Looking back, 2017 has been a year of fake news and terrible news. We’ve seen a rise in devastating terrorist attacks, especially here in the UK, President Trump has caused unrest across the world, and we lost a host of well-loved stars, including Bruce Forsyth, David Cassidy and Glen Campbell.
But while its become fashionable to declare that the world is getting worse as every year passes. But despite the endless rolling news reports that give the impression that things are terrible all the time, the reality tells a different story. These news stories prove there is hope and positivity out there:
1. We’re stepping up to protect elephants
An elephant is killed by poachers for it’s ivory every 25 minutes. It’s a shocking statistic that could see the world’s largest mammal driven to extinction within a generation. Happily, recently the UK government bowed to campaigners and banned the sale of ivory. Britain is the biggest exporter of legal ivory, and shutting down the trade will help prevent the sale illegal ivory. Conservation charity Space for Giants, who work to protect elephants on the ground in Africa, hailed the move as extremely positive – but we still have a long way to go.
2. The new Bake Off is even better
We really were prepared to hate Channel 4’s version of The Great British Bake Off, after they bought the show for a whopping £75million. We didn’t believe it would work without Mary, or Mel and Sue, and that the ad breaks would ruin the wholesome feel. But can you believe it, the Channel 4’s new version of GBBO was even better than the BBC’s. Paul Hollywood is even more charming, Prue Leith is a total pro, hosts Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding are a weirdly excellent double act, and the challenges are more interesting. Viewers clearly agree – the show delivered Channel 4 one of its biggest ever audiences after record numbers. The proof really was in the pudding.
3. Predatory men finally got their comeuppance
The sexual harassment row sparked by the allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein in September spread far beyond Hollywood and helped women all over the world to speak out about misconduct. From boardrooms to bathrooms, females have fought back wake the world up to the reality of life as the ‘fairer sex’. Now the dust is settling, here’s hoping it ushers in a new age of consent and absolute respect for women.
4. The tide is turning against Trump
The American public is rejecting Trump and his illiberalism. News moniting organisation Bloomberg says Trump is the most unpopular president after 300 days during the polling era. Of course he will still serve a full term in office unless there are grounds for impeachment, but perhaps the the real upside is how Trump’s unpopularity has spurred pubic opinion. A year ago, pundits were noting just how much ordinary Americans had rejected expert opinion. Now, the polling data suggests people are educating themselves, uniting on important issues, and taking their constitutional obligations to vote more seriously. Change is on the horizon…
6. Hyperloops are coming!
If you haven’t heard of the hyperloop yet you soon will. It’s a transport system which is a brain child of entrepreneur Elon Musk, and it promises to shuttle people in tube-contained pods between cities at crazy speeds of 700 mph. Remind anyone of The Jetsons? So far test hyperloops are being built in the US, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. And the goal is to have a hyperloop system between Paris and Amsterday by 2021. As well as helping the environment by reducing emissions, they will also help to cut road deaths.
7. Singletons are helping the planet
We know this might not sound like a positive thing, but there are more single people than ever and they are helping provide the ‘glue’ that keeps our increasingly isolating societies together. A report from the University of Santa Barbara suggests that more people are staying single for life – with one in four of today’s young adults predicted not to have married by age 50. But this isn’t just good news for Tinder numbers, its also positive for society that is increasingly isolated. When couples marry and settle down, they tend to cut themselves off, whereas single people are much more community minded, and have the free time to dedicate to social good.
8. Scientists are turning seawater into drinking water
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink, so goes the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem. In a major turning point that could help end droughts and save lives, researchers this year invented a membrane made of super-material grapheme that sieves the salt out of seawater.
9. Prince Harry and Meghan got engaged
Finally, after months of rising speculation, in November Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement. While we’re thrilled for the happy couple, we are a little disappointed the we won’t get an extra bank holiday when the happy couple marry in spring next year, like we did when Kate and Wills said ‘I do’.