Day Eight: Controlling Your News Diet

I don’t like the shape of this curve at all!

I spent part of my day looking at ourworldindata.org’s fantastic COVID19 coverage. It’s a phenomenal breakdown of the data coming across the news broadcasts. And, honestly, the news isn’t good. It was an alarming dive into a giant pool of information, explained and graphed out in far more depth than the media can typically produce.

Usually, being more informed makes me feel better. Not this time.

It made me think of articles I have read about how detrimental excessive news watching can be to our mental health. And yet, in this crisis, we have a personal and civic responsibility to stay informed. So how can we keep current without putting our mental health, already jeopardized by isolation, at further risk?

This TED Talk made on the topic directed me to this organization dedicated to positive and solution-oriented journalism. Some of the stories provide a great antidote to the relentless barrage of bad news. It is probably worth checking in on this or similar sites at least once a day, just to keep our brains balanced.

Could this nightmare inspire us to get our blue skies back? Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This story on our suddenly, drastically improved air quality reminded me of something I heard on the TED Radio Hour some months ago. One of the things humans need to take action is a vision of how things could be better. The phenomenon was cited in regard to many problems, but what especially stuck in my mind was the relationship with climate change. The interviewee posited that part of the reason we fail to take action on climate change is that we focus on the negative things that could (will) happen. We aren’t doing a good job of painting an inspiring picture to move towards. Perhaps this reprieve in pollutants, achieved for a really terrible reason, can show us what a healthier atmosphere could look like for everyone.

This story about an architect designing ICUs in shipping containers is a great reminder that people rise to challenges like this. We are, on the whole, a reasonably clever species consisting of reasonably decent people, and when times are at their worst, we can often be extra clever and extra decent.

And this story on how creative people are getting creative about how to share their creativity. In other words, how the art world is finding ways to connect people online.

I feel better now. Probably not for long, but it’s worth doing!

Signing off. Take care of each other.

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