2016 was bad. 2016 needs to just end. I’m sure you’ve heard that a few times already. And yes, I’m all for acknowledging the bad things that happened this year. You shouldn’t live your life with your head buried in the sand about the reality of the world that we live in. But, if you’re going to dedicate time to looking at all the bad things, you need to equally acknowledge all the good things that happened. Yes there are terrible things happening around the world. But there are also incredible things. The world has never been better and it is improving. But it can’t get even better if we only focus on problems and not solutions too. It can’t get better if we don’t celebrate and support people, organisations and governments when they get things right. So enough about how bad 2016 was. 2016 was awesome. A lot of really inspiring things happened this year around the world and these are some of my personal favourites:
- The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/paris-climate-deal-kicks-off-ahead-of-expectations/)
- Sea World agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/17/470720804/seaworld-agrees-to-end-captive-breeding-of-killer-whales)
- In September, giant pandas became the latest species to be taken off the endangered list (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2016/sep/05/giant-panda-animals-removal-endangered-list)
- Space X landed four rockets on ocean barges and two on land after inserting satellites into orbit around the Earth (https://www.wired.com/2016/12/spacexs-year-fiery-triumphs-explosive-failure/)
- AnEbola vaccine was developed (http://europe.newsweek.com/ebola-vaccine-small-pox-outbreak-vaccine-trials-537336?rm=eu)
- A solar powered plane circumnavigated the world (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/26/solar-impulse-plane-makes-history-completing-round-the-world-trip)
- In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid (http://www.vox.com/2016/5/24/11751666/extreme-poverty-foreign-aid)
- World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/09/opinion/is-the-era-of-great-famines-over.html?_r=0)
- Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage, following sustained lobbying by civil society groups (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tanzania-gambia-ban-child-marriage-winning-praise-from-rights-groups-critical-step-forward-a7129091.html)
- Two weeks before Brexit, the African Union announced a new single African passport that permits holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without a visa (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/07/01/the-opposite-of-brexit-african-union-launches-an-all-africa-passport/)
- China installed 20GW of solar in the first half of 2016, three times as much as during the same period a year ago (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-solar-idUSKCN1020P7)
- In June, a new survey showed that the ozone hole has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometres since 2006. Scientists now think it will now be fully healed by 2050 (http://www.smh.com.au/environment/antarctic-ozone-hole-has-finally-started-to-heal-scientists-report-20160630-gpw0yz.html#ixzz4DyKnKIcd%C2%A0)
- There was a breakthrough in a study to reverse using virtual-reality training and brain-controlled robotics (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-12/breakthrough-for-paraplegics-in-regained-mobility-study-shows/7722576)
- Disney released its first Indigenous Princess, Moana! (http://www.salon.com/2016/12/03/with-disneys-moana-hollywood-almost-gets-it-right-indigenous-people-weigh-in/)
- Leonardo di Caprio finally got his Oscar (http://oscar.go.com/news/winners/watch-leonardo-dicaprios-acceptance-speech-for-best-actor-2016)
For more inspiring stories, I highly recommend checking out the following articles as a start:
- Angus Hervey’s, ’99 Reasons Why 2016 Was a Good Year’ (https://medium.com/future-crunch/99-reasons-why-2016-has-been-a-great-year-for-humanity-8420debc2823#.1hryhx615)
- ‘Good Things That Happened in 2016’ (http://helthehatter.tumblr.com/post/152910935316/good-things-that-happened-in-2016)
For me personally, 2016 was a year of change and huge personal growth. I focused on my strengths and spent a lot of time finding my place. I launched the Doing Good Podcast and met so many inspiring entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and changemakers from around the world. I was inspired and motivated by the people who are pioneering social change in all industries and solidified my belief that most of the solutions to the world’s problems are already out there and that partnerships will drastically accelerate impact. I came to the realisation that even though the world’s problems are huge and complicated, that individually, if everyone makes small changes to their lifestyles, we can radically change the world in my lifetime.
What were your highlights in 2017? What did you achieve personally that you’re proud of? What good news story did you come across that inspired or motivated you?
Let’s all do more good.
2017, I'm running towards you with open arms!