Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Reasons for Optimism

Posted from Culver City, California at 6:56 pm, December 15th, 2019

Every day while I’m working, one of the neighbors passes by our house walking his dog. The reason this event is worth noting is because the dog is now too old to walk, so the the owner has built a wooden platform on wheels and pulls the dog up and down the street, presumably so that the dog still gets the joy of being outside. It’s a nice daily reminder that there are an infinite amount of amazing acts of kindness that happen on this earth, most of which go completely unnoticed. Humans are hard-wired to pick up on negativity and to react more strongly to bad experiences, but I really believe that there is far more to be hopeful about in this world than there is to despair over.

A few more random items that inspire hopefulness:

  • In December 2017, a billionaire couple from Redding, California purchased 24,364 acres of pristine California coast near Santa Barbara for $165 million and donated it to the Nature Conservancy. The land is on Point Conception, which is where the California coast bends eastward, a meeting point of ocean currents that is an exceptionally productive ecosystem. Anyone who has driven the Central Coast knows that it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and now a large chunk is guaranteed to stay that way forever.
  • After being eradicated from California in the 1920s, gray wolves have been returning to the state since 2011, and there is now a breeding pack of wolves living near Mount Lassen that has been dubbed the Lassen Pack. The tiny pack consists of only 2 adults, 1 yearling, and 4 pups. While the pack travels widely enough that they may eventually leave the state again, at least for now California is home to an animal that was missing for almost one hundred years, and there is reason to believe that other packs will form here in the coming years.
  • Despite the current polarized political environment, in March of this year the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act became law with overwhelming bipartisan support, passing in the Senate 92-8, passing in the House 363-62, and getting signed by the President. While it does many things, highlights of this bill include wilderness protection for 1.3 million acres, expansion of eight national parks, the creation of four new national monuments, and permanent authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The latter was perhaps the most important part of this bill, as the LWCF had lapsed in October 2018 due to opposition from a small number of legislators. With the fund now permanently authorized, about $900 million collected annually from offshore oil and gas leases is again available, and will remain available, to be used for everything from buying land for conservation to maintaining trails at existing sites. Since its original creation in 1965, money from this fund has been used in every single county in the country.
Good things happen all around us

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