Why we need to have difficult conversations

Editor Lucy Purdy introduces the new issue of Positive News magazine, which includes a candid interview with Russell Brand about addiction. It also features an interview with a terrorism survivor, portraits of young conservationists, and a look at the case for optimism in the face of climate change

Addiction is a sliding scale, says Russell Brand, and we’re all on it. When we’re unable to experience “connection” within or outside of ourselves, we grasp at things that make 
us feel good, he believes. Does this matter? Perhaps our deeper drives still aren’t talked about enough in the public conversation. Brand sets the example – he knows his famous ego can wreak havoc, but his willingness to be vulnerable warrants respect.

Meanwhile, after surviving a horrific terrorist attack, Bjorn Ihler’s response wasn’t resignation or revenge, but curiosity and compassion. What would make a human being decide to kill? In an interview in the new issue of Positive News magazine, he explains why he chose to see the terrorist who attacked him as a fellow human being, and to try to understand what drove his actions.


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And with sexual harassment having recently risen (long overdue) to the forefront of public conversation, there 
is also a need to ask uncomfortable questions here. In the latest issue of Positive News magazine, Jamie Catto argues that heterosexual men are addicted to women in a way that women aren’t addicted to men. If that’s so, what’s a healthy way to deal with that, he asks?

Extreme behaviour of any sort might be uncomfortable to relate to, but difficult conversations with ourselves and others hold fertile ground for change. Ihler suggests simply talking to people who are different from us as a good 
place to start.

In a feature in the magazine headlined ‘Eating with strangers’, we meet people doing just that; using food as the medium. Delicious dishes can connect groups in ways that other forms of communication can’t.

If you’re getting caught in too many cynical conversations, this issue will prime you with the stories to defy the doom

And if you’re getting caught in too many cynical conversations, this new issue of Positive News will prime you with the stories to defy the doom. The climate change battle is by no means won, but who would have thought just a few years ago that by 2018, experts would be stunned at how renewable energy is booming and coal stalling?

We unpick megatrends such as 
these, and ask former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres about her refreshingly optimistic take on the subject. Bad news can paralyse us, she warns. Let’s focus instead on what we stand to gain. She isn’t alone. As Sorrel Lyall, one of the inspiring young conservationists we meet in this issue, says: “Reading about climate change doesn’t make me want to give up. It makes me want to do something.”

Perhaps, even when it comes to Brexit – whether we wanted it or not – there may be opportunities that depend upon how we now respond. Martin Wright asks, in terms of the environment at least, could Brexit provide a chance to restore our countryside and wildlife? And so, though challenges await, in the year ahead we hope that you can find your way to, as Brand puts it: “Be connected, be contented.”

Lucy Purdy is editor of Positive News magazine


This article is featured in issue 92 of Positive News magazine. Become a subscriber member to receive Positive News magazine delivered to your door, plus you’ll get access to exclusive member benefits

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