Day 6: Inspire yourself with beautiful stories

There is much doom and gloom when we talk about climate change. But the Earth isn’t all bad.  This post invites you to take a break from the negativity and create a healthy balance between what’s wrong with the world and what’s right with it. I like to call these two concepts “negative” and “positive” inspirational stories.

“Negative” inspirational stories are the ones that inspire you by feeding your negative emotions, such as sadness, fear, anger, and shock. They’re the ones most present in the media. Examples of negative inspirational stories include how elephant populations have declined due to poaching and how 2016 is expected to be the warmest year on record (2015 and 2014 come in 2nd and 3rd).

“Positive” inspirational stories are the ones that inspire you by giving you hope, strength, courage, or love. Examples include the story of a humpback whale living in the Hudson River due to decades of river clean-up, the Clean Power Plan, and the story of a Brazilian teenager who loved looking at the sky, was perplexed as to why there is so much radiation in Southern Brazil, asked NASA to participate in a radioastronomy project and has since been dedicating time to this project.

Both of these are important. We need the negative inspirational stories to understand reality and to force us into action – but we also need the positive inspirational stories to balance out the negativity and give us strength. There also needs to be a balance between the two – if you focus too much on the news, you become cynical; and if you ignore everything but the positive stories in life, you become deluded. Keeping both in check is like the “stick and carrot” analogy – one makes you react, and the other is your reward.

A personal goal of mine is to focus on positive inspirational stories, the ones that don’t get talked about as much, and spread the positivity by sharing them with people. People can look for negative inspirational stories on their own, but coming up with the positive ones are harder sometimes. Here are some positive inspirational Earth stories for the week:

  • BBC’s documentary, Planet Earth, is one of the most stunning, peaceful, and inspiring TV shows on the Earth. It shows the Earth in its primitive state with gorgeous imagery.
  • Earth from Above, a project from Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is another stunning collection of photographs from the Earth. These images show us the Earth from another angle and give us a new perspective on our place on Earth.
  • Kids. It is impossible to transcribe the sort of hope and love one feels when sharing Earth ideas with kids. They feel wonder, awe, curiosity and excitement when seeing incredible pictures or videos for the first time of landscapes or wildlife. One of them, when I shared a picture of the Heart in Voh with her for the first time, declared that it was Mother Nature’s way of telling us she loved us.

Heart in Voh, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (New Caledonia, France, in the Pacific Ocean).

  • The story of this lady astronomist, Dr. Rubin, who made some important discoveries in astrophysics and, by the way, had 4 children, all of who obtained their own Ph.D.s.
  • The story of how albatrosses mate for life and sometimes stay “married” for up to 50 years (seen in BBC’s Frozen Planet).
  • Sunsets.

IMG_20161229_163453197 (1).jpg

Beautiful images, inspiring biographies of people that did the right thing, positive conversations all have the beneficial effect of lifting our spirits so we can continue doing this hard thing that we call “life”, or “making a difference”, or “saving the world”. Keep a list of things and people that inspire you and don’t let the negativity bog you down – that is a key point in making the world a better place.


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Filed under Actions, Pedagogy

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