In his 2005 HBO stand-up comedy special, world-famous philosopher and social critic (posing as a stand-up comedian) George Carlin has enumerated quite a few things humanity should be ashamed of, like war, genocide, consumerism, and several others. If you look at the mainstream media, all you see is bad news: an earthquake here, famine there, a caravan of desperate people heading for the US border, armed conflicts all over the world, and countless examples of corporate greed exploiting not only humans but animals, nature, the planet as a whole. In times like these, it’s hard to remember that there are still things that make us as a species worthy of survival. If you find it hard to think of any, here are a few things that will – at least for a while – restore your faith in humanity.
England’s soccer team donates all World Cup winnings to charities
Sports stars are just a bunch of overpaid entertainers – this is something that probably crosses the minds of many when seeing the fabulous amounts they make year after year. This might be true – but, it seems, not all of them are greedy. After failing to take home the World Cup this year (France proved it’s better at football),
England’s national football team donated all its World Cup winnings to charity. And it’s not two pennies either – the team took home at least $22 million by reaching the semi-final in the competition.
Prepare to be even more surprised: England’s footballers have been playing internationally for free for more than a decade. Since 2007, all their wages from international games to charity through the England Footballers Foundation (EFF), supporting charities like UNICEF, Cancer Research UK, The Honeypot Children’s Charity, and many others.
March for Our Lives, Washington DC, USA
Everyone in the United States of America has the right to bear arms, according to their Constitution’s Second Amendment. Sometimes, this leads to tragic incidents – like the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018. This tragic event triggered a massive outrage not only from the media but from the students, too – on March 24, they organized a massive demonstration in Washington DC (and inspired over 800 similar events all across the US and the world) demanding tighter gun control.
While the protests were criticized by many, claiming that their goal was to “destroy the Second Amendment”, media outlets have described them as a potential tipping point for gun control legislation in the country.
The Two Koreas
North Korea and South Korea have had an antagonistic relationship for decades – and they both took a step in the right direction this year. This spring, the presidents of the two countries – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and South Korean president Moon Jae-In met for the first time, each of them stepping on the soil of the neighbouring country as a symbolic gesture. Their first summit was mostly ceremonial, with symbolic gestures made by both, including the planting of a tree, the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula, and had a formal dinner.
Since then, the two leaders met twice – in May and September – and are planning to organize another in December, when North Korean president Kim Jong Un will visit Seoul.