The most popular articles of the past year
1. Goodwill campaign frees thousands of Americans from $15m of debt
A group of former Occupy Wall Street activists have abolished nearly $15m (£9m) of Americans’ medical debt as part of a goodwill campaign to free debtors at random.
2. Crying for empathy
In thousands of schools around the world, children between the ages of five and 12 take lessons from a newborn baby. The result? Increased emotional intelligence, understanding and empathy towards classmates, and less bullying and aggression.
3. Positive Psychology: Creating a cultural shift in happiness
Taking charge of our life stories brings more joy than amassing the tick-box list of items commonly associated with happiness, says Chris Johnstone.
4. Returning to the quiet intelligence of nature
How can we move towards a society that feels more human, natural and less dependent on money, considers Lucy Purdy, as she spends a week in Devon exploring ‘wild economics’.
5. World’s oldest message in a bottle found
A handwritten message in a beer bottle has washed ashore after 101 years; Danielle Batist shares a heartwarming story of good old-fashioned communication.
6. Tube heat to help warm London homes
More than 500 homes in Islington will benefit from heat captured underground.
7. The social supermarket is a step forward for tackling food poverty
Britain’s first ‘social supermarket’, enabling local people on low incomes to buy food at knock-down prices, is a welcome addition to food banks, says Caspar Van Vark, though more needs to be done to tackle the roots of food poverty.
8. Phone Co-op brings first ethical smartphone to UK market
The sustainably designed Fairphone boasts a range of powerful features and strong environmental credentials.
9. The language of social change is shifting
The increasing number of voices articulating a positive vision of the future – including Russell Brand’s call for “a peaceful, effortless, joyous revolution” at London’s march against austerity – are a welcome antidote to the ‘anti’ approach, says Lucy Purdy.
10. The rise of the sharing economy
Ready to look beyond consumerism? A new online movement is helping people to band together, share their resources, and get by with less.