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No more doom and gloom, we’re rounding up a few of the best bits from this year. Here’s some good news you might have missed throughout 2020! 

It’s all too easy to get bogged down in headlines that sound like they’ve come straight out of disaster movies. But there’s so much more going on in the world besides all the bad stuff. After 12 months of keeping up with the need-to-know info, it’s time you had some of the good news that didn’t get much of a mention. 

Man looks at photo of the moon on a tablet
Photo by rfstudio on Pexels

Water on the moon?

Sure, why not, it’s 2020! NASA have suspected there was evidence of water up there for a while but thanks to some very fancy new tech – they’ve got proof of it on the sunlit surface, not just in a few spots on the dark side, as previously thought. This discovery has raised some pretty mind-blowing new possibilities; could lunar water be used to help establish a settlement on the moon in the future? H20 is vital for space missions and having a new source would be a huge benefit for future exploration.

Bookworms

Book sales are up 31% on last year! Between February and August, publisher Bloomsbury [the people who brought us Harry Potter] reported a 60% increase in profits. Lockdown may have forced us all inside but for many people, that meant a chance to finally check off some of their reading list. There’s no substitute for the escapism of reading; ebooks and audiobooks have also seen a boost. The Young Adult genre saw a steady surge too, and with so many kids unable to get much time in the classroom, it’s good news that a lot of them were still reading. 

The man, the myth…

The legend: Captain Sir Tom Moore. Not only did he raise £33+ million for NHS charities, he’s also founded The Captain Tom Foundation. Aiming to help those dealing with loneliness and bereavement, the foundation also promotes equality and education. 

wind farm
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels

Out with the coal; in with the renewable

In the first half of the year, renewable energy beat fossil fuel! Around the time of the first lockdown, cleaner alternatives saw a rise of 11% and fossil fuels dropped by 18%. In April, Sweden declared it was going coal free, followed by Austria. They join several other EU nations in ditching the black stuff, with more looking to do the same. This is great news for Sustainable Changes.

#WFH

It’s certainly not been for everyone, but for many, working from home has been a fantastic change of pace. Commuting costs have been slashed, time spent in traffic has been reclaimed and it’s amazing how productive you can be in pyjamas.  A lot of people have discovered they’re better suited to the flexibility of the WFH set up; whether it’s been more time for family, exercise, hobbies, or even just sleep.

Good news for gorillas

The mountain gorillas at Bwindi park in Uganda have had a monumental year, adding 7 new arrivals to the endangered species since January. That’s an increase from just 3 in 2019. With little over 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world, every single one is important. 

Vaccines are here

With things still a bit all over the place, it can be easy to overlook just how amazing the breakthrough has been with vaccines. Developing a vaccine is a complex process that can take more than 10 years to reach completion, dependent on hundreds of different factors and funding. Covid-19 was discovered in December 2019, and just under a year later we’ve got not just one, but two vaccines! That’s pretty amazing. And wait til you hear who helped make it happen… 

Celebs stepped up

The one and only Dolly Parton helped to fund the Moderna vaccine now being rolled out! Parton gave $1 million to Covid-19 research which helped enable the trials and development of what turned out to be a successful jab. And the world’s loneliest elephant was rehomed to a sanctuary in Cambodia – thanks to Cher! She’s now reportedly got her sights on helping a gorilla in Thailand. 

two women with rainbows painted on their arms
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Good news for LGBTQ folks

In the US, over 500 openly LGBTQ candidates were on the November election ballots, and over 220 of those have secured election victories and made history so far this year. Some have cited the past 4 years under the Trump administration as a catalyst for such a huge pushback from a community that’s often been hit hardest.  Elsewhere in the world, Northern Ireland and Costa Rica legalized same sex marriage this year. The UK lifted its restrictions on gay men donating blood, allowing them to donate under the same guidelines as everybody else for the first time. 

Australian bushfires? Good news…

After 240 days of devastation, the Australian bushfires that started off 2020 have been declared entirely over. The blazes caused immense damage and untold loss of wildlife and habitats, but there are some promising signs of recovery. Regrowth of vegetation is already beginning in some areas. Animals are being found where they’d previously been feared wiped out. And some of the first injured koalas have been re-released too. Although the conservation work is far from over, nature is beginning to put itself back together. 

Thanks, entertainment

It’s fair to say we’d all be pretty much lost without the creatives behind the media we’ve been consuming. Whether it’s authors, filmmakers, game developers, musicians, podcasters, artists, the folks who write all those shows you’ve binged on… we all owe creators a huge thanks this year. Many of these industries have been brough to their knees by the pandemic, so supporting them where you can – especially in your local area – is still a massive help. 

Nature takes over

The canals in Venice were crystal clear and rare pink dolphins swam through Hong Kong’s waterways; lockdowns everywhere were good news for nature. Turtle numbers rose. Whales were spotted in places they hadn’t been seen for years. Even parts of the great barrier reef have shown signs of recovery thanks to lack of tourism. In Rome, wolves were spotted wandering into the suburbs. And even Wales saw goats popping into some towns as the streets cleared of people and traffic. 

two women in masks touch elbows
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels

Distanced Socialising

We’ve all been getting to know our neighbours. Research from Remember A Charity finds that more than 50% of people have gotten closer [in a metaphorical way] with those that live around them. Whether it’s forming a support bubble, shopping for someone, or clapping for the NHS, many of us have gotten to know our communities better recently. 

Good news from China

It may be the current No.1 polluter in the world, but China has promised to cut it’s carbon emissions to zero by 2060. Japan and South Korea have made similar pledges. It’s not just in the environment’s best interest either; with countries around the world keen to be at the forefront of greener technology, there are more incentives than ever to clean up. 

Clean air

We might not have been able to get out much to enjoy it, but air pollution fell by a whopping 65% in some major cities during lockdowns. The huge reduction in traffic meant that car fumes weren’t smothering towns, and people took up cycling to get some exercise. Pollution stayed low for a while! Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide levels dropped by 48% across the UK. Although traffic has picked up again, it’s hopeful that this break in smog will support initiatives working for cleaner air. 

New skill: UNLOCKED

It’s not just reading, studies show we’ve all been levelling up our skills while we’re at home too! Whether it’s baking endless banana bread or mastering the Dalgona coffee trend, kitchens have seen a lot more use over the last 12 months. While it’s been easy to fall into guilt traps about not staying productive [seriously though, give yourself a break] plenty of us have picked up or dusted off our skills. 

So it’s not been ALL bad! Keep washing your hands. Remember to thank the delivery guy. And let’s never take going out for granted ever again.

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