David Byrne

David Byrne is the founder of Reasons to be Cheerful.

How America Is Winning the War on Overfishing

6 min read

Though overfishing remains a global problem, a science-driven approach has led to surprisingly sustainable practices in some countries, including the U.S.

From 30 Million Cases to Zero

4 min read

After a 70-year effort China has eradicated malaria. Could other countries replicate their success?

Keeping People Out of Jail Keeps People Out of Jail

8 min read

To reduce incarceration, some counties and cities have stopped automatically prosecuting minor nonviolent crimes — and crime overall has gone down. A wave of policy and policing reform has followed.

When One City Gave People Cash, They Went Out and Got Jobs

5 min read

Residents of Stockton, California who received $500 a month disproved the notion that handouts make people lazy.

We Can Eliminate Child Poverty

4 min read

The U.S. stimulus bill includes guaranteed monthly payments to families with children. Will it work? It already has.

Cops and Hippies

5 min read

Not every call to the police requires an armed response. Now, a more compassionate alternative is catching on.

Libraries Are Going Fine-Free

4 min read

As fees for overdue items are forgiven, bookworms are flocking back.

Look What I Got!

5 min read

New Zealand improved recycling rates by awarding shiny gold stars, showing that social approval can be a more powerful motivator than money.

The Surprising Effect of a One-Time Gift

4 min read

How a single infusion of cash can help folks turn their lives around.

Pictures of Our Strange New World

2 min read

Life looks a little different these days.

The Complicated World of Staten Island

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What the New York borough that voted for Trump taught me about the messy business of bridging divides.

A Tool for Understanding

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What if, instead of hating each other’s beliefs, we learned more about where they come from?

I Am One of Our Stories

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If we can hold up a mirror to ourselves and change, that’s a reason to be cheerful.

We Know How to Fix Student Debt

6 min read

The U.S. government spends more on higher education than many countries where students graduate with far less debt. Is there a better way?

We Know How to Fix the Police

8 min read

The data proves that regulating police behavior results in fewer killings of civilians.

Europe Is Going Coal-Free

5 min read

By the end of this decade, the world’s dirtiest source of energy will have vanished from over a dozen European countries.

Can We All Be Like Texas?

4 min read

How a conservative, oil-pumping state became one of the world’s biggest generators of wind power.

There’s a Better Way to Vote

6 min read
As America’s primary elections stumble along, a fairer method of picking who runs the country is gaining ground.

The World Is Changing — So Can We

4 min read

The pandemic is revealing the many ways our lives intersect. Is this an opportunity for us to reimagine what we can be?

Who Killed Tony the Tiger?

2 min read

Chile is banning cereal mascots and slapping warning labels on unhealthy foods. Now even the kids won’t touch them.

But Would You Live There?

7 min read

In Singapore, housing is affordable, diverse and impeccably maintained.

Is It Okay to Copy China?

9 min read

A country that opposes human rights and democracy is also coming up with some smart solutions. Can we emulate the good without endorsing the bad?

100 Years of Urban Housing Success

7 min read

As cities around the world confront an affordability crisis, a few have spent a century perfecting the art of subsidized housing for the masses.

Tchau Tchau, Malaria

5 min read

In country after country, one of the world’s deadliest diseases is being eradicated. In many cases, it’s women leading the fight.

Ban the Bag!

5 min read

Those ubiquitous flimsy shopping sacks are vanishing from country after country, leaving less plastic in our seas, our trees and our own digestive systems.

Austerity Is Not the Only Way: Portugal!

& 7 min read

While other European countries cut their budgets to the bone, Portugal lent its citizens a helping hand. Guess who came out on top.

Changing Behavior: Economic Incentives

6 min read

Mexico’s tax on sugary drinks will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. Ahhh… sweet social change.

The Center is Everywhere: Indonesia!

4 min read

A collectivist spirit permeates this island nation’s art scene, where artists supporting artists has helped the creative ecology thrive.

Cars in Cities: How’s That Working Out?

7 min read

They’re dangerous, destructive, polluting, expensive, inefficient and inequitable—not to mention a pain in the ass. Now cars are being chased off city streets. That’s progress.

Everybody Needs a Home

7 min read

What would happen if our first step towards solving homelessness was to actually give people someplace to live?

Nonstop Art in Lagos

6 min read

This bustling Nigerian city is bursting at the seams with art fairs, biennials and galleries. Now, some of the artists who left to find work elsewhere are returning home.

Can Lawsuits Save Planet Earth?

5 min read

These days, the litigators hauling climate change scoundrels into court are doing more than any politician to keep our environment healthy and livable.

India’s Amazing Art Hub

2 min read

Not long ago I ended up at a biennial in Kochi, a little Indian city with a thriving art scene. Could this be a place where artists can make a living?


3 min read

More and more institutions and even whole countries are ending their investments in fossil fuels. This is happening. Money talks.

Doing the Right Thing is Good Business

4 min read

These days, fossil fuels look like a shakier investment than ever. As more investors decide the smart money is on clean energy, a tipping point appears near.

Can We Change Our Behavior or are We Stuck?

5 min read

Our future survival may depend on our ability to adopt more selfless habits. One city has proven we can do it.

The Ecology of Creativity

4 min read

Is the art world in the midst of a vast diffusion? These days, creative ecologies are proliferating, and the center appears to be everywhere and nowhere.

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