Reasons to Be Cheerful in 2022
I met Michaela Haas because her book Bouncing Forward: The Art and Science of Resilience was published shortly after my Bouncing Back. We quickly learned we shared a deep resonance about the resilience mindset – using setbacks as a cue to learn how to navigate life differently, “transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs” as was the original sub-title of Bouncing Forward.
Michaela has always been an excellent investigative journalist and now writes for Reasons to Be Cheerful, a daily feed of stories about people working hard, and working skillfully, to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing our communities, our planet. I’m finding these stories more than hopeful; they inspire me to double-triple my efforts to make a difference in people’s lives, in reversing the destruction of the earth itself.
A Tall, Cool Glass of Air – emerging technology to pull drinkable water from the atmosphere. At any given time, the atmosphere contains nearly six times more water than all the rivers on the planet together. Harvesting this resource is the brainchild of environmental architect David Hertz, whose Skysource box pulls 600 liters of water from the air each day. (Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2020.) Hertz is currently partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme to bring drought disaster relief to Uganda, Liberia, and India.
Amsterdam’s Instant Fix for Getting Rid of Junk Mail – Amsterdam pioneered an opt-in system for junk mail in 2018. Instead of opting-out of each individual mailer as we have to do in the United States, in order to receive junk mail in Holland you have to put a Ja-Ja sticker on your mailbox that declares that you want the junk mail. Residents who don’t opt-in, effectively opting out of all junk mail, can report the delivery of unwanted mail to the city; the sender will be fined 500 euros (about $560 USD). Amsterdam is saving 6,000 tons of paper and 700 trash runs each year.
Locked Up and Finding Their Way Together – inmates in California’s Lancaster maximum security prison are paired with dogs from over-crowded shelters who would be otherwise euthanized for lack of space. The inmates train the dogs so they can earn a Good Canine Certificate and become more adoptable. (All 680 dogs have been placed, thus saved.) 39 inmates/trainers, most with life sentences, have had their sentences commuted, more than any other prison program in California. The program deliberately matches the dog with three inmates, one white, one Black, one Hispanic to overcome the racial violence all too prevalent in prisons. One of the first inmates released back to the community, Jim Grobman, says, “Hurt people hurt people. A large percentage of inmates grew up in violent households or were abused. It’s about breaking that cycle. So many didn’t have someone they could trust. The program humanizes you and makes you feel you’re worthy of love.”
Each article lets you know it’s a 4-minute read (or 5 minutes, or 6). I find those 4 minutes give me a lift for the entire rest of the day. Enjoy your exploration into solid reasons to be cheerful in 2022.