Good news for humankind!
From the week of December 11 - 17 2023 C.E.
The Southeast Asian country will become the third Asian nation, after Taiwan and Nepal, to legalize same-sex marriage. A new amendment to its Civil and Commercial Code will change the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners.” The next step will be an amendment to the country’s pension fund law to recognize same-sex couples.
The deal comes as part of a debt forgiveness program —called the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative— overseen by the IMF and the World Bank. As a result of its participation in the program, Somalia’s external debt will fall from 64% of GDP in 2018 to less than 6% of GDP by the end of 2023.
For the first time, Ecuador has recognized an Indigenous population’s right to “possess a territory that has been declared a protected area.” Indigenous advocates hope this ruling can serve as a precedent for other Indigenous communities that are trying to regain control of their land.
Tribal communities in Colorado share some of the same registration and voting barriers as other rural communities across the U.S., like geographic isolation and unreliable mail delivery. But according to the Native American Rights Fund, tribal communities also commonly experience obstacles like language barriers, a lack of voter registration opportunities, and state laws in some parts of the country that block polling places on tribal lands.
The European Commission has agreed that Germany should be allowed to pay the energy giant RWE some €2.6 billion in state aid for the early closure of coal power stations. Under German law, no more electricity is to be produced from coal from 2038 onward. However, this new agreement moves the date forward to 2030.
The vote came almost two years after the island’s Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law – which said marriage was between a man and a woman – was unconstitutional. It made Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
The world's last countries affirm the right of all adults to love who they love and marry the partner of their choice.
Thank you screens
We spend a lot of time decrying the toxic effects of our screens and devices. And not without good reason: our digital fixations often pull us out of the here and now and warp our bodies' and minds' normal, healthy cycles. Deep down, we yearn for a sense of sustained peace and satisfaction in our lives, but our screens distract and cloud us with the allure of instant gratification.
I certainly share the concern. I see the part of me that habitually reaches for my phone in any "dull" or difficult moment. I aspire to spend more of my time simply being with myself in the present moment and letting that be enough.
But I also can't help but feel that our discourse on this dynamic has itself become somewhat toxic. There are valid concerns, for sure. But it also feels like we've lost sight of what incredible opportunities our screens and devices offer us: to access new ideas and art from around the world, to build an audience for our own creations and offerings, to stay connected with loved ones half a world away, to find "our people" amidst geographic isolation. It's modern-day magic. Our screens open our lives to near-limitless possibility and opportunity.
It's odd to me how seldom we actually just stop and acknowledge this explicitly and unapologetically.
I imagine what our ancestors might think if they could see us. They'd almost certainly have a lot to say about the wisdom of "boredom" and presence. They'd probably be confused by how we live much of our lives. But at the same time, I can't help but think they'd also be rolling their eyes at us everytime we go to criticize our screen time. Here we are with access to such incredible, jaw-dropping magic. Just a minute or two with one of our devices would for them be the experience of a lifetime. And yet here we are, seemingly condemning and shaming ourselves for giving into their exceedingly understandable allure.
I'm not suggesting we stop reflecting on how we are misusing our screens. There is something real and important worth reckoning with there.
But, if peace and satisfaction are truly what we are after, perhaps simple gratitude is our best path there.
Life & Career Coach
Founder & Executive Director, Spark of Genius