The other day I saw a marvellous thing. A dad and his young son were running for a bus that had already left. Resigned, they slowed to a despondent limp. Then, unexpectedly, improbably, the bus also slowed to a stop, the doors flew open and the driver beckoned them aboard.

In that moment, he made four people happy: the father, the son, me, and I suspect himself.

The world is full of small moments of kindness like this. As we head off into a summer recess, we’d love Upside readers to flood our inbox (theupside@theguardian.com) with their own examples. Subject line: human-kind (geddit?)

But first, let us send you on your way with our best Upside stories of the week. No overriding theme, just some summer joy.

1. Britain’s very first “climate assembly” – 56 ordinary Londoners take on an extraordinary problem. Three-minute read

2. The EU (remember them?) launched a drive to protect forests (remember them?) from being destroyed by chocolate and other intensive crops. Two-minute read

3. Can music help to forge a young nation? Two-and-a-half-minute read





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Rudolf Buchbinder and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Riga Jurmala Music Festival Photograph: Evija Trifanova

4. Five new uses for bacteria. One-minute read

Lucky numbers

Consumption of plant-based burgers is up 10% year on year. People who adhere to plant-based diets are much less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Low-carbon energy was used to generate more than half of the electricity used in the UK for the first time last year. And in Germany, renewable energy comprised almost 50% of grid electricity in the first six months of 2019.

And some blue-sky thinking: if only refugees (particularly women) were allowed to work they would increase global GDP by hundreds of billions of dollars.

What we liked

The US depression treatment, borrowed from … Zimbabwe, courtesy Tina Rosenberg at the New York Times.

And a timely piece from Positive News about a supercrop for our environmentally challenged times.

Finally, CNN’s story about what happened when only one person RSVPd to an autistic boy’s birthday party invitation.

What we heard

A great initiative from Daisy Jacobs:


I hugely admire the work of the Upside in profiling inspiring and innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Our social enterprise, Routes, matches women from businesses across London with refugee and asylum-seeking women for four months of mentoring.

Mentors help their mentees to get back into work, find volunteering, apply to university or develop new skills, all whilst working on their own communication and leadership techniques.

Some advice from Phillip Hunt. Do let us know if you agree:


Please display better the articles you are inviting the reader to follow. As a newsletter page the highlighting of the articles have to be read top, bottom, left, right and centre. I personally find the style of presentation distracting in spite of my having signed up, in having looked forward to your title in my inbox. It may just be that this bugbear is mine alone. If so, ignore my discomfort.

And something pithy from Bill Thompson:


What to cover? Complexity

And interesting to see our friends at the Daily Telegraph launching their own good news newsletter, the Bright Side.

Seán Dagan Wood
(@SeanDaganWood)

Another legacy media title catches on to the demand for inspiring journalism, following the likes of @GuardianUpside, and of course the original @PositiveNewsUK. Looking forward to seeing the output https://t.co/63kuhnGGao


July 23, 2019

Where was the Upside?

At silly competitions like the World Thumb Wrestling Championships, the Fortnite World Cup, and the Splashdiving World Championships, all taking place this weekend.

Also, outdoors, in the warm weather. Who doesn’t love a heatwave?





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In the summertime… Photograph: Christophe Gateau/AFP/Getty

The Upside newsletter is taking a short summer break. Back soon. Do keep the ideas coming to theupside@theguardian.com. And stay tuned.




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