Editorial: The sky isn’t falling any faster

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Emily Thiessen (graphic)

Emily Thiessen (graphic)

Happy New Year, readers. Was your holiday season peaceful? Relaxing? This magical time of year is always filled with an optimistic spirit channeling from the spirit of New Years resolutions and happy nights of leftover holiday cooking. So, we hate to burst your bubble, but the world seems more chaotic than ever.

Ebola is still coursing through Africa, with 8,000 deaths and 20,000 people infected. Only one of the 43 missing Mexican students have been identified from DNA pulled from the bodies in the mass graves. The federal police are declining to comment, and the parents of the students demanded answers from their president, Enrique Pena Nieto. Actual North Korea still exists––as much fun as it looks on The Interview––and their people are still starving, getting indoctrinated, and building nuclear weapons for the world’s most powerful movie critic. Before the remains of Malaysia Air Flight 370 were ever found, AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was lost. The Chinese central government stood firm against protesters in Hong Kong, rebuffing the loudest calls for greater personal freedoms since Tiananmen Square. In the U.S., police officers and black men face the consequences of racism, mistrust, and “broken windows policing”.

Oh, and ISIS.

So, the world is a mess, but while rummaging through our archives we found a Martlet headline that put things in perspective. It was from January 8th, 1981 and titled “1980: A Year in Review — Twelve Months of Impending Disaster.” Impending doom wasn’t far from people’s minds. The Cold War heated up after a period of detente, and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Mt. St. Helens erupted, the Iran hostage crisis wasn’t yet over, and the first Quebec separation referendum was held.

Although our circumstances are different, the headline remains true. The human race has always seemed to have a chaotic energy surrounding it. The proof? Just read the news. The sheer amount of news can cause us to feel overwhelmed and helpless. How can one person change everything?

But, there’s one New Year’s resolution that might help all these problems: try to balance yourself.

For many of us, it seems like there’s not much we can do except educate themselves with mainstream news stories, but that can put us in a never-ending spiral of pessimism and fear if left unbalanced. This need for balance can be seen with the uprising of uplifting news sites, such as goodnewsnetwork.org, the Huffington Post’s uplifting news section and the Reddit subreddit /r/upliftingnews which has over 1,800,000 subscribers. These stories show that people can sometimes overcome the odds we are shown in our news stories and encourage hope and action. Pessimism leads to anger and even more helplessness, and that helps no one. So do yourself a favour this 2015: stay informed, but stay balanced.

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