I really believe that when we share stories of hope and kindness and things that people are doing to make the world a better place, we are helping people see the world differently than they often do in the headlines. That is why I created Hopebuilding, to share those stories.
Others have been doing the same thing. Karunavirus was created by Service Space specifically to find and share such stories. For the past year, I have been one of the many volunteers helping to find, and summarize, the stories for the site. It recently published 10 Insights from 2021 That Give Us Hope, which you should definitely read if you want to learn how we help and care for each other, friend and stranger alike. (You might be familiar with their Good News Network, which has been sharing these stories since 1997.)
If you want other stories you won’t necessarily find in the headlines, have a look at Reaaons To Be Cheerful, which regularly shares stories of how people are solving problems and finding new ways to do things.
I subscribe to a wonderful Australian newsletter published by Future Crunch, because I feel good every time I read it. At the end of 2021, they published 99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2021. What I most like about their approach is that they help me understand how all of the many smaller stories fit together into a bigger picture.
Through them I learned about the Progress News Network, which regularly publishes a newsletter entitled What Could Go Right? It features stories from around the world.
In the UK, Positive News also shares stories that will give you a much more cheerful view of the world. It grew out of marine biologist Nancy Knowleton’s realization that it was vital to share stories of achievement in the natural world. She created a twitter hash tag to do that, and it grew into a movement – and a magazine.
Amanda Ripley wrote an influential essay some years back which noted that much journalism seemed to be focusing on problems rather than offering solutions. It led to some serious rethinking in journalism circles, and to the Solutions Journalism Network. An evaluation of its work found that: “Solutions stories outperform problem-focused news; are more interesting, trustworthy, and uplifting; and inspire people to get involved.” You can find a great many of their solutions stories at SolutionsU. (You also might want to read her most recent book, High Conflict, if you are looking for alternatives to tribalism in everyday life. It’s a wonderfully insightful guide to how ‘good conflict’ can help us solve problems in constructive ways.)
I also have been following a great podcast series, also called What Could Possibly Go Right?, which is hosted by Vicki Robin, who wrote Your Money or Your Life with Joe Dominguez. And let me share a small secret – when I feel less optimistic in my life, I listen to a wonderful podcast Vicki did with Kate Raworth and Roman Kznaric, and it always cheers me up.