Welcome to the second edition of our recurring series in which we highlight some positive news stories during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are tough times, yes, but despite this—or perhaps because of it—there are plenty of stories of people rising above and adding some much-needed light to the world. Here are some highlights that caught our attention and made us smile. We hope they make you smile, too.
Look Down for Uplifting Messages
Some creative Dutch tulip farmers have transformed their gorgeous fields into multi-hued, organic billboards offering lovely, uplifting messages. You can find more details, and a beautiful video, here. The Netherlands isn’t the only place to find encouraging messages on the ground. In various places around the world, some kind people have taken to painting rocks with positive messages and placing them alongside roads and sidewalks for hikers and bikers to see. To these artists we say: Rock on!
Laughter: The Best Medicine
Nothing provides a quick pick-me-up quite like a joke. This was the motivation for some city officials in Juneau, Alaska to start a joke hotline. One need only dial +01 907-586-0428 to hear a squeaky clean joke¾and enjoy a little boost. Here’s a recent example: Why won’t the lobster share? Because he’s shell-fish. (Rimshot!) Speaking of laughs, a woman in the U.K. has taken to walking around her community in an inflatable dinosaur costume. You can bet that smiles in her neighbourhood aren’t going extinct. (Rimshot!)
The Newest Superheroes
We’ve all been so grateful for the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic selflessly providing care and emotional support to those who are hospitalized. The world-renowned, provocative street artist Banksy created a captivating mural that celebrates nurses in his unique, unmistakable style. Now hanging in a hallway at University Hospital Southampton in England, the piece will be auctioned off to benefit the hospital. Thank you, Banksy! More importantly, thank you nurses!
The Power of Faith
Faith brings emotional strength and encouragement to countless people around the world. Unfortunately, the pandemic has prevented many from gathering for services and celebrating religious holidays. This hasn’t, however, stopped people from finding alternative ways to honour special religious occasions. For instance, the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to the largest Muslim population in America, has encouraged residents to decorate the outside of their homes to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. For Buddhists, the most sacred of days is Vesak, known as the Day of the Full Moon. It celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. The High-Representative of the United Nation Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, issued a special pronouncement recognizing the day even though planned celebrations couldn’t happen at UN headquarters.
Helping Without Leaving Home
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible, to get out much. But that doesn’t have to prevent any of us from managing to do good from the comfort—and confinement—of our own homes. For instance, you can help conservationists count penguins, help cartographers improve maps in vulnerable areas of the world, and, if you’re bilingual, you can volunteer to serve as a translator so that refugees can get the proper healthcare. These are just a few of a whole slew of options. You can check out these and other opportunities in this roundup story.
Going Viral. In the Good Sense.
Musicians from all over Africa have banded together to help fight disinformation about COVID-19. The campaign, called #DontGoViral, crowd sources culturally relevant, accurate information about COVID-19. The continent-wide effort even includes a delightful music video entitled “Protect Your Life.” You can learn more about this important campaign here.