Chicken little forecast

Still Chugging Along

Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.


What Could Go Right? Love bites (less than it used to)

Over time, we’re dropping the bigotry, oppression, and suffering of marriages of old.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

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🎉 Season 4 is here!

👉 Calling all doomscrollers, defeatists, and cynics! Zachary Karabell and Emma Varvaloucas are back to host the fourth season of the What Could Go Right? podcast.

 Our first episode sifts through the good indicators we see for 2023.

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Love bites (less than it used to)

Fun facts about being a woman: In England just 200 years ago, if your husband got tired of you, he could sell you to the highest bidder. It was up to him if he wanted to throw the kids in as well.

Fun facts about being LGBTQ: In England just 70 years ago, you could be prosecuted for homosexual sex. Indeed, British mathematician Alan Turing, famous for breaking German encryption in World War II, chose forced sterilization over a prison sentence.

“Many of our current social victories in the progress of love feel unintuitive to comprehend as victories, largely because we see them, and rightfully so, as triumphs over unquestionably egregious conditions that should never have existed in the first place,” writes Tony Morley for The Progress Network (TPN) on the last two centuries’ victories of love. But victories they are nonetheless, Morley says, from trends in the legality of domestic violence to the decriminalization of homosexuality to the sustained decline in child marriage. In other words, love bites a lot less than it used to.

We are starting to see change, for instance, even in countries where opposition to LGBTQ rights has been historically strong. The government of Sri Lanka, for instance, has just agreed to decriminalize homosexuality, and following a court decision last summer, Slovenia has now officially legalized same-sex marriage and adoption, the first eastern European country to do so. Perhaps feeling FOMO after the Church of Wales agreed to bless (but not conduct) same-sex marriage in 2021 and the Church of Scotland agreed to conduct them in 2022, the Church of England has just voted to bless them. The Church will also soon review the ban on clergy “entering into same-sex civil marriages and a celibacy rule for clergy in same-sex relationships,” reports The Guardian.

And family policies, too, are slowly changing. In a Valentine’s Day gift much better than flowers, on Tuesday Singapore’s government announced that it would pay to double paternity leave from two to four weeks, for companies that want to offer it. Paternity leave was introduced in 2013, and now more than half of Singapore’s fathers use it. 

Last but not least, if you really want to feel the love this week, here is TPN Member Arthur Brooks on bringing back the old-school romance of reading to your partner—having recently done this, I can attest to it—and Member Courtney Martin on why she changed her mind about marriage.

Before we go

Space discoveries: Jupiter just found out that he has more moons than he thought he did

Climate progress: The world’s largest producer of wind turbines says it has developed a chemical formulation that recycles wind turbines, which if true would solve the issue of old turbines sitting around in landfills. (The ones that aren’t being turned into benches and bus stop overhangs, anyway.) And the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that even though the next handful of years will see more electricity demand than ever before, renewables and nuclear energy will cover it completely, meaning that we will not see increased emissions from the increased use of electricity.

Police reform: Don’t give up on it, writes TPN Member Matthew Ygelsias. He goes more into detail on some of the statistics I shared last week.

Below in the links section, yellowfin tuna are celebrating a big win, AI is decoding a 2,000-year-old lost book, more people are living to be centenarians, and more.

According to the report, Gallup polls show support for capital punishment falling to 54 percent in 2021 from 80 percent in 1994. Data from the General Social Survey (GSS) shows a similar decline, with 56 percent of the public supporting the death penalty in 2021, down from 75 percent in 1994.

Now is the best time in history to love and be loved

The incredible social and human rights improvements over the last two centuries are powerful evidence that further progress remains possible. | Read more

Good indicators: A bird’s-eye view of 2023 | S4 E1

What’s going on with “the economy”? Is now the best time to be in love in all of human history? Should we be worried about the global state of democracy? “What Could Go Right?” hosts Zachary Karabell, TPN’s founder, and Emma Varvaloucas, TPN’s executive director, take a look at the world as it currently is and as it could be in 2023. | Listen to the episode

Progress, Please

(Found good news? Tweet at us @progressntwrk or email.)

Other good stuff in the news 🚀

Energy & Environment:

Science & Tech:

Politics & Policy:

Public Health:

Society & Culture:


TPN Member originals 🧠

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Department of Ideas 💡
(A staff recommendation guaranteed to give your brain some food for thought.)

How to pursue truth in six stepsDiscourse
Our minds are easily led away from truth—how best can we pursue it?

Why we picked it: Exhausted by ideological beliefs that fly in the face of reason? Me too. May we all get better at abandoning them in pursuit of truth and rationality and wide open minds. —Brian Leli

Until Next Time

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Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.