By MARIE LANDINGIN
The world – or, at least, the internet – seems to have come to an agreement that 2016 has been an utter mess, leaving us feeling like…
So, yeah, a lot of people want to farewell 2016 ASAP.
However amid all the doom and gloom dished out in 2016, there has been some pretty awesome stuff that we didn’t seem to notice. Before we hit the reset button and move into 2017, let’s focus on some of the great things that happened in 2016. There is always a lot worth celebrating – do you choose to focus on the negative or the positive?
#1: Rising animal populations
- In September, giant pandas were reclassified to no longer be considered an “endangered” species.
- Humpback whales are making a comeback – no longer considered an endangered species.
- And manatees – no longer endangered, too.
- Wild tigers are on the rise for the first time in a century.
#2: Progress in the fight against climate change
- 800,000 volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day. Just imagine if it were all 7 billion people on earth planting trees.
- Costa Rica ran solely on renewable energy for over 100 days.
- In 2016, scientists discovered that the ozone layer is repairing itself – and is predicted to be completely healed by 2050.
- Portugal ran on only renewable energy for four days straight.
- Major influential companies worldwide – including Google, Apple, and Facebook – are well on their way to running 100% on renewable energy.
- Morocco switched on the world’s largest concentrated solar plant.
#3: Successes in the world of medicine and health
- People got wet. Then the Ice Bucket Challenge funded an ALS breakthrough. Scientists found a gene that could potentially lead to treatments and cures for ALS in the future.
- Death by all major age-related diseases in developed countries, including cancer, dementia, and heart diseases, have all rapidly declined since the 1970s.
- A drug has been found to increase skin cancer survival rates to 40%.
- World hunger reached its lowest in 25 years. The UN now thinks it’s possible to eradicate world hunger within a generation.
#4: Technological successes
- These glasses allowed two colour-blind brothers to see colour for the first time.
- In 2016, virtual reality became a reality.
- A zero-fuel plane travelled around the world; proving a technological and environmental feat that a lot of people doubted.
#5: Pop culture was pretty great
- The Harry Potter world made a comeback with a book and a movie. Keep it up, J.K. Rowling. (This lady has been awesome – Rowling recently sent books to an H.P. fan who evacuated from Aleppo)
- Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY got an Oscar. Although this brings an end to all those great DiCaprio memes, you gotta be happy for the guy!
- We found out that Adele is coming to NZ… need I say more? (Who managed to get tickets? You lucky people!)
- Pokémon Go brought back the good ol’ days – kids got more active and it’s been found to have benefits to mental health (seriously).
#6: Political progress (yes, despite the general trend in politics this year)
- Myanmar elected its first civilian leader after more than 50 years of a military-led government, bringing hope for democracy, human rights and change in Myanmar after many years of hardship.
- New law in Malawi protects people with albinism, who were previously facing high risks of abduction and death for witchcraft.
- 2016 witnessed the first refugee team in the Olympics.
- There is hope for Nigeria’s missing girls. 21 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram were released in 2016. Although a vast majority of these girls are still held captive, this news brings hope. #bringbackourgirls
- Pakistan’s predominantly Muslim government has declared to make Hindu festivals, Holi and Diwali, and the Christian event of Easter public holidays. This is a display of openness and solidarity that many nations are invited to follow.
#7: Even more awesome stuff
- In September, two stolen Vincent van Gogh paintings were recovered – a part of art and cultural history has been restored.
- Volunteering among 16-25 year olds skyrocketed in the UK.
#8: The good that came from violence and terrorism
- After all the terrorist attacks and violence that happened in 2016, thousands of people worldwide gathered in unity, strength, hope and compassion in times of despair. This happened in Belgium following the bomb attacks in March.
- This also happened in Paris after its attacks in November.
- And after Orlando in June.
- Even here in NZ for Syria and particularly Aleppo.
- These are only a few examples of people are voicing their care and desire for change. Among all the misery we’ve witnessed, it is hopeful to see and hear of so many people like this in today’s world.
#9: And you can’t forget this
- You are alive.
Plus many, many more.
We can’t deny that there are bad things going on everywhere. Unfortunately that’s the reality of life. The world will never be perfect. Things will always go wrong.
However, what’s the point in wallowing in an eternal chain of negativity? Perhaps our human tendency to be captivated by tragedies, like moths to a light, is to blame. Consumed in the misery in the world, we often forget to be grateful for the good things around us. Let’s focus on making this world a little sweeter. We can start by bringing about change through even the smallest acts of goodness.
There are a remarkable number of good stories – moments of triumph, noble displays of humanity, and beacons of hope – that go unreported every day. Don’t lose hope. The world is more beautiful than it sometimes seems.
Life is worth celebrating, so let’s end 2016 with at least a good dose of positivity.
And as for 2017, make it a good year. Celebrate even the smallest good things, because even the small stuff can be awesome!FOLLOW US...
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