Every year, there are major news headlines that happen, and more often than not, the biggest news highlight reels run on the negative side. With the political situation being what it is, the major powers of the world in the midst of trade and verbal wars, actual wars being waged in parts of the world, the natural disasters sweeping the world as climate change grips the planet, and the push for nationalism going on globally, we could all use some good news.
Fortunately for us all, someone over at Bored Panda decided to compile a list of all the best things that happened this year, just in time to ring in the new year on a good note.
Despite everything that’s been going on in the world, great things have been happening too — in all sorts of different industries. From art, technology, food, science, animal rights, and human rights, we have been progressing all over the globe in leaps and bounds.
Here are just 35 of the best things that happened this year.
France has banned all their supermarkets from throwing away any food. Unused food that has passed its sell-by date must be donated to charities or shelters, or they will face a fine.
Plenty of marine animals are strangled by six-pack rings, or die choking on them. Saltwater Brewery this year created beer rings that feed turtles instead of harming the sea life.
You’ve read about a new type of six-pack ring that would biodegrade if it reached the water—and that could even be safely eaten if a turtle or fish mistakes it for food.@corona will now be the first global beer brand to pilot the new plastic-free rings: https://t.co/qVeQbCrP3X pic.twitter.com/hngguH0qnu
— Fast Co. Ideas (@FastCoIdeas) November 30, 2018
France became the first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides that are known for killing bees, following the pollinating insects being placed on the endangered species list.
Scotland became the first country to offer female students and women living in low-income households free sanitary products, making it easier for women in poorer communities to have access to the products they require once a month.
Nepal managed to nearly double the number of tigers living within its borders in less than a decade as part of the Tx2 program taking place in the region.
Despite deforestation escalating in many parts of the world, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh saw 1.5 million volunteers set a world record when they planted a total of 66 million trees in the space of just 12 hours.
Rural Rwanda saw doctors make massive strides with new technology that allows them to order blood and medical supplies via a text message. The supplies will then be delivered by drone. This will help them to save hundreds of lives that would otherwise be lost in areas where medical supplies are scarce.
If doctors in rural Rwanda need blood for an emergency transfusion, they can text or call a distribution center, and drone will show up with plasma and platelets.
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) May 13, 2018
Courts in South Korea ruled that killing dogs for food is illegal, in a landmark ruling for a country that has celebrated feasting on dogs for centuries.
California made history as the first state in the U.S. to ban all beauty products that are still tested on animals.
Despite spending years on the endangered species list, Giant Pandas are no longer considered to be endangered. China is also building a massive $1.5 billion panda park.
The death toll relating to breast cancer has dropped by 39 percent in 2018, which has saved the lives of 322,600 women across the globe.
A town in Italy passed a law that bans all noisy fireworks, insisting they be substituted for silent ones so as to not stress out animals.
Portugal passed a law in parliament that will see all wild animals removed from any circuses in the country by 2024.
Portugal becomes the latest country to place a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses! https://t.co/lyft4PQjUa #portugal #animalrights #wildanimals #circus #circusban #animalcircus pic.twitter.com/TytkES6Zs5
— Clearly Veg (@clearlyveg) November 18, 2018
Saudi Arabia lifted a decade’s long ban on female drivers. For the first time, women in the country will be allowed to get driver’s licenses and operate vehicles on the road.
While more and more plastic gets dumped in the world’s oceans, the Ocean Cleanup Project has created a plan which they hope will enable them to remove approximately 50 percent of the garbage that has accumulated in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next five years.
As education about the dangers of sugar and its consequences has improved, and sugar taxes have been on the rise, the sale of sugary soft drinks has dropped yet again for the twelfth year in a row.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honeybee populations are actually on the rise. This comes as concerns rise that the bee population is dropping, which will result in a lack of food globally.
For the first time in years, the US honeybee population has increased. And France has just become the first country in Europe to ban all 5 pesticides killing their own bees.
While dwindling populations remain an ongoing problem, things are looking up for bees around the world. pic.twitter.com/mLOYMgCyKL
— Something Good Every Day (@__good__news__) September 4, 2018
The population of inmates in the Netherlands has dropped so drastically that they have been re-purposing prisons to turn them into homes for the refugees coming into the country.
Norway joins the list of 13 other European countries to ban fur farming industries that have provided exotic animal furs and skins for fashion design.
Southern African rats are protecting elephants traversing their migratory routes by sniffing out landmines that their weight cannot trigger. This has saved countless lives of elephants young and old.
Adidas, through a partnership with Parley, started a project in which they use recycled plastic from the oceans to create their footwear. They recently shared that they have sold more than 1 million pairs of their recycled sneakers.
— SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) March 20, 2018
This year has seen the hole in the ozone layer shrink to its smallest size since 1988.
A father in need of a transplant wore a t-shirt that reads “in need of a kidney” to Disney World while on vacation with his family. As a result, a kind stranger donated a kidney and saved his life.
For years tobacco companies lied about the dangers of their products, but since the truth has come out, it seems not to have affected the numbers of people smoking. In 2018, however, the numbers dropped drastically, seeing the biggest decline among women.
Businesses and charities in Sweden benefited from a massive $23 billion piggy bank donated by IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad.
A new character on Sesame Street, Julia, suffers from autism. The emphasis is usually on boys’ symptoms, and the character’s introduction has helped many parents to recognize the symptoms in their daughters where they had previously not seen them.
— Salon (@Salon) December 23, 2018
Following a number of mass shootings in the U.S. in 2018 and a country-wide campaign to bring in stricter gun control laws, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling assault rifles. They also introduced a rule that they would no longer sell any firearms to people under the age of 21.
Despite the fact Americans are still fighting for universal healthcare, India is taking huge strides in the right direction. The Asian nation announced they will be funding the world’s biggest national free healthcare program which will provide 500 million people with medical care.
A company called ICON created a way to 3D print houses in the space of less than 24 hours. The invention can help to provide homes for millions of the worlds poorest people at a much lower cost and with much less labor involved than it would normally take to build a house.
— Thee Jesse James (@Thee_JesseJames) March 20, 2018
A medical breakthrough means that a simple spit test could predict both heart attacks and strokes, which can potentially save millions of lives.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has announced he will be donating $12 million to the development of a global flu vaccine.
Following the 2018 soccer world cup which saw France walk away with the trophy, one of the side’s players, Kylian Mbappe, decided he would be donating his winnings (a total of $550,000) to charity.
Bike-sharing has become popular all over the world. More than 1,000 cities all over the globe have adopted a bike-sharing program that has reduced traffic on the roads and reduced emissions from cars as a result.
Lab-grown meat has been invented, and could well be served in restaurants as early as 2021. This means that the amount of land and water required to sustain animals grown for slaughter will be cut down by a drastic 90 percent.
North and South Korea held a landmark meeting that pledged to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons and finally ended the Korean War.