Good News Edition – October 21, 2017


This morning, I joined a small-but-mighty group of local volunteers to pick up trash around the downtown area in our community. It was a little thing, but it got me thinking about the power of small, local actions.

Because I only had an hour to spare, I almost didn’t go. I felt bad that I was going to have to bail out early. Also, when I looked at the Facebook invite, I saw that more than a dozen folks had checked off that they were Going and a ton more had checked Interested, so I figured they’d have plenty of help.

In the end, I decided to go down and join the group, and I was glad I did because there wound up being only nine volunteers at the start (including myself and my beau)—a smaller group than anticipated. We all donned our rubber gloves, pulled open our trash bags, and headed out to our designated areas. We weren’t trying to clean up the entire town. We knew we only had a few people and only a couple hours, but we didn’t let that discourage us from doing SOMEthing.

Between the two of us, my beau and I did our best to clear the trash (and an enormous number of cigarette butts) from a municipal parking lot. As we worked, we talked about how awful it was that people felt entitled to leave their trash around. We wondered how people grew up to feel that it was okay to make a mess and leave it for someone else to clean up. We shared frustration that even some of the local businesses and various apartment buildings didn’t seem to make any efforts to at least maintain their own properties or the public spaces immediately adjacent to their properties. It got us thinking more about the meaning of the word “community” and how it stands for more than just the space within a set of geographical boundaries.

The other interesting thing I realized while out there picking cigarette butts and nip bottles out of the weeds was that it’s only by getting out “in the trenches,” as the saying goes, that you can really start to understand the problem and get some clarity on solutions. For instance, my beau and I found there was one particular area in the parking lot that had the highest concentration of cigarette butts. This was clearly a problem area, but we wouldn’t have been able to identify it if we hadn’t been out there working to clean it up. While we would like to think that we could encourage local citizens to have better manners and dispose of their butts and trash responsibly on their own, we know better than to expect miracles. However, we started thinking about whether we might petition the town or even some local business owners to install some receptacles for cigarette butts in this one area. We were able to see the need and the solution very easily. Next step: taking some additional action to see if we can’t get that solution implemented.

I guess my point is this: each small action matters. There are so many crises and battles to deal with these days, that it’s easy to feel totally overwhelmed. And once you start feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to succumb to a kind of paralysis that keeps you from doing anything because everything feels futile. It’s so important to remember that any action—no matter how small—is a positive step. Will the parking lot where my beau and I worked this morning be full of new trash in a week or two weeks? Probably. Do I feel like the hour I spent this morning was a waste of time? Definitely not. We all have to start somewhere, and as our small actions build, we gather momentum. And the more we’re taking action, the more we’re out there in the world getting first-hand experience with the problems that need solving, and the better equipped we are to help find the solutions.

And on that optimistic note, here’s this week’s collection of Good News headlines.

Enjoy!

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In local good news:

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Planet Earth:

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There’s also some good news on the elections front.

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And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front: 

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We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:

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And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:

 

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* Hat tip to What Went Right (WWR)

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Photo Credits:

“Mass State House Dome”: Photo Credit: twiga_swala Flickr via Compfight cc“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“I Voted”: standing8 Flickr via Compfight cc
“Blind Justice”: Government of Prince Edward Island Flickr via Compfight cc
“Russia Sickle”: AK Rockefeller Flickr via Compfight cc
“Snark Kitty”: Gratisography