If you’ve been paying attention to the last fifty-two weeks, you’re probably feeling a little downtrodden. 2016, as Twitter so aptly described it, was a dumpster fire of a year. We lost some of our most beloved idols, witnessed practically unprecedented political chaos, and faced hourly disappointment with depressing headlines.
However, we can’t let the bright spots of 2016 go unnoticed. There were plenty of happy moments, incredible achievements, and beacons of hope and progress.
So, in case you need a little reminder of what went right in 2016, look no further:
1. Beyoncé Slayed
Queen Bey delivered the performance of a lifetime at Super Bowl 50, wowing the world with her “Formation” choreography. And we can’t forget the unparalleled success “Lemonade,” the album that set the world on fire.
2. We Made Strides In Global Environmental Policy
The Paris Agreement made history as the largest and fastest United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history.
3. Leo Finally Won An Oscar
4. Global Life Expectancy Continued To Rise
According to data released by the World Health Organisation, a child born today can reasonably expect to live for 71.4 years (this number is higher in developed countries).
5. The Hole In The Ozone Layer Shrunk
A new study, published in June of 2016, concluded that the hole in the ozone layer has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometers in the last ten years.
At this rate, scientists believe it will be fully repaired by 2050.
6. World Hunger Reached Its Lowest Point In Years
Specifically, it reached its lowest point in 25 years. Researcher Alex De Waal posited that the era of great famines could, indeed, be over.
7. Online Crowdfunding Came To The Rescue
In the wake of the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, concerned individuals banded together to raise almost $1 million for the deceased’s children to use for college tuition.
8. Pokémon Go Happened
Niantic turned our world upside down when it released the dangerously addictive game that revitalized the Pokémon brand.
9. The World Became Less Violent
Since the end of the conflict in Colombia, all war is limited to directly affecting less than one-sixth of the world’s population.
10. Netflix Blessed Us With 'Stranger Things'
The wildly popular Netflix original series brought us the talents of Winona Ryder and Hollywood newbie Millie Brown.
11. Simone Biles Made America Great Again
U.S. women’s gymnast Simone Biles dominated the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The four foot eight 19-year-old racked up five medals, four of which were gold.
Also, she’s obsessed with Zac Efron and it’s adorable.
12. Manatees Made A Comeback
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the global manatee population is no longer on the endangered list.
13. ...As Did Pandas
Giant pandas have recently been taken off the endangered list as well.
14. Snoop Dogg And Martha Stewart Joined Forces
The VH1 gods knew we needed a little pick-me-up this fall, so they gifted us Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, only the greatest cooking show of all time.
15. Homelessness Declined In The United States
In fact, The U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development reports that homelessness in the United States has declined by 35% since 2007.
16. Global Malaria Deaths Declined
According to the World Health Organization’s report released earlier this year, global malaria deaths have declined by 60% since the year 2000.
17. We Made Strides In Fighting Antibiotic Resistance
Harvard scientists developed a new platform for antibiotic discovery that may play a critical role in solving antibiotic resistance.
18. Liberia Was Officially Cleared Of Ebola
After nearly two years of the deadly virus ravaging the country, officials claim there are now no known cases left in West Africa.
19. The Internet Blessed Us With Iconic Memes