Tag Archives: good news

Thanksgiving: Rays of Light in Hard Times

We support a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Picture of one of the newly found deep sea coral reefs

Laurie and Debbie say:

Beyond a doubt, we are living in very hard times. That only makes the good news in the world — and there is a lot of it — more important. We can appreciate and enjoy the victories and improvements without denying the rest — and, for people in the U.S., Thanksgiving is a day to do that.

Let’s start with the U.S. elections earlier this month, which were a stunning victory for abortion rights, and a stunning defeat for book banners, anti-trans haters, and the enemies of democracy. The list of victories is far too long to list here, and spans much of the country. The highlights include the landslide passage of Issue 1, amending the Ohio constitution to make abortion legal; Democratic control of both houses in Pennsylvania, re-election of Governor Andy Beshear in Kentucky; victories in Virginia including for Danica Roem, the first transgender state senator in the South; and a resounding across-the-board defeat of book-banners wherever they were running.

Brazil’s president, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva promised to reduce rain forest deforestation, and it’s working. Deforestation is already down 40% so far this year, including an extraordinary 68% drop in April. President Lula also appointed Sônia Guajajara as its first Indigenous woman in a key governmental role. She will be managing a new Ministry of Indigenous Peoples.

The United States has been undertaking a decades-long initiative to destroy its stocks of   chemical weapons, and has now was destroyed the last one.

In the Galapagos Islands ocean, where the shallow-water coral reefs have been badly damaged by ocean heating, a large healthy reef has been discovered in deep water. It’s not only a terrific resource, it’s also very fruitful ground for careful, respectful study of healthy coral reefs.

The United Kingdom has banned forbidden the cosmetics industry for using animal testing.

Nestle’s successor bottling company, BlueTriton, will no longer be removing tens of millions of gallons of water annually from the San Bernardino National Forest, thanks to the California State Water Board having issued a cease and desist order.

The European Union now has a battery regulation which encourages battery recycling at a level never achieved before in the western world.

Back in the United States, a $124 million donation to historically Black colleges and universities is designed to increase effectiveness at all levels of university education: enrollment, graduation rates, and employment rates.

With huge support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome, a new tuberculosis vaccine could save 8.5 million lives over the next 25 years. Previous TB vaccines have been ineffective against latent disease, but this one has a 50% effectiveness rate for those patients.

Joe Biden’s expansion of veterans’ care in the United States is showing results. 2023 set all-time records for veteran health care.

Justine Lindsay, a woman of color, is the NFL’s first trans cheerleader. And for the Carolina Panthers, no less.

In a victory for disabled people, who are often excluded from enjoying natural pleasures, Greece has built accessible adaptive chairs on 200 of its beaches.

New York City passed a weight and height discrimination law!

Canada has adopted a major nature agreement. Working with the province of British Columbia and First Nations, this is not only a step towards Canada’s goal of protecting 30 per cent of its natural resources by 2030, it’s also a historic partnership with the tribes.

Finally, 2023 has been an extraordinary year for labor union victories. The United Auto Workers ran a very targeted and thoughtful campaign which resulted not only in major wage increases but also brought the workers in electric vehicle plants into the new agreement. The Writers’ Guild and Screen Actors’ Guild achieved historic victories, while continually reminding people that low-wage union workers are critically important to support. UPS won large wage increases, pensions (including for part-time workers) and the extremely important concession of air-conditioning in all UPS trucks. Kaiser Permanente’s three-day strike resulted in a large wage concession and guaranteed efforts by the organization to encourage new employees.

This post could be 100 times longer, too.


So much of the good news in this post comes from the indomitable Jessica Craven, who publishes a list of good news every Sunday to accompany her activist newsletter, Chop Wood, Carry Water. If you need weekly good news, subscribe (come for the good news, stay for the daily calls to action).

Debbie has deleted her Twitter account. Follow her on Mastodon.

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Thanksgiving: Good News Tendrils Stretching in All Directions

color-corrected image of galaxies, taken by the Webb telescope


Debbie says:

Since we started this blog almost two decades ago, Laurie and I have always done a Thanksgiving good news post. This year, Laurie isn’t available (she’s fine) and I have a brand-new resource for good news. Earlier this year, my friend Lizzy turned me on to Jessica Craven, a dauntless and clever political activist who spends her weeks encouraging her subscribers to work for political change through her newsletter: Chop Wood, Carry Water. She also spends her weekends creating lists of good things that happened during the week to encourage and energize the work she promotes.

During the run-up to the midterms, she made those weekly good news posts, which she calls “Extra! Extra!” free to everyone. They aren’t archived separately from the daily feed of her newsletter (linked above),  but you can find them all by scrolling down the link. As fits her interests, these are mostly US and mostly political, with a lot of climate news and a lot of racial and LGBT+ justice. I’ve cherrypicked a handful from through the year that I think are especially important, and leavened them with some international and other good news just for Laurie’s and my readers.

I’ll assume you know that the Democrats were not in disarray, that no election deniers were elected as Secretary of State anywhere, and that the November 8 midterms were full of good small and large wins, despite the barrage of negative news leading up to the election. (And my progressive friend George Syrop will be the youngest ever member of the Hayward, California City Council. I’m just sayin’)

This is the best year for labor since 2005 (which happens to be the year Laurie and I started Body Impolitic. Craven pointed us to the Amazon victory in April, which Amazon tried to block, but they lost, creating the first union inside Amazon. Meanwhile, Starbucks has thrown a huge amount of money and some high-end anti-labor lawyers at their problems, and still over 200 Starbucks’ stores have unionized this year. And the link at the top of this paragraph shows you just how well labor is doing overall.

The first California condors since 1892 (!) have been seen in the wild. They were raised in captivity and released in partnership with the Yurok Tribe. And that just makes me want to mention the Monarch butterfly resurgence.  Also, Atlantic puffins.

And just this month, a clam previously known only from fossils (!) was discovered alive in California.

In one of my special areas of interest–wrongful convictions and the “justice” system, it’s exciting to note that a lead Innocence Project lawyer is now a federal district judge in New York. (And Adnan Syed, whose case first got me and millions of others interested in wrongful convictions, is a free man.)

Sometimes (not often enough!) land is returned to its rightful BIPOC owners.  Black victory in Manhattan Beach, CA;  indigenous victories in Virginia and California (and there are more.

In India, where cricket is an extremely popular sport, women cricketers will be paid the same amount as men.

60 U.S. high schools will be offering advance placement courses in African-American history.  And the unbelievably offensive statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside the Museum of Natural History in New York City is gone–which would make this a good year all by itself.

Climate change victories are under-reported, and there are many small ones (as well as some bigger ones). Two that have caught my eye are 100,000 kg removed from the great plastic patch and the shrinking hole in the ozone layer.

There’s lots more. There are defeated fascists around the globe, including Javier Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is still contesting his loss. There are new LGBT+ people in Congress and the state houses and governors’ mansions. Abortion rights won wherever they were on the ballot–including Tennessee.

And images from the ground-breaking (space-breaking?) James Webb Space Telescope started being published in July. One lovely one is above, and there are hundreds more.

As Jessica Craven frequently says, what we focus on gets stronger. So while it’s important to keep one eye on all the threats and dangers (and there are so many!), we also thrive by knowing that those stories are not the whole story.

Happy Thanksgiving, however you observe it, and a happy day if you don’t. Me, I’ll be grateful to be eating with a few close friends, on stolen Ohlone land, which we will acknowledge before we begin the meal.


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