It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
– Charles Dickens (1859)
As the world tries to work out how we get back to something remotely like business as normal after weeks of restrictions designed to halt the spread of covid-19 I decided it was time to try and lift your spirits.
It is not easy to stay positive when we are bombarded daily with news that fills us full of fear and foreboding. I’ve included below 10 pieces of news that you may not have read in recent weeks that will hopefully bring a little bit of positivity into your life.
New surveys revealed that the population of humpback whales in the South Atlantic region now number 24,900 – almost 93 per cent of their population size before they were hunted to the brink of extinction. Source BBC
Dolphins are breeding in the Potomac River in Washington for the first time since the 1880s, whale populations are exploding off the shores of New York, and 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared ‘biologically’ dead. Source Daily Telegraph
The city of Seoul shut down all its remaining dog butcheries this year, and the Netherlands became the first country in the world to eliminate all stray dogs – not by euthanasia, but through education, free veterinary care and re-homing. Source Amsterdam Hangout
Coal continues its collapse in the EU, falling by 25.5pc in the first quarter of 2020 and Austria has become the second European country to exit coal altogether. Source Euractiv
Algeria and Argentina officially eliminated malaria this year, and the WHO said that in the last eight years, malaria infections in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam dropped by 76pc, and deaths fell by 95pc. India also reported a huge reduction in malaria, with 2.6 million fewer cases in 2018 than in 2017. Source Nature
As a result of the pandemic Poland and Denmark are refusing to bail out organisations that are based in tax havens, saying assistance will only go to companies paying domestic business taxes. Source Business Insider
In France all new public buildings must be made of at least 50pc wood or other sustainable materials from 2022. Source Archinect
Thanks to unprecedented conservation efforts, the number of black rhinos in Africa increased from an estimated 4,845 in 2012 to 5,630 in 2018. Source Phys.org
Marine biologists have documented 30 new species in the deep sea off Australia’s coast, including the longest animal ever discovered. Source The Guardian
In the biggest breakthrough for cystic fibrosis in decades, a new drug that targets the genetic roots of the disease was approved by the FDA. Source The Washington Post