We live in an age where there’s almost too much news to report.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by all the negative news that appears on our radar each day, so it’s important to remember that amidst all the bad news there are a lot of good things happening in the world too. (That’s why we’re here!) In celebration of this, let’s take a moment to focus on the positive news stories that might have slipped by this year.
1. Cigarette smoking reached an all-time low
The CDC announced that cigarette smoking among adults has reached an all-time low in the United States of 13.7% which is a decline of almost 66% in the last 50 years. Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the number of cigarettes being smoked fell by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2018.
2. Scientists made the biggest breakthrough for Cystic Fibrosis in decades.
The FDA approved a new drug for 90% of sufferers that targets the genetic roots of the disease and early studies are encouraging!
3. The rate of homicide is down — worldwide
Ninety percent of the world’s population was studied and results showed that the homicide rate has dropped by 20% since 1990.
4. Many countries passed laws outlawing animal cruelty
The United States passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty and making it a felony crime. China changed its guidelines to encourage non-animal testing on cosmetic products, and Australia banned animal testing in cosmetics outright.
5. Fewer people live in poverty around the world
Since 1990, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world fell 27.4%, according to a new study.
6. The number of children dying from pneumonia decreased
The United Nations released new data showing that the number of children dying from pneumonia “the ultimate disease of poverty,” has decreased 65% since 1990.
7. Dolphins have returned to the Potomac River
Dolphins haven’t bred in Washington D.C.’s Potomac River since the 1880s, but they’re back! Off the coast of New York City, there have been countless whale sightings as populations continue to increase. In London, the Thames River has seen the birth of 100 seal pups just 60 years after the river was determined to be “biologically dead.”
8. The United States Senate protected 1.3 million acres
Sweeping conservation legislation protected 1.3 million acres and withdrew another 373,000 from development and mining companies.
9. Countries are working to protect the ocean’s reefs
The world’s second largest barrier reef in Belize just doubled their ocean reserves to protect marine life, South Africa also doubled its portion of protected waters, and Argentina created two new marine parks in the South Atlantic to protect their populations of penguins and sea lions.
10. Women are making strides in Saudi Arabia
Women in Saudi Arabia are finally being granted human rights. Laws passed this year granted women the right to travel overseas, register births, marry and divorce, receive family documents, serve as guardians to minors, and congregate in the same places as men. Progress!
11. Clean energy targets are being hit
California is the world’s fifth-largest economy. In 2019, they reached their target of 33% clean energy a full two years ahead of schedule. Fuel sales are also officially decreasing for the first time ever.
12. New vaccines are saving lives
The latest Ebola vaccine has reduced mortality rates from 70% to 6%.
13. Plastic is being banned in Europe
In an effort to clean up our plastic-clogged oceans, the European Union announced a ban on plastic cutlery, plates, straws, cotton buds, balloons, food containers and polystyrene cups starting in 2021. The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a nation of 80 million people, imposed a full ban on all single-use plastic.
14. Poverty in the United States reached its lowest rate since 2007
1.4 million people are no longer living in poverty in the U.S., and in Canada, they achieved their lowest poverty level ever.
15. More people are surviving cancer than ever before
16. Clean energy jobs grew by 3.6% in the United States last year
110,000 jobs were added, reducing deaths from air pollution and cutting the cost of damages by over $200 billion.
17. The European Investment Bank agreed to stop financing fossil fuels
The world’s largest multilateral financial institution also committed to investing half of its entire annual spending on climate action and sustainability by 2025.
18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took steps to help the bees
The EPA banned 12 products that contain neonicotinoids, a pesticide that is dangerous for bees. California said it would no longer a widely used pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies.
19. Humpback Whales Are Making a Comeback
There are now 24,000 humpback whales in the South Atlantic region, which is almost 93% of their population size before they were hunted to the brink of extinction.
There are people working all over the globe to preserve our natural resources, protect animals, further human rights, and overall make things better for future generations. We can each do our part by continuing to contribute to the world around us.
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