Rare but there: Good news from 2017

You'll see it if you squint.

2017 was mostly bad, but not all bad

By: Gabrielle McLaren

Similar to how I don’t talk about the bangs I had in eighth grade, as a little old lady I will most likely refuse to talk about the maelstrom that was 2017. The bad, the ugly, the confusing, and the horrifying have jumped to our attention throughout the year, but a few good things did happen. Here are seventeen pieces of good (or at least entertaining) news to boost your morale and make you a little bit more optimistic for 2018.

  1. In the last six years, the tiger population within Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan has doubled.  
  2. Canada passed Bill C-16 to protect Canadians against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
  3. In a feat of human ingenuity, Carter Wilkerson managed to have a Tweet retweeted 18 million times and earned a year’s worth of free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s.
  4. NASA has found the largest amount of earth-sized planets which are outside of our solar system but within a habitable zone (far enough yet close enough from a star to maintain liquid water and possibly sustain life). Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has stated, “The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when.”
  5. Beyoncé and Jay Z welcomed twins Sir and Rumi to the world.
  6. As if Beyoncé weren’t doing enough to keep us afloat, it was announced that she will also star in Disney’s The Lion King remake as Nala. Beyoncé joins Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (reprising the role of Mufasa) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) in the film’s star-studded cast.
  7. Smith College (Massachusetts) has opened its doors to students at the University of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria. For one semester, Smith College is offering affected students a full ride including tuition, room and board, application costs, as well as financial aid to help students afford travel, textbooks, and other school-related costs.
  8. Doctor Who cast Jodi Whittaker as the first female Doctor in the show’s history. She is the fourteenth actor to take the role of the quick-witted, regenerating, time-traveling alien. Whittaker made her first appearance during the Doctor Who Christmas special.      
  9. The BC provincial government banned the trophy-hunting of grizzly bears. Though meat hunting will still be allowed outside of the Great Bear Rainforest and the details are still blurry, it is a step in the right direction for conservationists and the Indigenous nations protesting grizzly hunting on their traditional land.  
  10. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli became the first person to contribute to Wikipedia from outer space.
  11. Trans women are taking names in American politics. On November 8 Danica Roem unseated a transphobic lawmaker to become the first openly-trans person to serve in a state legislature, while Andrea Jenkins became the first openly trans black woman elected to public office.
  12. The United Nations announced that the global total percentage of protected seas has risen to 12.7% in 2017. 3.6 million square kilometers of ocean are now designated Marine Protected Areas. For perspective, that is an area larger than India.
  13. Women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to drive. Saudi feminists and activists have celebrated this step towards women gaining their independence. Some women have already stepped up to become the first female chauffeurs and taxi drivers in the kingdom.
  14. The World Health Organization has announced that HIV/AIDS is no longer the leading cause of death in Africa.
  15. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman became the highest-grossing superhero origin movie in cinematic history. She is the first woman to direct a superhero film, and the most successful woman to ever direct a live-action film, breaking one of many glass ceilings in Hollywood. Other movies that made waves in 2017 include Star Wars: The Last Jedi, It, The Fate of the Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Beauty and the Beast.
  16. You’ve probably heard of the aurora borealis, but a new kind of aurora has recently been isolated and named Steve. It gets better as astrophysicists might actually keep Steve’s name if their current theories on its nature pan out, as it could serve as an acronym for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.  
  17. Though not all survivors of sexual harassment or violence receive the support and justice that they deserve, TIME has made The Silence Breakers Person of the Year. To celebrate survivors who were able and willing to make their stories heard, TIME has said, “They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.”