The word “thankful” is defined as “pleased and relieved” or “expressing gratitude and relief.”
I, for one, am pleased and relieved this dumpster fire of a year (and administration) is almost over.
But despite the difficulties and tragedies of 2020 (RIP RBG), there have been so many beautiful moments, too.
While there has been so very much to be sad, upset, angry about, and horrified by, this year has also shown overwhelming kindness, sacrifice, and love.
John Krasinski created the short-lived Some Good News show with this in mind — to highlight all the good stuff and help people take their minds off all the crap this year has wrought. [If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out!]
Too bad he sold it to a major network and stopped producing it — but hey, maybe that just means there will be a lot more of it in the future.
2020 has been a tough year for all of us, and as C. Vaile Wright, director of clinical research and quality at the American Psychological Association, told USA TODAY, “It’s OK to not be OK right now and to just do your best to get through this truly unprecedented time.”
So, while last week was Thanksgiving in the U.S. and with 2021 around the corner, I thought it would be fun and relieving to look at some of the great things that happened this year.
Let’s get to the Good Stuff
The world’s scientists have come together to take on the challenge of a COVID vaccine. The record for a vaccine prior to 2020 was when the mumps vaccine became available in 1967 after 4 years of research and testing (though the mumps virus was isolated in 1945). One year after the discovery of COVID-19, Pfizer/BioNTech SE and Moderna both have developed vaccines with over a 90% success rate. Moderna’s is over 94% effective and applied on November 30, 2020 for emergency use approval in the US.
Pet adoptions went way up this year and there were multiple rescue shelters that were completely empty for the first time.
Despite the pandemic, the US had the highest voter turnout since 1900 — 120 years! Over 66% of eligible voters voted, a total of 160,000,000 Americans.
Distilleries around the country used their resources to produce badly needed hand sanitizer.
Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources or shifted production to make millions of masks to help keep people safe.
Ford, GM, Tesla and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices to help with the pandemic.
Crayola released a box of crayons with diverse skin colors for children to “accurately color themselves into the world.”
Companies and employees around the world learned they could work from home productively and successfuly.
People have embraced technology to stay connected, even playing games over Zoom.
Due to lockdowns and lack of air travel and other restrictions, the Earth’s air quality, river cleanliness, and and general pollution has improved!
Wild animals have roamed further from their natural habitats in places like Japan (sika deer), India (turtles), Wales (goats), California (turkeys), Spain (wild boar), and Israel (jackals).
“In a move described as a ‘small revolution,’ Switzerland has overturned a ban on women showing their shoulders in parliament. Hans Stöckli, president of the Swiss parliament, said the ban was ‘antiquated.’”
People are reading more!
And doing more self-care than ever!
Taylor Swift just quietly dropped her 8th album Folklore, written, recorded, and produced in quarantine. [Update: And her 9th studio album Evermore!]
The HMS Argyll was sailing toward Plymouth when they heard the cargo ship Grande America was on fire and battled storm conditions to save all 27 crew members.
Germany is fighting for gender equality at the national level for the first time!
Scientists have created an enzyme that can break down used plastic bottles (PET) for recycling in just hours.
Portugal has successfully reduced overdose deaths by more than 90% since 1999 as a result of a radical shift in its drugs policy.
Solar Foods, a Finnish company, has found a way to produce a protein-rich food using just air, water and electricity. Helsinki-based startup Solar Foods says its carbon-neutral process does not depend on weather, irrigation or even land.
The European Space Agency (ESA) says it will launch a multi-armed robotic junk collector into orbit by 2025 in its first mission to remove space debris circulating around Earth just orbiting Earth from 60 years of our manned launches.
NASA named its Washington, D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black female engineer.
Hamilton came out on Disney+!
You can also now virtually explore national parks, zoos, and even Mars!
And so much more!
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