Friday, November 21, 2014

What My Facebook Feed Tells Me About The World


Things in my daily facebook feed generally fall into five general categories:
1)  Updates from friends-- where they are, stuff they are eating, who they are hanging with, pictures of their _____________ (fill in-- pets, kids, etc)

2)  Science-y updates, links to publications...

3) Humor, like the golden retriever that totally bombs dog show

4 & 5 Are the bad news and the good news.  Bad news outnumbers good news, as expected.  But it seems the good news usually is not really good things happening, but just when things are not as bad as they could be.

Examples from my morning facebook feed:

The Bad News:
·      Alligators in the Everglades are emaciated-- indicating further ecosystem collapse
·      Crater Mountain mine underway, no apparent environmental oversight
·      Abbott cutting funds to ABC and SBS
·      Major networks did not air Obama's speech on immigration
·      House passes bill to replace independent scientists at the EPA with industry experts
·      October was hottest month ever on record, as is the year 2014
·      Canadian woman charged 1 million for giving birth in a US hospital
·      US only developed nation that does not guarantee paid vacations
·      Aussies boycotting halal foods because they think buying supports terrorists
·      Michelle Bachman calls immigrants illiterates
·      GOP furious with Obama (hardly news)
·      Poachers kill 1200 rhinos in South Africa this year alone
·      Statistics on bird kills at wind turbine facility are trade secrets

The good news (really this is the good?):
·      Company halts plan to frack 1 km from Pennsylvania school
·      Elizabeth Warren taking on Walmart
·      Federal court decision might allow a humanist study group to form in a prison (as religions have always freely done)
·      First bus in Britain running on bio-methane
·      Non-hunters contribute to conservation more than hunters
·      Plans for a poorly-sited solar facility turned down

It is indeed good news when something bad stops or doesn't happen.  But why are there so few stories out there of good shit actually happening?  The good news is usually something small and local.  Bad things easily happen on an epic scale-- famines, oil spills, etc.  But good things rarely happen on a large scale.  I guess that's part of the logic behind "think global, act local."  This is another reason I like smaller non-profits with specific goals than the big "saving the world" non-profits.  You can't save the planet, end hunger, etc.  But you might save a piece of the planet or a family's hunger.

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