Here’s a round-up of some awesome things that have happened in 2018. No need to remind anyone of why we need to see good news…let’s just get to the point.
- Jaguar populations in Mexico bounced back up 20% in just 8 years, thanks to new more aggressive, government policies that protect the environment. 90% of the world’s 64,000 strong jaguar population lives in the Amazon rainforest, so this is key to protecting the species. From critical endangerment in the 1970’s to “near-threatened” now, the plan is to get them off the danger list altogether by 2030. As a key predator, the protection of the jaguar also protects entire ecosystems from falling apart.
- Whilst technically being launched at the end of last year, the world’s largest reforestation project has been put in place by multiple organisations in Brazil, planning to plant 73 million trees over 7 years.
- The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq reports that violence in the country has plummeted in the first 5 months of 2018 compared to the same months of last year – an 80% decrease. Civilian deaths are at the lowest they have been since 2003. This is likely due to the declared victory of Iraq over IS in December 2017.
- Tokyo announced its intention to build solar roads ahead of its Olympics in 2020. These roads will generate power from the sun, be protected by a special covering so that they remain undamaged by heavy vehicles, and offset its own costs by generating enough power to supply a large portion of governmental buildings and facilities.
- Huge gains have been made in cancer therapy – this year, the case study was published of terminal breast cancer patient Judy Perkins, who was completely cured by an experimental medical trial, despite being given just weeks to live. The new immunotherapy takes your cancer fighting T-cells, makes them much better at their job, and puts them back into your body as a cancer-fighting super team. In the first huge success of its kind, 2 years later Judy is now still completely cancer free.
- Other exciting types of immunotherapy trials have just been shown to double life expectancy for terminal brain cancer patients, too, thanks to a type of vaccine for people with gliobastoma brain tumours.
- Ikea has announced that, from 2020, their stores will be going free from single use plastic. They have also committed to going 100% renewable in their energy supply, already sell solar panels, and make huge donations to areas affected by climate change globally.
- At the Queen Mary University, London, a breakthrough has been made that allows us to regenerate tooth enamel and so end the blight of tooth decay. The researchers think there’s a good chance the same technique may be able to regenerate bone too one day, offering hope for a huge variety of victims of trauma and disease.
- Sherlock Holmes existed in real life, if only for a moment. Just around the corner from Baker St, Benedict Cumberbatch leapt out of his cab to the defence of a would-be mugging victim, who was being violently attacked as he got off his bicycle.
- Australian teens are committing significantly less crime than ever before. According to a new government report, people aged 10-21 are committing 32% fewer violent crimes than the decade before. There’s also been over 50% reduction in offences related to property theft, vehicle theft, and drink-driving. Researchers aren’t sure why, but it has been postulated that it might be because young people are chillin’ at home on the internet and stuff, but it might be because that same generation of Aussies are more likely than ever before to be teetotal, drug-free and non-smokers.
- A study based in Barcelona, Spain, found out what babies like listening to in the womb, using mouth and tongue movements, as apparently this is a good guide for when a fetus is happy. Turns out that unborn babies have great taste, and go for classical music over pop, rock, or traditional world music.
There are so many more stories that could have been included on this list. 2018 is a GREAT time to be alive. Your chances are increasing of belonging to the portion of the world that considers itself safe from violence, able to get medical help when required, able to eat and drink as much as needed, stay warm, dry and secure, and fulfil endeavours considered fun or rewarding for their own sake – that population grows every year.
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