Good News

Not many people know this, but the human mind is designed to store bad news more securely than good. The hippocampus, together with some other brain-based archivers catalogue all the scary, threatening information we encounter so that the next time we come across a hot stove or a wet bumble bee, we have a mental post-it note suggesting we should avoid this experience.

While this is a useful defence mechanism, it can be (and often is) misinterpreted by our consciousness, meaning that horrific experiences are recorded more securely than pleasant ones and consequently our accumulative world perceptions are shifted towards terrifying. It is particularly nice then when an idea like Handprints comes along to throw some counter-balance onto the scales of perception.

Handprints is an idea dreamed up by Gregory Norris. While the infamous Carbon Footprint is available everywhere, the concept allows people to measure the positive aspect they have on the world. By logging on to the site, users can calculate their carbon footprint, find and create new ways of being more environmentally friendly, and share those ideas with friends. For each action a person takes to reduce their footprint, their handprint increases. Each action affects your handprint in a different way.

The great thing about this site is that it allows you to measure the positive impact you are having on the planet. People need to know about the consequences of their actions, but those aren’t necessarily the best method to promote them into action. This site uses juicy feedback to stimulate action, and provoke pride in their social conscientiousness.


Almost as important, it promotes sharing. When people refer their friends to Handprinter, their handprint increases with each recruit they recruit, and each recruit their recruit recruits, and so on.

Finally, some good news worth listening to.