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It's all good

Photo courtesy Unsplash/Andrea Piacquadio

It’s all good

When one decade wraps with a viral news story of the holiest of holy men Pope Francis slapping the hand of an over-zealous worshipper, one can be forgiven for thinking it’s a harbinger of what’s to come and, so far, 2020 has been noteworthy in many truly awful ways.

From the ongoing reports of the devastating wildfires in Australia that have, by some estimates, killed as many as a billion animals, we then received news of the Trump-ordered retaliatory assassination of Iranian military general Qasem Soleimani. Dozens of mourners were crushed at the revered figure’s funeral procession. The ensuing instability in the region saw the downing of a Ukrainian commercial flight resulting in the death of 176 civilians, mostly Iranian and Canadian, reportedly the result of surface to air missiles fired in error.

Harvey Weinstein continues to face new allegations of sexual assault whilst appearing in court on previous charges and the United Kingdom recently sentenced its most prolific rapist – reportedly 190 victims – to life in prison.

I could go on but other stories, like Megxit for example, is not of the same calibre in comparison to what’s occurred only two weeks into this New Year.

So I’m grateful to Rigaud reader Sandra Stephenson who sent me a link to remind me that despite climate change, earthquakes, and a royal deciding to move his family out of his mom’s house, there is news to celebrate in the world if we look for it.

Over the past 12 months, there have been increases in the population size of humpback whales, dolphins, and tigers while poaching rates for rhinos and elephants have dropped.

More attention is being paid to the globe’s oceans and forests via concrete measures including Canada becoming the first country in the world to protect more than 10 per cent of its oceans.

Malaria infections have dropped in Asia by 76 per cent and have been eliminated in Algeria and Argentina, and HIV-related deaths are a third of what they were in 2010.

Cigarette and alcohol consumption is down and the population is kicking cancer’s ass with more force than it ever has before.

Ebola, trachoma, typhoid, heart disease, tuberculosis, polio, stroke… all significantly diminished.

Many countries are phasing out, or have already banned, single use plastics, Styrofoam, and microbeads – even balloons by 2021.

Of course it’s not all good news. While the US senate passed legislation protecting 1.3 million acres from mining operations, it was revealed this week that Trump’s wall along the Mexican border will traverse part of the Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, a biologically diverse area that’s been protected for four decades.

I also really wanted to believe the news story about the wombats in Australia who were – according to Greenpeace – shepherding other small mammals into their vast complexes of underground burrows to escape the wildfire flames, thereby showing more leadership than many elected officials. Unfortunately, turns out it’s not entirely true. Apparently wombats create intricate burrows with metres of tunnels having multiple entrances and other critters have been known to descend into them, sometimes without the wombats’ knowledge.

So while they’re technically not ‘shepherding’ other animals into their underground homes, there have been observances of interspecies tolerance in extremis meaning that in recognition of the extreme conditions, the wombats are permitting the presence of other animals in need.

One more lesson us humans can learn from animals.

See more good news at tinyurl.com/w4ppq7n