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Aine Powers

Staff Writer

While 2016 seems to be a year that will be remembered for political and global turmoil, many positive things have happened that should be acknowledged. Socially, scientifically, and even politically, there have been breakthroughs that have and will shape our world. The following are 7 awesome things that happened in 2016.

  1. It was announced on April 20th, that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill. Tubman will not only be the first African-American to be featured on US currency but also the first woman on paper money since the silver certificate of Martha Washington was discontinued in 1957.
  2. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, an influential environmental organization, produced a report saying the giant panda is now classified as a “vulnerable” species instead of endangered. The worldwide population has increased from 1,596 in 2004 to currently approximately 2,060. Manatees and Humpback Whales were also removed from the endangered species list.
  3. The money accumulated from the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” funded an important study that took place 2016. The study discovered a new gene, NEK1, that has been identified as a contributor to the disease and presents scientists with a new target for potential treatments.
  4. The last known flare-up of Ebola in Liberia was declared over, meaning that there are no known cases of Ebola left in West Africa.
  5. The UN calculated that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to below 8 hundred million. While there are still 795 million hungry people, that is 216 million lower than it was in the 1990s. This puts the poverty level at its lowest point in the past 25 years.
  6. Despite her loss and the controversy surrounding her run in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman ever to be nominated by a major party as their candidate for the US presidency.
  7. American teenagers reached an all time high for high school graduation with a total of 82.3%, and teen pregnancy has decreased by 9% from 2013.

Even a year that was as universally despised as 2016 contributed some great things to society. However, it is important to note that none of the occurences (good, bad, or controversial) arose due to the calendar year. It is up to people to shape the world they want to live in. Great things happen when human beings come together to contribute positively to their communities. Hopefully the birth of a new year will foster more collaboration and progress, and the end of 2017 will leave us a much longer list of triumphs.

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