The times they are a-changin’

As we continue to roll into 2017, we’ve decided to make March ‘change’ month on DPSN.  We’ve asked our bloggers to let us know their thoughts on change – be it positive or negative experiences, how people cope with change in themselves or others, or how the world is changing around us.  As always, we’re keen for you to be part of the conversation, so let us know your thoughts on change in the comments below, or jump over to our Facebook page to join the conversation.

I think 2016 felt like a hard year for a lot of people, with so many things in world seeming to change for the worst.

Apart from such awful tragedies as the Orlando shooting in the US, Bastille Day attack in France, bombings in Turkey and the ongoing crisis in Syria, 2016 also saw the historic and shocking decision of Britain voting to leave the EU.

Change ahead sign

Across the world it seems as though terrorist attacks, hate crimes and divisiveness seem to be on the rise.  Not to mention natural disasters, like the Zika virus, or the terrifying Kaikoura earthquake in our own backyard.

It doesn’t help that 2017 seems to be continuing in the same vein, with a certain president in the US already attempting to legislate a variety of human rights violations.

Now I’m not sure whether on balance the world really is all doom and gloom, or whether it’s just that bad news is more popular, and covered more frequently (and more enthusiastically) by the media.  But it’s easy to feel a bit hopeless and helpless in the face of it all.

One way of coping with it is to stop reading the news altogether, which I sometimes manage to do.  Another thing I tried towards the end of 2016 is to actively seek out information on the more positive changes that are happening in our world.  It can take a bit of work, but in the world of the internet, there is plenty of info around if you go looking for it!

I managed to find out, for example, that a range of amazing advances in medicine have been made.  The first patient in a new HIV study has shown no virus after initial treatment, meaning a cure could be on it’s way.  Also, funding raised from the viral Ice Bucket challenge on social media actually led to a breakthrough in ALS research and the identification of a new gene that contributes to the disease, presenting researchers with a potential target for treatment.  

Child mortality rates have fallen hugely worldwide (and continue to plummet) while scientists have made massive strides in Alzheimer’s prevention.

Animals and the environment fared well in some areas too – tiger and manatee numbers have increased, pandas are no longer considered endangered, and the hole in the ozone layer is closing.  

The world’s largest marine reserve is being established by 24 different countries in Antarctica’s Ross Sea and 800,000 volunteers in India banded together to plant an incredible 50 million trees in one day.

In slightly more nerdy news, gravitational waves were finally detected (proving Einstein right in his theory of relativity) and Nasa’s Juno mission took the first up close pictures of Jupiter.

Not to mention my favourite piece of good news – coffee consumption may be tied to a lower risk of suicide.  So caffeine addicts (like me), drink up!

Personally, this really helps to combat the “bad news vibes” and foster a cautious sense of optimism about the future.  It’s a helpful reminder that, although there are still plenty of things that are not right, some things really are getting better.

I guess it just helps to remind me that there are good and bad sides to everything – even in our rapidly changing world.

So, what do you think of the change you see around you?  And how do you cope with it?

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