It’s no secret that as the news industry continues to shrink and consolidate, and new crises seem to pop up daily across the world, a handful of tragic or dramatic stories and events tend to dominate media coverage. Lost amid this noise are the countless good stories that happen every day.
“Uplifting” stories, in particular, tend to get crowded out. But that doesn’t mean that positive things aren’t happening, or that people at grassroots and governmental levels alike aren’t improving living conditions for all of us.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis, good things are happening around the world. They’re not happening in isolation, either. They’re usually part of broader trends that suggest the decade ahead could be more inclusive, sustainable, and liberating.
Here are seven stories from the past week that you might have missed.
1. Indigenous Illustrator Wins the Caldecott Prize for the First Time
The American Library Association’s prize for the best children’s picture book of 2020 — known as the Caldecott Medal — went to We Are Water Protectors, a book created by two Indigenous women, Michaela Goade, a Tlingit artist, and Carole Lindstrom, a writer from the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe.
Goade became the first Indigenous illustrator to ever win the award. The book was inspired by the Indigenous protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read more about the prize here.
2. Germany Introduces Sleeping Pods for People Experiencing Homelessness
Large sleeping pods that look like submarines appeared along the streets of the city of Ulm in Germany this week to give people experiencing homelessness who are unable to access a shelter a place to comfortably sleep in the winter weather. While the pods are not a permanent solution to the problem of homelessness, they could provide emergency relief to people in challenging situations, especially because they provide privacy for those within. Read more about this intervention here.
3. New York Pension Funds Divest $4 Billion From Fossil Fuels
New York’s largest pension funds fully divested from fossil fuel companies this week, bolstering a movement that seeks to accelerate the transition to clean sources of energy. Read more about this moment here.
4. Renewable Energy Surpassed Fossil Fuels in Europe for First Time
Renewable sources of energy generated more electricity than fossil fuels in Europe for the first time in history. The milestone provides some hope that the targets set by the Paris climate agreement can, in fact, be achieved — but only if political will is realized. Read more about this trend here.
5. Biden Signed Executive Orders on Racial Justice, Climate Justice, and Human Rights
US President Joe Biden signed a range of executive orders this week that advance racial and climate justice and protect human rights. The reaffirmed his commitment to fighting discrimination and dedicated the govenment to addressing the climate crisis. Read more about the racial justice measures here.
6. India Donated 500,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine to Sri Lanka
The COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been marked by extreme inequality. India is doing its part to mend this rift after donating 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. Read more about this effort here.
7. Bernie Sanders Meme Raised Nearly $2 Million for Charities
Bernie Sanders memes lit the Internet ablaze last week, bringing a lot of people a little bit of joy. Then the meme was put on clothing that ended up raising at least $1.8 million for food and other charities in Vermont. Read more about this feel-good story here.