What can we be thankful for in the midst of doom and gloomy news of the economy? Here are 7 items from the news for which we can ALL be grateful this holiday season…
What can we be thankful for?
1) Filling up our gas tanks for under $30.00.
Buying gas for $1.89 a gallon is now a reality for much of the country as crude prices dropped under $50.00 a barrel for the first time in 3 years — REAL relief, just in time for the holiday season, when families fill cars with presents and travel on highways to visit loved ones.
2) Traveling will likely be safer this season – whether by car or airplane.
The U.S. traffic death toll in 2008— according to a mid-year study— could reach its lowest level in almost 50 years. Traffic deaths last year dropped to the lowest level since 1994, and deaths per 100 million miles traveled are the lowest on record, the government said in August.
2007 was also one of the safest years in modern aviation history, with the lowest number of crashes worldwide since 1963, 28 fewer than in 2006, even while the number of airplanes in the sky increased.
3) Americans will continue giving to others, despite economic downturn.
Historically, looking at the trends over 40 years, charitable giving overall has not declined much during hard economic times… Recently a survey showed that most Americans who had given to charities online in the past, plan to continue donating in the coming months. Half of donors plan to give before the end of the year. Sixty-seven percent of those will donate the same amount or more than last year. Only thirty-three percent say they’ll be giving less.
Traditional charities continue to be buoyant. During one month following the Wall Street collapse of September 15, the American Red Cross reached the halfway mark in its effort to raise $100 million through its Campaign for Disaster Relief – $50 million collected in hard times.
According to a Giving USA Foundation report, organizations that serve the needy tend to see contributions jump during the most difficult times, even in recession. Last year, as the economy deteriorated, The Salvation Army’s income from its holiday kettles (a small portion of overall donations) was a record $118 million.
(source: Christian Science Monitor)
4) The world is getting happier. And, in America, the overall ratio is about five to one in favor of happiness on any average day.
Overall, the world is getting happier, according to a World Values Survey, done regularly by a global network of social scientists. It found happiness to be on the rise since 1981 in 45 of 52 countries analyzed. Some of the optimism is attributed to economic growth in previously poor countries, democratization of others, and rising social tolerance for women and minority groups. (Thanks also to the Gallup Organization’s new Happiness Index – Read more about it at McClatchy)
5) Wind Power in the US is set increase by 45% this year.
Renewable energy markets surged in the United States in the first half of 2008 — including wind power, on a pace to increase 45% this year. In fact, wind, solar, and geothermal energy are all on the rise. And, the $700 billion rescue plan for the economy includes incentives and benefits for green consumers and businesses that want to expand energy conservation and renewable energy.
6) Foreclosures of rental properties have ceased, thanks to a hero sheriff.
Families who’ve paid rent on time are no longer being thrown out into the street in Metropolitan Chicago because of one man seeing the unfairness and standing for principle. Hero Sheriff Tom Dart said he would protect innocent renters who are playing by the rules, but whose landlords are facing imminent foreclosure. In his jurisdiction, Cook County, the second most populous county in the US after Los Angeles, after weeks of heartless evictions, Dart decided that it was only fair to protect renters from these surprise evictions, when they have always paid their rent on time. (Watch a video on GNN-i)
7) The number of new cancer cases is falling in the U.S. for the first time.
Cancer researchers have been waiting for this day for a long time. For the first time since we began counting them, the number of new cancer cases has gone down. For both men and women the rates are falling across the board for lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. The declines held across racial lines for whites, blacks, hispanics and Asian. “What we’re seeing is clear evidence that cancer prevention is working.” This month, the CDC reported the number of adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent. (Details in a story this week)
Editor’s Note: The Good News Network wishes all our American friends — and any Americans at heart — a very wonderful Thanksgiving. This 7-part posting will be my sole offering for Thursday, while I busy myself in the kitchen — and with guests — on this most scrumptious holiday. But we will be back tomorrow to bring you more good news and more reasons to be grateful! (Lifting a glass of white wine to all my viewers) Cheers!