Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo above is from 30 Mar 2023, taken from one of the downtown Iowa City buildings with a view from the hallway.
For the past two weeks I’ve been studying some of the news categories that I’ll be reporting on this year. You can see the current list on the What’s New page at Resources For Life.
For world news, I’ve assembled a report called “Countries in Crisis 2023” that covers some of the significant challenges around the world.
For the United States, the “U.S. Crisis Report 2023” covers various topics including widespread fraud and scams, smash-and-grab organized retail crime, regions of drought, catastrophic floods, homelessness, tornados, gun violence, social unrest, food deserts, limited access to healthcare, teacher shortages, hospital closings, widespread poverty, toxic spills, and other news.
I want to be mindful of these challenges as a context for working on proactive public interest efforts.
The practice of doomscrolling involves scrolling through social media and being fed an increasingly negative selection of news stories. This is only made possible because social media feeds people more and more of what they seem to be interested in. So, its an intensifying of negativity that typically induces depression and hopelessness.
After just a few days of researching some of the social challenges we presently face, my YouTube feed became filled with an unending flood of stories about crime and violence across the nation. It’s taken several days to reset the feed back to hopeful stories.
A certain news network, which I won’t mention by name, has affiliate news stations in most major metropolitan markets. Those affiliate stations seem to be tasked with gathering and amplifying really depressing and fear-inducing stories. Individually the stories are true and very accurate. Collectively, however, the overall message is imbalanced and false. The dominant message being communicated is that nobody is safe and all our big cities are a dumpster fire of crime, violence, and social unrest. Other stories have as the title, “They are coming for your _____” and the story tries to convince the viewer that an enemy is going to take their car, stove, gun, or other treasured possession. So, what is believed to be a “trusted” source of news, is spreading false information that promotes violence.
That fear inducing propaganda is believed to be a significant reason for the recent wave of shootings — more people are armed and fearful. As a result, it’s now reported that “hair trigger justice seems to be the norm.” [Source]
I hear from many people who are disconnecting from social media and news sources because all the bad news can be too discouraging. As someone looking for answers, I want to understand the depth of the problems to arrive at solutions that aren’t impacted by the problems.
I want to seek out hopeful perspectives and initiatives that can result in positive outcomes. I thought I’d coined the term “Hope Scrolling” but then did a Google search to find that many other people have simultaneously come up with the same idea. [View Results]
While maintaining an awareness of the challenges, and keeping realistic perspective, I want to explore working solutions that will produce positive outcomes.
I’d recently seen a year-end video report from Beit El Barakah — an organization working to revitalize the community and economy of Lebanon. [View Video] It’s a really inspiring video. Despite facing every imaginable challenge and disaster, this organization is helping to provide vocational training and jobs for those impacted by the crisis in Lebanon. It’s an example of what I’m talking about: acknowledge the scope and depth of the problems, then develop a response that can succeed despite the challenges.
This year I’ll be monitoring the various crisis situations that exist, while in parallel working to support impactful non-profits and deliver tech services to those in need.
I believe despite what seem like insurmountable extinction-level challenges ahead, that there is still good news, and there are ways to create pockets of sustainability and abundance. I’ll be sharing more about that in the months ahead.
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Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.
Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 23 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith/philosophy), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and public interest efforts. This is based on the Life Map presented on the Resources For Life website. [View]