"I know the world may seem dark at the moment, and it is a turbulent time filled with uncertainty," Kush says. "There’s so much negative news filling up our screens, and it’s difficult mentally and emotionally to constantly digest unwelcome stories. However, not everything has to be negative, so I’ve been inspired to focus on happy and hopeful messages, the good news in the world. Sometimes it takes a crisis for humanity to come together, so why not highlight all that good news in the world?"
Kush's aim is to share stories to uplift and inspire Fairfield County residents. Following are snippets from her first newsletter. You can subscribe here for her newsletter, emailed every Monday and Friday.
Clear Skies Ahead
A beautiful and welcome surprise for the people of Punjab, India: the sight of the Himalayan mountain range. For the first time in over 30 years, the peaks of the Himalayas are visible from more than 200 miles away. Smog and air pollution had previously blocked the view, but with the lockdown in India, there have been a lot fewer cars and trucks on the roads, leading to a dramatic reduction in air pollution.
In a nearby region, Jalandhar, the air quality has tested “good” on India’s national index for 16 out of the 17 days since the lockdown began. In comparison, over the same period last year, the region failed to register a single day of “good” air quality.
The air quality has improved all over India, with Delhi reporting a 71% improvement in pollution after the first week of lockdown measures.
Globally: Locals from Venice are reporting much clearer waters in the canals, perhaps due to a decrease in motorboats, crowds and air pollution. There’s even been more swans and fish spotted in the canals.
Meanwhile in China, some reports have estimated that the lockdown has prevented more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. For reference, that’s the equivalent of how much emissions Chile produces in a year.
A 28% Net Worth Donation
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, recently announced a donation of over a billion dollars to his Start Small Fund. The sum, accounting for nearly 28% of Dorsey’s net worth, comes primarily from his equity in digital payment firm Square.
How will the donations be dispersed? The money donated will be publicly tracked. First, the donations will be used for COVID-19 relief efforts. Then, the money’s focus “will shift to girl’s health and education and [universal basic income].”
More Noteworthy Donations: Following in Dorsey’s example, musicians including Elton John, Rihanna and Bruno Mars have also announced donations. Many of these donations are upwards of a million dollars and aimed to help others during the coronavirus epidemic.
Up, Up and Uplift
TJ Kim is 16-years old. He can’t drive by himself yet, but he can fly.
Numbers: Each week, TJ flies to rural hospitals in Virginia, donating medical supplies. On his last flight, he delivered 3,000 gloves, 1,000 head covers, 500 shoe covers, 50 non-surgical masks, 20 pairs of protective eyewear and 10 bottles of hand sanitizer.
While TJ was originally disappointed over the cancellation of his school classes and the lacrosse season, he channeled that disappointment into something positive by starting Operation SOS: Supplies over Skies. His father helps gather the supplies, and then TJ delivers those essentials to rural hospitals.
The Big Picture: TJ’s story is inspirational because he shows that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small. We can all play a small part in cheering up our family and friends, neighbors and coworkers. What’s especially pertinent though is that TJ channeled his strengths and ignored his weaknesses: he couldn’t drive to deliver supplies, but he could fly to those hospitals. It’s a great life lesson in focusing on the positives and playing to our strengths every day.