Save The Date: Good News from 2020

Save The Date: Good News from 2020

2020 will surely go down in history as one of the worst years ever. People grappled with a pandemic, worried about the United States presidential election, and feared the dreaded murder hornets. Practically every month, some new obstacle popped up that caused people to be afraid. News segments and social media timelines were flooded with sad, shocking stories. It almost seemed like nothing good was happening in the world. Luckily, that was not the case. If people were to look back, they might  be surprised at all of the uplifting news they missed. Although it is impossible to recount all of 2020’s inspiring events, a list of monthly good news might just give humans a more optimistic view of the harsh year we were all so glad to leave behind. 



In March, when quarantine began, people watched movies to get their minds off of the pandemic. Earlier in the year a movie made history. On January 5th, Parasite won a Golden Globe for best Foreign Language Film. Never before in the Globe’s seventy-seven year history had a Korean film won this award. Writer and director Bong Joon-ho, and writer Han Jin-won, received high praise for their work. Parasite was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay. However, the movie lost to Sam Mendes for 1917 and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Still, the movie was very successful and highly celebrated. Parasite continued to break barriers by being the first Korean film to  acquire certain accolades.



Some people might feel that, to escape Earth’s problems, they want to take refuge in outer space. They long to hover in a location without gravity and have the Earth be nothing more than a scenic backdrop. Back in February, NASA astronaut Christina Koch ended a 328 day space journey. This feat broke the record for longest continuous space flight completed by a woman.  Koch orbited the Earth 5,248 times and travelled 139 million miles. Her amazing achievement was just twelve days shy of Scott Kelly’s record. The capsule Koch called home for nearly a year landed in Kazakhstan. A BBC News video of this event showed Koch being helped out of the spacecraft by fellow NASA workers. She was decked out in a clunky white space suit adorned with patches. Her face was brighter than the sun itself, her smile ear to ear. She put her hands to her heart and gave a thumbs up to the eager crowd watching. As the announcer on the video said, “…she definitely looks glad to be home”. 



People spend lots of time in buildings. Homes, schools, offices, restaurants–the list goes on. However, people often do not think about the professionals who designed these buildings. On March 3rd, Yvonne Farrel and Shelly Mcnamar, co-founders of the Grafton Architecture firm, were praised for the buildings they designed. As explained in an NPR article, these architects were the first women to share the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. They planned countless building projects, such as the Universita Luigi Bocconi, which won the Building of the Year. This university was a captivating structure, with floors elevated in the air. Large, floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground level were overshadowed by an overhanging room. Some walls protrude outwards, looking like pieces in the game Tetris. This was just one example of their unique style, which deserved the recognition. 



As worldwide lockdowns were implemented, many people struggled to find positivity in a world amidst tragedy and change. However, as people mourned the loss of regular life, one surprising gift emerged: the environment started to heal. In cities around the globe, smog began to clear, pollution rates plummeted and countries saw unprecedented drops in nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. Ironically, this dramatic improvement in air quality, caused by shutdowns due to COVID-19, resulted in fewer casualties and hospitalizations from the virus. One study in the National Geographic suggested that between 53,000 and 77,000 lives were saved, in China alone. Though many felt powerless against the rampant spread of the deathly virus, many forces, including mother nature, were on our side. 



Student loan debt is a major area of stress for any young student. One study estimates that Americans owe over 1.6 trillion dollars in debt. However, one company relieved nearly 8 million dollars in debt for first-generation college students. The Bay Area Non-Profit, Students Rising Above, is not only responsible for the major contribution, but also helps struggling students throughout the bay area. The organization purchases basic school supplies, like printers, and laptops, and also helps students find jobs out of college. Nearly 80% of graduates land jobs within a year thanks to Students Rising Above. “This compassion has indescribable effects and breaks the cycle of poverty,” said one recipient  in an interview with CBS News. 



In the days following the death of George Floyd, protests and demonstrations spread throughout the United States and sparked worldwide conversations about systemic racism and the way that policing works, according to Business Insider. Floyd’s tragic death led to positive change in America. Arrest procedures have been modified, legislation was introduced to increase police accountability, databases were created to record and file brutality, and police funds were redistributed to a wider array of public services. Many Americans were left feeling called to work for justice, act for peace, and dismantle their own prejudices.



Another bright spot amongst the darkness of 2020 was the charity and benevolence of one man, Captain Thomas Moore. The 100 year-old World War II vetran raised over 40 million dollars for the National Health Service by walking laps in his backyard. His mission: “… to get as many people as possible walking, talking, spreading hope and easing loneliness” said an article from CNN. Captain Moore’s hard work eventually paid off and was awarded the title of knight by Queen Elizabeth on July 17. Moore said, “I could never have imagined this would happen to me. “It is such a huge honour and I am very much looking forward to meeting Her Majesty The Queen.” Sir Thomas Moore is proof that no matter your age or situation, you can create an enormous impact on the world around you. 



As the world suffered greatly from a pandemic of COVID-19, Africa received good news for the health of the continent. On August 25, 2020 the World Health Organization announced that Africa was free of wild polio. Nigeria was the last place to have reported a case of polio. There have been no new cases since 2016, which was hopeful for all of Africa, as polio had paralyzed many. More than 95% of their population have been vaccinated for polio. BBC calls this a “historic” achievement, as it was a major struggle for the population of Africa.



Politics were an enormous part of 2020, creating stress and anxiety within people around the United States. Climate change is an issue that has become political and that scientists continued to say needed more attention than we are giving it. On September 23, 2020, the governor of California announced a new plan to help the Earth and slow climate change down. He declared that they will start to phase out gasoline-powered cars to help reduce fossil fuel emissions. His plan included that it would keep jobs and create more jobs to keep the economy growing. His executive order required sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. This was just one more step towards a cleaner and better Earth with less fossil fuel emissions.  



Finding water on planets other than Earth, like Mars, has always been a discovery people hope would happen. It holds with it the hope that other life exists other than on Earth. NASA made another discovery in October that gained more knowledge about water on the moon. On October 26, 2020, NASA discovered water on the sunlit surface of the moon for the first time. This new information led to the new idea that water could be across the lunar surface, and not just appear in places that are cold and shadowed. There have been many years of research on this topic of the possibility of water on the moon. This discovery was so important to NASA, because of the years of research that have been done before this new discovery in 2020.



As the long anticipated election of 2020 took place, many new bills and laws were passed. Among them, was Nevada’s change to its state constitution to include same-sex marraiges, the first state ever to do so says NBC news. This is a major milestone for not only Nevada, who didn’t recognize homosexual marraige until 2014, but the whole country. Nearly 70% of Americans are in favor of gay marriage, and the bill was passed with 62% in favor. “It’s the fix we need to make here,”  said André Wade, head of Silver State Equality.. “We have discriminatory language in the constitution, and we need to take it out. We know Nevadans value equality, and we want our constitution to mirror that.”



As the holidays approached, many Americans found themselves isolated and unable to travel. However, families across the country found ways to adapt to holidays without family or friends. Zoom lifted its 40 minute limit on meetings and according to online orders increased nearly 36% in the first weeks of December as families thousands of miles apart attempt to remain in touch.Though the holidays may have looked different this year, America proved its resiliency and holiday spirit persevered. 


As you can see, 2020 was more than just panic and destruction. There were plenty of positive changes, with people breaking the glass ceiling and advocating for change. This goes to show that although staying up to date on current events is important, sometimes the main headlines do not include the pleasant news. Remember, the world is never as horrific as the media says. In the rest of 2021, try to look up some heartwarming or inspiring news stories. Making that one simple change might make the year seem a whole lot better.