If you've turned on the news lately, you may have gotten the sense that the world is falling apart. From rising body counts in Gaza and Israel to a plane getting shot down in Ukraine to increasing violence in Nigeria and Syria, it can often seem like a never-ending stream of grim realities. Um, BECAUSE it is a never-ending stream of grim realities, once you get past what non-celeb celeb has a baby bump or punched someone in an elevator. 
But although bad news is dominating the headlines, it doesn't mean those are the only stories out there. The sky isn't falling -- and the proof isn't hard to find.

Amazing Advances In Medicine Are Happening Daily

  • Every day in Africa, more than 1,500 children die of malaria -- but that might not be the case for long. A pharmaceutical company is awaiting regulatory approval on a new drug that could be the world's first malaria vaccine. According to Time magazine, it may be available to the public in one year's time.  Mosquito nets can save many of these children. But Big Pharma doesn't make scads of money on mosquito nets. Shareholders need their money. Available vaccine? Let's see how much they sell it for and who gets it. Nope, we're still screwed because we cannot employ an existing $5 solution. Also, what happens to population? NOT A REASON.
  • An experimental drug for hepatitis C got rid of the disease in more than 95 percent of patients during trials. It's currently awaiting FDA approval, and could be a cheaper way to treat the disease than medication currently on the market.  Could be? Could not be, just as easily. NOT A REASON.
  • A 19-year-old from Chicago might be well on his way to discovering a cure for colon cancer. His experimental vaccine has been 100 percent effective in ridding young mice of malignant tumors. Might be? And when he and his cure disappear because Big Pharma loves how much money cancer raises, what then? This isn't in the news now. Where did it go? NOT A REASON.

Huge Strides Are Being Made For LGBT Equality

rainbow flag
  • On Aug. 1, Uganda struck down its draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act, which made some homosexual acts punishable by life in prison. Awesome step, but rather limited in its scope of the entire rest of the world. I'm all for striking it down, but really that isn't helping gay men and women in, say, Georgia. Therefore...  NOT A REASON.
  • The United Nations announced last month that it will recognize same-sex marriage of all employees, regardless of whether their home country outlaws it. Again, great. Necessary. Helpful. Is the couple still going to get killed in their home country? A step in the right direction, but ... NOT A REASON.
  • In the past 10 years, 21 states and the District of Columbia have recognized same-sex marriage. A GREAT step in the right direction. 110% behind all 50 states getting there. LGBT is suffering blows left and right under Republican governors, making one step forward and 10 steps back. NOT A REASON. Not even close. Yes, it's great. Then it's horrible as other bad laws come around and are celebrated by masses.

Programs To End Poverty Are Working


kids receiving food
  • Using the World Bank's classification of low-income countries, philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates wrote in his foundation's annual newsletter that "by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world." This is almost too pathetic to argue. But here goes. 1) Reclassifying what constitutes poverty doesn't make it go away, just makes it seem OK. 2) Wealth will never be evenly distributed. 3) Countries don't mean people. The US is not a poor country but look how many people are POOR. 4) And really read this one: by 2030, things will BE so screwed that this will have been a long-gone joke. Is Mr. Gates taking anything climate-related, population related, into account? Doubt it. NOT A REASON.
  • The U.S. food stamp program isn't just working -- it's helping millions. According to a recent article in the New Republic, "program benefits improve the long-term health outcomes of children" and "reduce the number of households with children in the U.S. living in extreme poverty by about half." Wow, these really are some pollyanna blatherings. Does it bring them out of poverty, or just "extreme" poverty? Is it doing anything to help curb population? Another good thing that helps, but - say it with me - NOT A REASON.

Protecting The Environment Is Increasingly Popular

This one's really funny.

recycling sign
  • The Philippines is hopping on the electric vehicle bandwagon -- or in this case, the electric taxi tricycle. In an effort to reduce urban pollution, the country has invested in 100,000 electric-powered tricycles that will be rolled out in 2016, according to Fast CompanyGreat. By 2016, how much irreparable damage will have been done by the CO2 spewing in the meantime? Answer: lots, here we are. Still heating. Where are they getting the power for the electric tricycles? Fossil or solar? NOT A REASON.
  • If you haven't heard of Tesla yet, it's time to get up to speed. The electric car company is proving that a green business isn't just possible, it's hugely profitable and has the potential to disrupt and transform the gas-guzzling auto industry. Tesla's great. Elon Musk is the best. They are rolling out less expensive cars really soon. In the meantime, all those of us who can go get that $80,000 car ... "Has the potential." How much damage until that's a reality? How many people are using fossil fuels to power their electric cars? NOT A REASON. Good stuff, but not a reason. 
  • Indigenous farmers in Peru are banding together to fight climate change and diversify their agricultural output by saving and exchanging seeds. Their hope is that by collaborating, they can identify the strongest and most resilient crop varieties and encourage biodiversity throughout the country. Good. Seeds. In Peru. A hope. That'll show Monsanto. Oh wait, no it won't. NOT A REASON.

