Despite Trump, Brexit, ISIS and Aleppo, 2016 wasn’t all doom and gloom.


Malaria deaths have dropped by 60% since 2000. Public smoking bans proved they improve health in 21 countries. Dementia, heart disease and colon cancer rates are dropping. Since 1990, pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths have almost halved. 260,000 children’s lives have been saved in Malawi over the past decade as its HIV rate in children has dropped by 67%. 12% less children are dying in Russia. Thailand are preventing mothers passing their HIV and syphilis onto their babies.

Africans’ life expectancy had gone up by almost nine and a half years by 2016 since the turn of the century. Scientists are curing rabies, which kills more people than Terrorism.

The Americas are now totally measles-free. Liberia is now totally clear of Ebola, and by extension so is West Africa. Between 2005 and 2016, the number of cigarette smoking Americans reduced by 8.6 million, with even more coming now that California has tobacco tax.

The environment

Twenty countries have donated a combined amount of over $5.3 billion towards conserving the oceans. They created 40 sanctuaries for marine life, and one broke the record for largest in the world. Acid pollution is almost at an all-time low, the lowest since the 1930s.

Peru and Bolivia teamed up on a $500 million pact to preserve Lake Titicaca (stop snickering). The ozone hole is 3.9 million square km smaller, and scientists say it’ll be gone by 2050. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the biggest rainforests in the world. The American government ditched plans to drill into the Atlantic Ocean for oil and gas.

Furthermore, the US and Canada are putting a stop to all drilling in arctic waters. Back in 2012, America and Mexico combined forces to revive the Colorado River. In 2016, their work was done.

Norway has totally banned deforestation, the first country to do so. India turned a leaf in 2016 when 800,000 volunteers planted 50 million trees in a single day to kick off reforestation of 12% of the country.

The biggest beach cleanup ever was carried out in Mumbai as they got rid of 4000 tons of trash. Every food chain in the US will use only free range eggs by 2025. 183 countries have agreed to protect endangered species, and manatees, humpback whales and giant pandas aren’t endangered anymore. SeaWorld will finally stop breeding killer whales in captivity, and the US is banning ivory trade.


For the first time ever, the cost of ending poverty was less than the amount spent on foreign aid. Rates of black incarceration in the US have lowered (not enough, but it’s progress). In 1990, 60% of East Asia were poverty-stricken. In 2016, it’s just 3.5%. Germany broadened the definition of rape in a world becoming desensitised.

World hunger hasn’t been this low for 25 years. Capital punishment is now illegal in more than 50% of the world. ISIS has given up on the caliphate and is preparing its guys for failure. Crime in the Netherlands is down and Juarez is safer than ever.

25.93% of children in the world learned to read and write in 2016. There’s 35% less homelessness in America than there was in 2007, in part thanks to a $1.2 billion pledge by Los Angeles. Taiwan is on track to become the first Asian country to allow gay marriage. Child marriage has been banned in Gambia and Tanzania. The Pan African Parliament finally banned female genital mutilation. The US is on the verge of banning trans fats and now provides healthy lunches to 30 million children.

Canada banned transgender discrimination. Denmark stopped defining transgenderism as a mental illness (the first country to do so). China, India and 25% of Europe announced coal bans in favour of renewable energy. Teenage pregnancy is down in the UK and US. Global carbon emissions are at a standstill; not down but not up either. Germany took in 300,000 refugees and Canadians sheltered refugee families in their homes. See? 2016 was a great year for humanity.