It’s easy to scroll through your favorite news source and find sadness, anger and inhumanity. Whether you listen to the radio, read the newspaper or browse trending topics on social media, the news is littered with stories of bombings, illnesses, and political drama.
The media often makes money from news that is miserable rather than joyous. As a result, happiness is a rare event. It is so difficult to find good news that many people are in the dark when it comes to amazing things happening all over the world.
In an attempt to correct this situation, the Pilot has documented a small series of great, feel-good news stories heard by students on campus.
Many people may associate the East African country of Kenya with its recent highly publicized election, which has been controversial and at times quite nasty.
However, the country has just implemented the strictest and strongest ban on plastic bags in the world. The law prohibits manufacturers from making bags, and suppliers from importing them. Penalties include four years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines.
The United Nations Environment Program states that Kenya uses up to 100 million single-use plastic bags and, with few public waste services and resources, many of these plastic bags are disposed of improperly, thus harming sea life and human health. The ban on plastic bags is an action worth celebrating.
On the other side of the world in Bali, on island nation Indonesia, individuals are being praised for acts of humanity and selflessness in response to an alert about possible volcanic action from Mount Agung, an active volcano on the island. Many inspiring stories have come out of evacuations of locals and tourists, including the mission of saving animals from the path of destruction.
Because so many people needed to be evacuated with such little room, residents had to leave pets behind. Luckily, organisations like Bali Adoption and Rehabilitation Center, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, the Centre for Orangutan Protection, and Animals Indonesia worked together to rescue the animals.
Hundreds of volunteers collected dogs, cats, cows and goats and relocated them to safer areas. Despite extreme danger, volunteers entered evacuated zones to free animals. Volunteers described letting birds loose from their cages and cutting dogs loose from their chains to give them an opportunity to survive. Other pets were relocated to shelters, where they were fed and cared for until their owners arrived to continue the care.
Many people depend on Mount Agung for their livelihood. The volcano is a popular location for cattle farming and provides a major income for many residents. With support from the government, 10,000 cows were relocated from the area and many lives were saved.
At present, Europe is arranging plans for the United Kingdom to leave the EU. It is also busy discussing the repercussions of Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum.
In other news, however, Europe experienced a triumph in the name of equality, with Norway declaring that it will pay its national men’s and women’s soccer team equally. The women’s team, originally earning 3.1m Krone, will now earn 6m Krone, an amount that is equal to the men’s team. This includes all the benefits the male Norwegian players receive for commercial activities and product endorsements.
Supposedly, this is the first deal of its kind. Freshman Noah Stewart, a student from Germany, described the progressive situation unfolding in Northern Europe. He said, “Norway is very good with social justice and environmental sustainability. They’re a good pioneer for equality.”
Equality advocates are hoping that Norway’s new terms will pressure UEFA and FIFA to increase their payments to women’s teams. In 2014, Germany received $35 million for winning the men’s World Cup while in 2015, the women’s team only received $2 million for the same result.
“Nowadays gender equality shouldn’t be an issue,” Stewart said, “but sadly, it is, so it is great to see some further improvement for women.”