Women's Rights Are Improving


gender equality sign
  • As of July 2014, Saudi Arabian women can vote and run in municipal elections. This means they'll be able to vote in the upcoming elections in 2015. Uh huh, but are they allowed to drive yet, or ride a bicycle, or walk alone, or talk to a man without being stoned? No? That will come now? When? How many die first? Nothing has really changed. NOT A REASON.
  • Egypt criminalized sexual harassment last month with a law that can send offenders to jail for up to five years. And just last week, a group of dozens of civilians took to the streets to raise awareness about street harassment and violence against women. Band-aid. A small help that would take a long time to help anything. A step, but NOT A REASON.
Biggest not-a-reason? Look at the attacks on women's health happening right now in many states, clinics closing, still no equal pay. We're actually going backwards. 

New Technologies Are Enhancing People's Lives

  • War victims in Sudan are getting help from a Los Angeles company that is using 3-D printers to create low-cost prosthetic limbs. But the war will still go on, and people will still suffer, and we don't have prosthetic lives. NOT A REASON.
  • People in Zambia who have cellphones but no Internet connection will now be able to access health and education services online, thanks to an app recently rolled out by Facebook. The company says it plans to expand the program into other countries as well. Um. They'll still be subject to drought, starvation, war, etc, but darn it they'll have an app. NOT A REASON.
  • Researchers at the MIT Media Lab are working on a device called the "FingerReader," which scans written text for the visually impaired and reads it aloud. According to its creators, the device "could help the visually impaired read everything from books to restaurant menus to important forms at doctor’s offices, and thus increase a visually impaired person’s self-sufficiency." Now that's really cool. Not quite sure how it keeps us from being screwed, though. Stretch! NOT A REASON.

Everyday People Are Coming Up With Innovative Solutions To Complicated Problems


light bulb bright idea
  • Four MBA students from McGill University in Canada might have come up with an unexpected cure for world hunger: insect farming. The students are testing their concept in a pilot program in Ghana, where they're teaching rural farmers how to breed tiny bugs called palm weevils. That's great, until palm weevils kill all the real food around because they weren't supposed to be there. And looking for little fixes that might not even work is simply hitting symptoms while not curing the disease - NOT A REASON.
  • An Indian man named Mansukh Prajapati has designed a new fridge that stays cool without electricity. The fridge costs about $50 and could be a game-changer for the environment and communities lacking electricity. Do these communities even have enough food? Water? Hm. Let's give them solar powered microwaves too so they can re-heat their leftovers. That they don't have. Because they have no food. Or water. NOT A REASON.
  • In Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has been called "the rape capital of the world," one group of women is taking their lives into their own hands. They've trained as mechanics and started an auto body shop -- lifting themselves out of poverty and empowering themselves along the way. Now this is promising. I like this one. Women taking over is a cool thing. I looked up Goma. Goma is pretty farkin' screwed. This would be great if it can spread to other regions, but Goma is threatened daily by war, volcanoes, earthquakes, and deadly lakes that are erupting methane. Are we discussing that? Gomo is referred to as "The Rape Capital of the World." It would take one visit from the Boko Haram and they would all be gone. Don't even try to float this one. NOT A REASON.
Now, I may seem harshly and unjustly cynical with this whole thing. Good things happen all the time, and even though they are small, they all help, right? Sure. Except all these little things cannot possibly be stacked up against what is happening with the climate. What good are electric tricycles if the island is swallowed by rising ocean waters? What part of this addresses drought? Flooding? Antibiotic-resistant superbugs? Disappearing bees? No part addresses that. Yes, good things are happening here and there, but let's not get all shiny and happy. Not to mention so many of these little blurbs are filled with "might" and "could" and "hope." Way too many for my taste. Very few realities here. The reality is, we are pretty screwed, and we better figure that out pretty damn fast. We're running out of time. I am not the only one sounding this alarm, but then again, they don't write shiny happy articles about that. Wake up. These are great occurrences, but they are not reasons why we are not screwed. We're still screwed. Enjoy and spread fun news items, but do not claim that everything's fine. Sorry, Carina, the sky is falling, and the world is falling apart. Thanks for trying, though.