Image for Do small actions make a difference? asks latest issue of Positive News magazine

Do small actions make a difference? asks latest issue of Positive News magazine

The new issue of Positive News magazine – marking 25 years in print – features a cover story about ‘the ripple effect’, asking: do small actions add up?

The new issue of Positive News magazine – marking 25 years in print – features a cover story about ‘the ripple effect’, asking: do small actions add up?

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic,” wrote the late US author and activist Howard Zinn. “It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives.”

By drawing on historical examples of care and interdependence, poet and philosopher Mark Nepo – who we interview in this issue – hopes to energise and inspire people to act today. What would happen then, if more people decided that every positive action was significant? In our cover story, journalist Jonathan Lovett leans in to a tension that might feel familiar. At a time of deepening global challenges, he asks, what difference can one person make?

Are the small, everyday actions we’re sometimes urged to take just a distraction, a waste of time, or do they add up to something more?

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Our ability to create change, step by step, may soon become apparent for the women who are pushing for greater representation in US politics. White House goings on aside, we profile some of the inspiring characters hoping to win in the US midterm elections this November.

Among their unprecedented number is Deb Haaland, who would make history as the first Native American congresswoman. “Congress has never had a voice like mine,” she says, with pride.

In London, we track how teachers are making room for the magic of the outdoors amid a backdrop of stifling schedules and tests.

We also reveal how, for some men and women, the dizzying availability of online pornography has impacted their mental health and real-life relationships. But instead of retreating into shame, they are speaking openly to try to support each other. New organisations are helping people to make more informed choices around porn, without judgement.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. Human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness

Bringing a social challenge out of the dark also motivates the team at drug-testing NGO The Loop. Working mainly with clubbers and festivalgoers to help them stay safe, their pop-up laboratories test the strength and quality of drugs provided by users, without people fearing prosecution. It’s early days, but their work is likely to save lives.

Whether it’s fresh peace between warring Ethiopia and Eritrea, the paid leave that New Zealand will soon offer domestic violence survivors for the first time, or Ireland’s historic decision to divest, all of these stories add up. That’s what we’re choosing to emphasise.

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