10 Undeniably Good Things That Happened in 2016

10 Undeniably Good Things That Happened in 2016

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When ringing in the New Year, it’s great to reflect on the positive things that happened during the previous year–and 2016 wasn’t all bad!

Click on the headlines to read more about these outstanding developments… and, may good bless you in 2017—from all of us at Good News Network.

homeless vets- dupont circle-CC-Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography

10) Veteran Homelessness Has Dropped 50% Since 2010

The number of U.S. veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States has been cut nearly in half since 2010, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The data revealed a 17 percent decrease in veteran homelessness between January 2015 and January 2016—quadruple the previous year’s annual decline—and a 47 percent decrease since 2010.

Boston alone was able to cut veteran homelessness by 85% by housing 533 veterans in just 18 months while Connecticut became the second state to end veteran homeless entirely after Virginia‘s success in 2015.

tiger_in india-WWF-UK

9) Halting a Century of Decline, Tiger Numbers are Now Rising

According to a 2016 report, the tiger population, estimated to be 3,200 six years ago, has grown 22%. With tiger populations in India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan on the rise, there are now 3,890 existing in the wild.

2016 saw other victories among endangered species as well, with giant pandas and manatees both taken off the endangered list after experiencing significant population growth.

Harriet Tubman Cropped - CC US Deparment of State

8) United States and Canadian Currency Now Show Refreshing, Diverse New Faces

The United States Treasury Department announced that major changes arriving on American currency including Harriet Tubman replacing the face of Andrew Jackson on the front of the twenty. Other changes include the back of the ten dollar bill, which will soon display historic figures of women’s suffrage like Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul.

Martin Luther King Jr. is replacing the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill, along with opera singer Marian Anderson’s 1939 concert at that famous D.C. monument.

In Canada, Viola Desmond, a civil rights activist who refused to leave the “whites-only” section of a Nova Scotia film house in 1946, is the first woman – apart from the Queen – to be featured on Canadian currency, and will be honored on the ten dollar bill.

antarctica-cc-nomis-simon

7) Nations Unite to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve in Antarctica

In a groundbreaking agreement between 24 different countries and the European Union, the world’s largest marine reserve will be established in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

The meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources that took place in Hobart, Australia on Friday finally agreed to designate 600,000 square miles as a zone protected from harmful human activity – that’s twice the area of Texas.

plane-travel cc PublicDomainPictures

6) 2016 Was One of the Safest Years in Aviation History

Surpassed only in 2013 – which experienced just 265 deaths out of the 3 billion people who boarded planes – records in the most recent year ended with 325 deaths in total worldwide, which is about 1 in every 10,769,230 travelers.

Rosemont College graduation CC RaubDaub

5) American Teen Graduation Rate Reaches Historic High

Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, low-income, disabled, and English-learning students have all accomplished promising gains, creating a whopping 83.2% graduation rate for the nation as a whole.

The United States has also reached a new all-time low number of teen birth rates.

colombia peace deal with farc-youtube

4) 50-Year War Finally Ends With Peace Treaty in Colombia (WATCH)

In a historic moment, after four years of negotiations, FARC rebels in Colombia have signed a peace deal with the government, bringing to an end decades of armed conflict and setting up a process for reconciliation and reintegration.

indian-women-with-saplings-cc-bioversity-international

3) India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, Smashing World Record

The previous world record for most trees planted in one day was 850,000 saplings planted in Pakistan in 2013 – now, thanks to 800,000 Indian volunteers, that record is 49.3 million.

And if that isn’t enough to celebrate mother nature, a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations shows that America has more trees growing now than at any time since the 1920’s.

smiling-african-children-cc-rod-waddington

2) The Americas Are Finally Entirely Declared Measles-Free

The Region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death. This achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.

Gravitational Waves Youtube

1) Huge Breakthrough: Gravitational Waves Finally Detected, Proving Einstein Was Right

In a monumental finding that shakes up the world of physics, researchers have detected gravitational waves, which Albert Einstein theorized a century ago. Until now, it wasn’t possible to detect such a phenomenon.

“It’s the first time the universe has spoken to us in the form of gravitational waves,” said the lab’s executive director, who praised the National Science Foundation for helping to fund the research, saying it took a “huge risk” in doing so, given that the finding was never guaranteed. “This [was] truly a scientific moon shot, and we landed on the moon.”

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