The issue also reports on people who have quit high-carbon careers to work for the planet, plans to create the world’s largest urban garden and how comedy lessons are being prescribed to trauma survivors. Editor-in-chief Lucy Purdy introduces it

“Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another,” read the Instagram post that caught my eye the other day. “The fact that suffering, mundanity and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable,” it continued.

Many of us have felt such dichotomies in recent weeks, watching events unfold in Ukraine. Some of our readers have reported lurching between anger, guilt and compassion.

So how can we respond to such a crisis, and the information surrounding it, if we’re lucky enough to be somewhere that feels relatively safe and removed from the frontline?

Wisdom on this score comes this issue from Oliver Burkeman. Marinating 24/7 in horrifying news or impotent outrage doesn’t help anyone, he suggests. But regulating your news intake, and focusing instead on the things you can do, might help. That could be taking practical actions to support displaced citizens (and we’ve rounded up some options in this issue’s regular Sparks feature). Or it might simply mean focusing – as friends, employees or parents – on the things closer to home that help create the kind of world you’d like.

As I hope you’ll experience reading this issue, examples of the best in humanity are unfolding all around us, too. Our cover story, about efforts to re-energise the UK’s beleaguered high streets, features people up and down the country who are fully stocked with passion and purpose.

We also speak to three people who have left high-carbon jobs to channel their skills towards planetary good.

As I hope you’ll experience reading this issue, examples of the best in humanity are unfolding all around us

Our journalists report on how lessons in comedy could help trauma survivors to thrive; on a Brazilian bid to create the world’s largest urban garden; and on the inspiring charge to be found in community-owned energy at a time when our dependence on fossil fuels has never felt more ominous.

Elsewhere, author Miranda Keeling spots moments of beauty and magic in everyday life. “You’ll see that we live in a world of wonders,” she reflects. “Not always gobsmacking, fall-off-your-chair marvels. But things of quiet beauty.”

As geopolitical horrors threaten to deafen us into powerlessness, then beauty – of both the quiet and bolder variety – is perhaps among the things we can engage with. And there is plenty to be found within the stories that follow.

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