If you are reading this, it means you are in the richest 78.9% of the world's population.
The vast majority of people on this earth have never used a computer.
They can't afford it. You can, and you're in the richest fifth of the entire world's population!
If you are reading this, you probably have access to an unlimited amount of fresh drinking water. From a tap, in your home. How good is that? We are so lucky to have this. Some people don't have access to a tap, or even clean water. Its also likely you have enough food to eat to, and a huge choice to choose from. Millions of people would love to have access to the things you have.
In the UK you can get public transport to any part of the country without needing special permission papers, you can cycle around without worrying about being shot.
One way to feel happy is to remember the good things you have, and take for granted.
A curious fact: Its physically impossible to be depressed during vigorous exercise.
Going for an intense run for ten minutes or riding hard can make you feel better, so if you feel down, try it! Being amongst trees and nature is a great relief from urban living and refreshes the mind.
If you are able to read this, you are probably soooo free. You don't have a soldier telling you what to do, you are free to go where you want, see who you want to see and fall in love no matter what race or religion you are. You have the opportunity to go into politics or set up a company, or just relax with friends, take up hobbies, speak your mind and believe what you wish.
This may put things in perspective. In a world where advertising and culture can make you feel inadequate for not owning certain possessions, you can forget how lucky you are.
If in doubt, write down the following.
1. Five people you enjoy being around (friends, family, even acquaintances)
2. Two things you enjoy (anything, from a certain chocolate bar, to riding through woodland).
3. Two things you're achieved in the last year (anything, from making a friend, to passing a test)
Increase the numbers if you like, but the point of the above is to appreciate what you have, rather than focusing on what you don't have.
It is said 'a persons worth is not defined by their possessions'. A quality of life is defined by contribution and relationships. Remember this if you can.
The news is usually negative and can take its toll on you. Britain is the 7th richest country in the world, and people still complain, perhaps because they regularly watch and read negative news, telling them the very worse things happening at any time. For example, the Daily Mail would have you believe your country has 'gone to the dogs' because your wheelie bin is now only collected every two weeks - a pathetically trivial problem - in fact not a problem at all if you use your recycling bins properly, and important for the future.
Of course its important to know what's going on in the world, but its important to remember, often this is the very worse stuff going on. Do something to make things better if you can - write that letter to your MP or the United Nations to help people in Syria or Palestine for example. However, for every person harmed you hear about in the news, millions upon millions of people are unharmed, and looking out for each other. For every war in the news, there is far more peace. So remember
the positive things going on in the world every day.
The world won't end, we're not all doomed!
Some people get depressed and confused, thinking that the world's demise is imminent. Climate change and ecosystem destruction may lead to our demise, but it probably won't, because we'll take action. Looking at history, big challenges have been overcome. World War Two for example - the Nazis were winning at various points, but in the end the good guys won. Moreover....
People thought women wouldn't get the vote in the UK. They did.
Many thought people of colour in the USA wouldn't get the vote. They did.
More than 100 years ago, slavery was abolished in the western world, despite all the economic arguments at the time.
In the UK we have near to 100% literacy rates, something that seemed unlikely 200 years ago. We have a network of train lines, electricity cable and phone lines to every home, with more and more people fitting solar panels, riding bikes and replacing old polluting vehicles with electric cars.
The world is not yet perfect, and there are challenges ahead, but these things declared unachievable one time came about, hope turning into reality. So with climate change, its a huge challenge, as is the continued destruction of the world's ecosystems on which we depend. Especially with large companies trying to make us forget, and focus on continued consumption for ever lasting economic growth on a finite planet. But other environmental challenges have been over come...
In the 1970s nuclear waste, old London buses and electronic waste was just thrown into the sea This is now illegal, nuclear waste has been cleaned up from the sea, London buses are recycled and its even illegal to throw electronic waste into a skip or wheely bin - it has to be recycled under the WEEE directive by under UK and EU law.
In the 1990s a hole in the ozone layer was growing. CFCs were clearly the cause, and scientists and civil society started to call for their abolition. An industry group was formed to confuse the public and push for 'sensible' use of CFCs rather than their ban - just like the plastic bag lobby today.
A fridge that didn't need to use CFCs, was developed by scientists commissioned by Greenpeace. This was however purposely discredited by corporate lobby groups - spreading lies in the press about them catching fire and not working. (Similar to the negative PR on electric cars recently). However, against industry lobbying and nay sayers, CFCs were successfully banned. To cut a long story short, this Greenpeace fridge technology is now used in every fridge in the world,
CFCs have now been virtually banned and the ozone layer is healing.
Similarly the problem of acid rain has been solved, despite industry complaints about the increased economic burden on them - the cost of 'scrubbers' to remove sulphur from power station chimneys.
Leaded Petrol resulted in unecessary air pollution, breathing problems and probably cancera mong thousands of people. Thomas Midgley who invented the tetraeathyllead petrol additive denied any health risk of the chemical - just like the cigarrette companies later that century. In any case, Mr. Midgley with huge industry power delayed the ban of lead petrol - but it still happened, and now air pollution from cars is much less, and you can't even buy leaded petrol - a great victory for the environment and common sense.
Its easy to go from climate change denial (saying its not happening or not man made), to saying its too late - this is what a lot of people and journalists have done - its an excuse for inaction. But its not to late, and we will solve the climate change problem. (If YOU help...)
So it might seem like the end is nigh - but in reality, there is great hope.
So cheer up, it aint over!
If you would like to help, join Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth and get your friends, family and workplace to go green. Help stop torture, and the encourage the liberation of people by joining Amnesty International.
The most happy people in society tend to be those involved in helping others.
Its the way God made it. Thats why a celebrity with the most expensive cars, houses and fame can commit suicide or harm themselves through drug use, whilst Mother Teresa, or the humble charity worker can live a life of fulfillment.
Join the revolution.
Hopefully this page has made you smile. At least a little it : -)
If not here is a short Charlie Chaplain clip: