Reasons to be cheerful – Welcome to our beautiful world!

The weather is uplifting right now, with glorious sunshine for what feels like the first time in ages. And we have some wonderfully uplifting stories to tell from around the world. Here are some grand reasons to be cheerful in May!

Tree by name, green by nature

Is it working or is it hopeless? Here’s some great news. Scientists say conservation efforts around the world are saving species. If we can just scale all the small efforts people are making up, we should be able to reverse biodiversity loss and make climate change slow down. Apparently all sorts of different conservation interventions have boosted biodiversity or slowed it right down compared to what would have happened if people sat back and did nothing.

The brilliant farmer and writer Isabella Tree plays a vital part in the UK’s rewilding revolution, and she’s equally optimistic. She’s the author of the best-selling 2018 book Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm, which is full of inspiration. Her own farm has seen a dramatic boom in wildlife, including critically endangered birds like nightingales and turtle doves. In her experience, ‘nature bounces back if you just let it’. Her garden, for instance, sits on top of 400 tonnes of unwanted crushed brick and concrete. In just two years it has morphed from looking like a building site to a lush dry-conditions garden that sustains over a thousand different types of plant. And biodiversity has shot up by a third. That’s what we call a real message of hope.

Feeling great about fashion

As everyone who loves clothes knows, the things we wear affect the way we feel. But dig a little bit deeper and there’s an amazing message in there for all of us. The experts say it’s important to feel a connection between the things we wear and the way we are. In other words, clothes feel extra-good when it creates a psychological alignment between your inner and external selves. In a world where high street fashions don’t always suit everyone, does your clothing truly represent you?

We asked a friend who said she spent years flip-flopping between tailored tweedy clothes and hippie clothing. She wasn’t truly happy with the way she looked until she combined the two into a ‘tweedy hippy’ look. Now she feels ‘right’, true to herself in a way she’d never felt before. Isn’t that interesting! How about you?

There’s a world of difference between buying fast fashion and slow fashion. Slow fashion gives us the chance to add real meaning to the clothes we buy because we cherish them instead of wearing them a few times then throwing them away. Slow fashion feels great when you first buy it because you know you’re doing a good thing. Because you adore wearing it and take good care of it for months and sometimes years, you feel good in the long term as well. And you look amazing! Very cool.

Kindness overflows in Holland

If you’ve ever struggled to get out from underneath even a small amount of debt, you’ll know how hard it is to get yourself back to safety. The Dutch are known for their pragmatic views on life, the universe and everything. Now the city of Arnhem has promised to wipe the debts of some of its poorest families to give them a fresh start.

There’s already a system in place to help the city’s poor but it hasn’t been working very well, letting down the people who need it most. Being in constant debt makes people ill, which costs the healthcare system a fortune, so it makes sense to think afresh. The two year test will remove the debts of 60 families with no strings attached. The idea is that once the stress of debt is removed, people will rediscover their dignity, be able to innovate, change their lives, and get back in control of their finances.

Transport for London’s amazing 15 mile walking route

There’s a new 15 mile walking route connecting communities and green spaces across the capital. It’s called the Green Link Walk, part of London’s bid to become the world’s most walkable city. The idea is down to TfL and the authorities in the City of London, Southwark, Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, all of which are keen to give people better access to the green stuff and support the hot trend for leisure walking. The project also chimes neatly with the London mayor’s own manifesto.

The Green Link Walk takes you from Epping Forest to Peckham town via almost 40 green spaces and waterways, fulfilling the dreams of the 57% of Londoners who say they want to walk more often and enjoy more of the city’s many green landscapes. Bollards have been removed for easier access and there’s new signage to show people the way.

Wishing you a gorgeous May full of sunshine and colour So let’s raise a glass to May. Here’s to more good news for next time!

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