- Elise Amendola/AP
This past year might have been a trying one, but among the negative news stories were plenty of bright spots.
For every celebrity death, there was a scientific breakthrough. For every bit of political nonsense (well, maybe not every bit of nonsense) there were leaps forward in clean energy.
In case you’re feeling down about 2016, here’s a reminder that, in a lot of ways, the world really is getting better.
Populations of tigers, pandas, and manatees all started growing for the first time in years.
- Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS
All of Portugal ran on solar energy for four days straight.
- Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters
Scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time ever, furthering our understanding of the origins of the universe.
Funds raised by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 led to the discovery of a significant gene responsible for the disease.
- Elise Amendola/AP
Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free by the World Health Organization.
- David Gray/Reuters
Researchers discovered a special kind of strobe light that temporarily reverses Alzheimer’s damage in mice.
- Flickr/Global Pandora
Facebook announced a partnership with five fact-checking organizations to prevent fake news from appearing on users’ News Feeds.
Chevy debuted the first mass-market electric vehicle, the Bolt, which costs less than $30,000 and can travel further on a single charge than Tesla’s vehicles.
SpaceX landed a rocket smoothly on a ship, a world first that showed how expensive rockets could be flown more than once.
Dozens more stores, including the entire Mall of America, stayed closed on Thanksgiving Day to give employees time with their families.
Pakistan passed a law outlawing ‘honor killings’ — murders of relatives pardoned by other family members.
- Fayyaz Hussain/Reuters
Harriet Tubman was announced as the successor to Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
- Women on 20s
A solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse 2, completed its year-long journey around the world, taking off and touching down in Abu Dhabi.
- REUTERS/Eugene Tanner/Pool
New York City became the first US city to hand out free tampons in schools, prisons, and homeless shelters.
Over 800 hostages held by Boko Haram were rescued by the Nigerian army.
- Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde
India planted 50 million trees in one day, setting a new world record.
- Jayanta Dey/Reuters