This year was, without doubt, a pretty rough one. There were numerous terrorist attacks that killed a staggering number of people all over the world, President Trump signed multiple executive orders that negatively affect the lives of many, shootings, devastating hurricanes, the death of beloved celebrities, the Charlottesville riot, nuclear war threats, the California wildfires, and the FCC voted in favor of repealing net neutrality. The list of awful things that happened can go on and on, however, as we wrap 2017 up, we should see the bright side of things. 2017 also had some happy moments and glimmers of hope that make 2018 seem a little brighter. Here are some pieces of good news the world received this year:
- Israeli scientists announced a new treatment for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a rare disease in which glial cells damage and kill motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis, atrophy, and eventually death caused by respiratory failure. Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University discovered a method to stop the increased activity of glial cells and restore the body’s immune defenses, increasing life expectancy. Read more here.
- Jörg Gerlach, a German researcher, developed a spray-on stem cell treatment heals burns without scarring. It was the world’s first to use a patient’s stem cells to directly heal the skin. The technology was sold to RenovaCare, which transformed the device from a complicated prototype into a patient-friendly device. Clinical studies are being prepared for later this year so that it can be used by clinicians outside of an experimental setting.
- Wonder Woman won the weekend box office, earning approximately $103.1 million in North America. As Cindy Gallop tweeted, “There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously.” What people need to understand is that you can’t be what you can’t see and that’s why representation matters so much. We need to see more ass-kicking women in high profile spaces that signify power, now more than ever, as the Trump administration keeps assaulting women’s rights.
- Speaking of heroines, Peggy Whitson broke the US record for the most cumulative days spent in orbit. The NASA astronaut is the first woman to command the International Space Station. Her achievement is one small step for man, and one giant leap for womankind.
- Nevertheless, Elizabeth Warren persisted. The imagery of a man silencing or ignoring a woman struck many as all too common. A broader theme emerged on social media, and #LetLizSpeak began trending, as a result of Mr. McConnell’s accusing Ms. Warren of violating the Senate rule. In the end, she had her say and read the full statement from Mrs. King on Facebook.
"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
So must we all.https://t.co/JXROGHPNkH
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 8, 2017
- Women’s March brought together an estimated 1 million women (and men) the day after a multiple-time-accused sexual predator was inaugurated as president of the United States. The sea of pink Pussyhats peacefully but passionately took to streets in protest, standing up for women’s rights. The Women’s march ignited a flame in others, which inspired an outpouring number of women to run for office. The movement may have also helped inspire the #MeToo movement, which helped highlight the magnitude of the problem by having victims of sexual assault write “#MeToo”. It has also been reported that the Women’s March was the largest single-day demonstration in recorded US history.
The events I mentioned above, are, of course, just a few of the myriad of things that show us that there is still humanity and good in the world. So, in spite of all the bad things that happened this year, let’s take the last day of the year to look back on some happy moments and reprieve from the hell of 2017.