally, you can argue that Will and Ed don’t have much relevance to me. But I think they’re at least as relevant as the man murdered 3,000 miles away–and unfortunately, he’s the one who’ll be on my nightly news.
If you’re not interested in traditional British folk songs, maybe you’d rather read the story about Play Pumps–they’re water pumps that double as merry-go-rounds. Play Pumps International wants to install their systems in sub-saharan Africa. The kids get to play, the family gets clean water, the girls get to go to school because they aren’t hauling buckets. This has to be one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time.
You can also read the U.S. edition of Positive News. I love their current front page story: I dare you not to say “aww” over Jasmine, a greyhound who adopts rabbits, chicks, fawns, and whatever else is brought in to the animal sanctuary where she lives. Or maybe you’d like to read about the school that earned the title “The Kindest Middle School in Maine.”
Of course the bad news is out there, and we do have to pay attention to it because sometimes it matters. But I find it so reassuring to know that the good news is also out there. And it matters too.