We’re just two ordinary people who work in international relations – government and nonprofit, respectively. We stay in touch, and over the course of our careers we’ve observed that people are not always very nice to each other. Actually, that’s an understatement: a lot of people seem happy to screw each other over for the sake of a bit of power or money. We don’t expect people to be good all the time. But after you see enough predictable, petty, selfish things around you, it’s easy to get cynical.
Cynicism is dangerous. Maybe you start to believe that the world “is just like that.” Maybe you lose sight of the idea of actually making the world better, and settle for just getting along. Or maybe you even start to become one of those people you despise. We all want to believe that most people are trying to be good – or that if they’re bad, there’s some kind of karmic retribution – but the hard truth is probably that a lot of those bad people will keep right on doing bad things until the day they die.
Yet we know that this doesn’t really reflect who we are – that as many crappy people there are, there are also good people out there doing good things, every day. For every petty, close-minded bureaucrat there is a committed activist; for every brutal dictator there’s a peacemaker. Somewhere out there are people doing something they love – something that makes the world a little better. So we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to remind each other of this?
We thought about just promoting charities or NGOs, but somehow that wasn’t very inspiring. Every holiday season we get emails from people tugging at our heartstrings and asking for our money. Of course, many good causes DO need money – but how do you know your money is actually going to help anyone? And right now, a lot of us are just trying to make ends meet. Between charities, taxes, advertising and multinationals, it’s easy to feel like everybody just wants to sell you something. More cynicism.
So instead we took up one simple theme: good people, doing good things. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if they are local or foreign, friends or strangers, politicians or activists, multimillionaires or monks – as long as they’re out there doing something good. Some of the people here you’ve probably heard of. Many, we hope, you haven’t – because we wanted to bring to light some of the less famous people out there who have still made some some sort of positive impact. When appropriate, we’ve included information about how to help them – through money or through support. But the point, really, is to help you.
We hope that one of these stories lands in your inbox and makes your day a little brighter, especially a day that might otherwise be crappy. Remember the good people – and when you can, join them.