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Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

A Reflection on the Sustainability of News


ChrisAndAnnHow do you react when you hear bad news? Usually all we need to do is turn on the local news to find out. To put it broadly, bad news seems to have either a depressing or motivating effect, with the former often being dominant. To be motivated by bad news is something at once very difficult and very important for us to attempt at various times in our lives. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by negativity and thus succumb to it, but to overcome it and instead become energized to make a difference, whether it’s in our own lives or outside of them, is a truly sustainable human achievement.

Good news is slightly less ambiguous in terms of the response it provokes, though of course this is different in every situation. There is room for jealousy in the receiving of good news, depending on how it applies to the receiver. But what we would all hope to take from good news is inspiration, this affirming fact that tells us it is possible, whatever it is.

When we seek out news, what should we look for? What would be more motivating, a story about, say, illegal logging in Peru (which would cause anger, hopefully driving us to fight back against such atrocities in whatever way we can), or a story of how one person makes a sustainable difference in their own life?

To look at it through the lens of sustainability and news of social issues, it seems like the best answer might be to keep a healthy balance. While positive news is crucial in its ability to remind us of what we can do, it’s important that we don’t ignore problems. After all, how can we work on what we haven’t acknowledged? On the other hand, focusing solely on the negative could lead to giving up, a sort of inspiration starvation.

So have a fantastic day, but be sure to set aside some crying time.

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