It was the year that never ended, the year when the Arctic Circle was burning, the year when Donald Trump carried on being president of the free world. No one can be blamed for being ready to boot 2018 deep into the grave, but plenty of great things happened last year, which perhaps did not get the attention they deserved. Read on to be reminded of all the excellent things that happened in just 365 days.
1) More women joined Parliament and the US congress than ever before.
In the UK, 208 women made up parliament, 100 years after they were first allowed to stand for the position, while in the US, 115 women joined Congress. Worldwide, politics have been diversifying.
2) The Royal Wedding changed history.
The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marked the first person of mixed-raced heritage to marry into the British royal family, hopefully marking a new modern era for the royals.
3) Hollywood upped their dedication to inclusivity.
Films like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Black Panther, Ocean’s 8, and Crazy Rich Asians became some of the most successful films worldwide, proving that inclusion is the way forward.
4) Naomi Osaka changed Wimbledon history.
After playing in Nottingham in June, Naomi Osaka won the US Open in September, defeating 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams to become the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion.
5) The Thai Football team were rescued.
After spending 18 days trapped in a cave, the world watched as 12 young boys were rescued from the caves in Thailand.
6) Single-use plastic and other harmful waste was tackled.
Multiple countries and companies pledged to decrease the amount of single-use plastic the used after damning reports about the negative effect the waste is having on the wildlife. UoN pledged to change their ways too with their #wastenott campaign.
7) Ireland ended its abortion ban.
Ireland has ended its abortion ban in May after a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which had come into the Irish Constitution in 1983.
8) Brooklyn Nine Nine was saved.
The much-loved comedy show about cops in New York was cancelled by Fox and then revived by NBC, allowing it to continue bringing joy to our lives.
9) India and Trinidad and Tobago decriminalized homosexuality.
In a massive gain for LGBTQ+ communities, multiple countries have changed their laws, with India arguing that their people are not truly free while such communities are oppressed.
10) Ivory bans have been increasing worldwide.
China banned ivory in 2017, halving the demand, and in Kenya, poaching has decreased by over 60%. The UK has also banned ivory sales in an effort to decrease the 20,000 elephants who are poached each year.
11) Several species of animals were removed from the endangered list.
Giant pandas, Arabian Oryx, and Island foxes have been removed from the endangered list while Nepal’s wild tigers have doubled in population.
12) Teenage drinking rates in Europe have decreased.
The UK had the biggest drop in teenage drinking, marking a shift in youth culture and university culture.
13) Deforestation rates worldwide have dropped while tree-planting has increased.
In Indonesia, deforestation has dropped by 60%, while Niger, for example, has planted 200 million trees. Ecosia, a free tree-planting equivalent to Google, is well on their way to 50 million trees in 2019.
14) Scotland is the first country to provide its students with free sanitary products.
In an amazing move, sanitary products in Scotland are now free for its students, helping free young people from period poverty.
15) It is now cheaper in most of the world to use clean energy sources.
Against the insistence of plenty of climate-change deniers, clean energy, particularly wind and solar, has become cheaper and cheaper over the course of 2018.
16) 140 nations worldwide have agreed to conserve their oceans.
After a ridiculous ten years of debate, 140 nations have signed the Conservation Treaty for the High Seas, which seeks to prevent overfishing across the globe.
17) Rwanda is just one of many African countries to make huge healthcare advancements.
Rwanda is the first low-income countries to provide universal eye care to its citizens, while South Africa has decreased HIV infection rates by 44%.
18) 70% of the world’s population has reduced meat consumption.
In 2018, huge swathes of people reduced their meat intake or became vegetarian or vegan, presenting a huge win not only for animals, but for the environment and human health.