Sustainability Success Stories

Every day people do good things for people and the planet. Yet, far more bad news than good news fills the airwaves and social media. I want more good stories.

Yellow Happy Face Ball Among Blue Sad Face Balls

Sure, we need to be informed about melting ice caps, increasing ocean acidification, rising greenhouse gases, spreading land degradation, and escalating environmental injustice, but we need to learn about the good things people are doing to address these issues on a large and small scale too. I believe we need to hear and read about a lot more success stories.

President Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, President Obama vetoed a bill from Congress that would have forced him to approve a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border. This pipeline would to deliver heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico in preparation for exporting.

This fell into the category of good news as far as I am concerned because I am opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. That day a flurry of email announcements landed in my inbox from environmental organization newsletters I subscribe to and the news was trending on Twitter.

The thing that struck me was how many organizations either claimed their part in the victory or said the equivalent of “That’s great, now you need to deny the permit outright,” or both. My reaction was geez give the guy a break. He did a good thing. We should be thanking the President and giving him a chance to catch his breath before hammering him with further demands.

I decided to contribute a positive tweet:

Dear Mr. President, thank you for vetoing the #KeystoneXL pipeline bill. @BarackObama I bet your kids are proud. #nokxl

The events of last Tuesday also prompted this post.

We Need More Good Stories

For the past several months, I find myself wondering why bad news far outweighs good news. How did we get from our ancestors weaving stories around the campfire to being bombarded with tales of greed, hate, and blame from electronic gadgets of every shape and size? Is this what we want or did we just take a wrong turn and are now having a hard time finding our way back? I believe the latter.

These days I am searching for stories that offer something positive or useful. It is not easy to pass over another story describing how a homeowner who let their turf grass lawn die in drought stricken California, was first turned in by their neighbors and then fined by the city. But, I do and then I stumble across a story of a homeowner who transformed their front yard into a food garden and shares their bounty with the neighbors, who love it. I smile and share the link.

People's Raised Arms Showing Thumbs Up Sign

I propose we demand more good stories, success stories, and positive stories by using our remote controls, wallets, and fingers. Let’s turn off the eleven o’clock news, let our newspaper subscriptions lapse, and scroll past the negative headlines. Let’s search for good stories and share them with our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers.

Ratings, circulation figures, and number of clicks do matter.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

2 thoughts on “Sustainability Success Stories”

  1. BRAVO!!! This is my favorite blog that you have written as it expresses so well what has been a concern of mine for so long. Thanks for your insight and concern.

  2. Yeah, I agree!

    Stories shape our culture, who we are. If always negative then we struggle to find hope and incentive to try. It seems hopeless. One good story might inspire others to try, creating their own good story, and a big domino effect.

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