Get the Good News Where You Can

Good news can be hard to come by. Let’s take it where we can get it, shall we?

  1. Biden cancels the KeyStoneXL Pipeline – good riddance to this investment in backwardness
  2. Biden signs orders to roll back Trump’s environmental idiocy – now begins the great work to fix the best efforts of grifters and the former toddler-in-charge
  3. Finance behemoth Blackrock ramps up to tamp down greenhouse gas emissions – it’s tough to trust anything from the hypocritical finance industry, but BlackRock is the industry leader and is at least partly acting like it
  4. Falling birthrates are opening the door to rewilding – shrinking populations bring a ton of challenges, but they’re also allowing our fellow living creatures a little breathing and living space
  5. Organized efforts to fully protect much larger swaths of the Earth are growing – 30×30 is just one of a ton of groups working to save what’s precious
  6. Bali finds a worthy task for unemployed hospitality workers: restoring coral reefs – these are baby steps but essential for keeping Bali’s ocean waters and economy alive
  7. Gen Z continues to lead the charge, and it starts locally with groups like Gambier Island Guardians – young people are fighting to save what we have, and it’s that desire that gives our society any hope of changing how we live
  8. Going full war-mode on climate change is becoming a thing – economists like Mariana Mazzucato and policy commentators like Seth Klein are putting in the work to outline how governments should and can rightfully fight climate change with wartime-like efforts
  9. NY is developing a viable solution to fix recycling – maybe it’s a long shot, but we need recycling to work
  10. GM plans to abandon combustion engines by 2035 – partly a PR exercise, yes, but if GM sticks to this promise it will help make a possible shift in car culture the real deal

This is a snapshot of recent good news for life on our planet. If you look outside at any moment it would be easy to discount these developments; life (excluding Covid, of course) looks largely the same as ever. But if you dig in to this news, and appreciate these are samples only and not the totality, then you can feel that change is happening — because a growing number of people are recognizing that our current path is a suicidal.

The hope, of course, is that these developments large and small are cumulative, that even without everyone on board with them we will reach some positive tipping point and centuries of havoc and devastation will be reversed.

Probably not. If you read the words from Duane Elgin — whose book Choosing Earth I’ve just begun — we’re 20 years too late. Roy Scranton agrees: now is the time to adapt, to live with what we and our ancestors have wrought.

But that doesn’t mean we give up. We have to choose how to manage the fallout of the past. The future isn’t written. We do have choices: of how we live now and especially about how we manage the fallout of our choices up till now. Not doing anything, pretending nothing needs to be done, or perhaps worst of all choosing to live only for the moment, is the cowardly act. As Elgin notes

I’ve had a short poem posted on the frame of my computer for years. It’s a Zen poem, and it says, “No seed ever sees the flower.” We plant seeds with books, films, business organizations, social movements, and so on, in hopes we will see them flower. The Zen proverb advises us to give up hope that we will see the results of our actions. Accept that we may not see the flowering. The seeds we are planting now may flower long after we move on. Our job now is to be visionary farmers — and to plant seeds of new possibilities without the expectation we will see their flowering.