99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2019
By Angus Hervey on Thursday, December 12th, 2019
Features in QESP NewsletterVolume 31 , Issue 12 - ISSN 1325-2070
(QESP Editor’s Note: The following is a brief extract (the first 5) from a 13 December 2019 Future Crunch article by Angus Hervey. The original, with links to photographs, is available at https://futurecrun.ch/99-good-news-2019.)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Charles Dickens (1859)
We watched the news this year. Maybe you did too.
It didn’t look good. Countries on the verge of collapse, people taking to the streets, some in peaceful marches and extinction rebellions, other in violent clashes with security forces. Populism and and bigotry rearing their ugly heads, worming their way into the algorithms, power corrupting absolutely, the powerless ignored or locked in cages on the border. Trade wars, surveillance capitalism and ‘re-education camps,’ war-torn hotspots mired in conflict, a global economy seemingly incapable of fixing its excesses, the partisan battle lines hardening, the lies becoming more brazen. An entire species fouling its own nest, the emissions (still!) rising, wildfires burning and losses cascading across ecosystems.
Perhaps, like us, you willingly chose to take part in this insane, 21st century global experiment: take a nervous system that’s evolved for running away from cheetahs, and give it a big glowing screen showing it all the bad things happening in the world in near real time.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the only news. There were other stories out there, stories of conservation, health, rising living standards, tolerance, peace, cleaner energy and environmental stewardship. Most of them didn’t make it onto our Facebook feeds though, and that means that what we saw on our screens in 2019 was not the world. It was a negative image of the world, in both the photographic and tonal senses.
Here’s a better picture.
GRACE HAPPENS WHEN WE ACT WITH OTHERS ON BEHALF OF OUR WORLD.
~ JOANNA MACY
- New surveys revealed that the population of humpback whales in the South Atlantic region now number 24,900 — almost 93% of their population size before they were hunted to the brink of extinction. BBC
- Chinese authorities began preparations for the creation of the largest national park in the country’s history, covering an area of 27,134 km², and home to more than 1,200 wild giant pandas. NatGeo
- The indigenous Waorani community of Ecuador won a landmark case against oil companies this year, protecting 180,000 hectares of their land against exploitation. Al Jazeera
- In 2019, the United States passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty, China issued guidelines stating that from 2020 non-animal testing will be the preferred method for cosmetic products, and in Australia, cosmetics companies were banned from using data derived from animal testing.
- Dolphins are breeding in the Potomac River in Washington for the first time since the 1880s, whale populations are exploding off the shores of New York, and 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared ‘biologically dead.’ Telegraph
(QESP Editor’s Note: Future Crunch gives month by month details of Good News. These are the 9 to 29 November 2019 figures.)
9 NOVEMBER 2019 – 29 NOVEMBER 2019
The world’s largest multilateral financial institution, The European Investment Bank, has agreed to stop all financing for fossil fuels within the next two years. Guardian
New Zealand has passed a bill to reach zero carbon by 2050, will plant a billion trees in the next decade, and run its grid entirely from clean energy by 2035. Independent
India and Pakistan have opened a peace corridor on their border, allowing Sikhs to visit their second holiest site for the first time in 72 years. Al Jazeera
The number of children dying from pneumonia, “the ultimate disease of poverty,” has decreased from 6,410 per day in 1990 to 2,216 per day in 2017. OWiD
Germany has passed a law requiring all children attending school to be immunised, with fines for parents who do not comply. NYT
Cigarette smoking among US adults has reached an all-time low of 13.7% — a decline of approximately two-thirds in the last 50 years. CDC
A new survey across 167 countries has shown that tolerance towards LGBTQIA+ people has risen in almost every region of the world in the last decade. Japan Times
The United States has passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty, punishable with fines and up to seven years imprisonment. WaPo
Thailand will phase out all plastics that degrade into fragments by the end of this year, and will ban plastic bags, styrofoam, cups and straws by 2022. Xinhua
Zambia’s government has bowed to pressure and banned any future mining activities in the lower reaches of the Zambezi River. Zambian Eye