Recently, there have been a plethora of depressing news stories about random violence, terrorist attacks, and governmental dysfunction, that I started to think about some of the good things I have read about and positive trends I have observed.
Here are some examples of these positive trends that I encourage you to get behind and support. Share this with friends and family and have a discussion about these positive worldwide developments.
Social Media and World Peace - I recently learned of an amazing true story of an Israeli graphic artist who was tired of hearing about the inevitable Israel - Iran war and decided to create Images that sent the message that he loves Iran and doesn't want to hurt Iranians. These images started to be circulated on social media and before you know it hundreds of similar images were created by Israeli graphic artists. Guess what happened next?
Iranian artists started to produce and share images of themselves stating that they loved Israel and the Israeli people and that they too do not want a war. Is it any coincidence that several months later, Iran has indicated that it wants to enter into serious negotiations to bring about peace? Watch the Video and you decide.
Social Media has the promise of connecting individuals so that we can talk directly. This increased ability to communicate will lead to more understanding, compassion, and a sense of community that has never existed before on the planet.
Equal Rights For Women - In many countries, women are not allowed to enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and advantages as men. In Saudi Arabia, the government warned women who are seeking to defy a ban on women driving that they will be punished if they drive on the day of protest or any day for that matter.
In Pakistan, the World has gotten to know of this remarkable young woman, Malala Yousafzai, who had the courage to stand up to the Taliban and speak out for the rights of girls to get an education. She was shot at and almost died. The fact that women are speaking out and defying this unfair treatment is a great first step.
Women and Men from around the world must become more engaged in protecting women's right and help to stop this subjugation of women. Malala Yousafzai's father was willing to die for this cause (he nor anyone ever thought the Taliban would try to kill his daughter - he thought they would target him) as is she. It is time that more of us stand up for these rights.
Equal Marriage Rights - New Jersey became the most recent state to allow marriage regardless of sexual orientation. I don't like calling it "gay" marriage because it helps to foster the notion that there is something different in the first place. The fact that men and women cannot marry someone because of their sexual orientation is blatant discrimination and has hurt millions of men and women emotionally and financially.
In many parts of the World, men and women are afraid to be themselves for fear of being physically assaulted or put in jail. It is time for all of the entire United States (and the World) to protect everyone's marriage rights and to allow all people the same right to marry the person they love regardless of their sexual orientation.
It's time that we all speak up in favor of equal rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation. You can do this by being kind to everyone you meet regardless of their sexual orientation, by supporting changes in the law, and by speaking out in favor of treating people equally.
Large Scale Charitable Endeavors - There are a growing number of examples of individuals undertaking large charitable donations and more importantly creating organizations to manage the money and problem solve. The Gates Foundation, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg all come to mind. There are many other philanthropists who are committed to helping the poor, sick, and fragile members of our society. They are to be applauded as they provide an example of doing good works and reaching out to the less fortunate.
I believe that this is a growing trend and one that will hopefully continue to grow. While the vast majority of people cannot contribute financially to disadvantaged people, we can all challenge ourselves to do more whether it's donating a few dollars or food, lending a hand, giving a smile, or volunteering your time to help someone in need by helping them get help, giving them a ride, or donating your services. The more we do this, the more we help the World become a better place.
These four trends highlighted by some recent news stories will hopefully continue to grow. While most of will never create a peace initiative that goes viral, have the courage to risk our life by speaking out on behalf a just cause, be able to bring about changes in the law, or donate billions of dollars, here's what we can do. We can learn about what's going on. We can talk about these positive developments with our friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We can contribute our time, resources, and expertise to help positive initiatives and charitable endeavors. We can be kinder, more patient, more understanding, and less judgmental. Maybe if enough of us do that, that will become newsworthy and "trending." Wouldn't that be nice.
David S. Waller is the Founder and CEO of Storeboard.com - an emerging Social Media Site for getting "it" exposure.