21 Things That Made the World a Better Place in 2021

The pandemic didn’t miraculously disappear. When the clock struck midnight and marked the beginning of 2021, Covid-19 didn’t melt away like a fairytale princess’s party dress, alas, and we were all forced to stare down another year of fear. The good news is: We did it! The bad news is: Well, you know … We all know. So let’s forget about that, just for a moment, and celebrate all of the actually good stuff that happened in 2021.

1. More Than 8.47 Billion Covid-19 Vaccinations Were Administered Globally

Almost 9 billion Covid jabs have been put in arms around the world—and the number is climbing literally every second. It’s the largest mass vaccination campaign in history

2. Scientists Revealed That Cheese Isn’t Bad for You .

Scientist told WIRED: “There’s almost no evidence that cheese causes weight gain—and in fact, there’s evidence that it’s neutral at worst.” This stigma-shattering analysis helped cheese to rebuild its reputation globally—and that’s grate. Read more at WIRED

3. The Great Resignation Gave Workers Their Lives Back.

Spring and summer 2021 saw a wave of resignations after employees across the globe used the pandemic to reflect on their work-life balance.

4. Drones Helped Us Get a Handle on Plastic Pollution.

Throughout 2021, UK-based startup Ellipsis Earth has been mapping the scale of the world’s plastic pollution with camera-equipped drones that are able to (sometimes) identify the exact origin of the trash. These speedy surveys allow experts to better understand the solutions needed in different areas, from pushing through dumping regulations at beaches to installing more bins in littering hotspots.

5. A Human Mind Was Wirelessly Connected to a Computer.

In March 2021, researchers at Brown University successfully transmitted brain signals wirelessly to a computer for the first time—the move is a breakthrough for paralyzed people, as the removal of cumbersome wires takes this tech one step closer to being available for home use.

6. China Eliminated Malaria.

As June came to an end, the World Health Organization declared China free of malaria after “decades of targeted and sustained action” against the disease.

7. Donald Trump Was Banned From Twitter.

Twitter finally banned not-president Donald Trump from the platform in January, after the Home Alone 2 actor glorified the violence surrounding the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.

8. Dutch ‘Bee Hotels’ Helped Bee Populations Remain Stable.

More than 11,000 people counted bees as part of the Netherlands’ national bee census in 2021—and what they discovered was encouraging, as urban bee populations were found to have remained steady over the past few years.

9. Analysts Built Software That Revolutionized the Fight Against Child Sexual Abuse.

The team at the Internet Watch Foundation in Cambridgeshire have a tireless job: They spend hours trawling through child sexual abuse images and categorizing them to help countries crack down on offenders.

10. NASA Made Oxygen on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully converted some of Mars’s carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen in April.Read more on NASA

11. Virtual Queues Revolutionized Waiting

Thanks to the inherently non-socially-distanced nature of queues, restaurants, entertainment establishments, and theme parks around the world decided to shake up the centuries-old habit by starting a virtual queue revolution

12. The World’s First 3D-Printed School Opened Its 3D-Printed Doors.

In less than 24 hours—15 to be precise—affordable housing group 14Trees built an entire school in Malawi this July using 3D printing technology.

13. A Thought-to-Be-Extinct Orchid Was Found on a London Roof.

The biggest-ever game of hide and seek ended in June when a rare species of orchid was found growing on top of an investment bank in London, despite scientists believing the plant was extinct in the UK.

2021 discovery nomura orchids

14. The Met Removed the Sackler Name From Its Galleries.

In recent years, Purdue Pharma founders the Sackler family have faced increased scrutiny for their company’s role in the opioid epidemic, and prominent museums who’ve accepted donations from the Sacklers are now distancing themselves from the family.

15. Argentinian Capybaras Reclaimed Their Habitat by Force.

In October, capybaras began reclaiming an affluent neighborhood near Buenos Aires that was once their territory, munching on its array of manicured flower beds and neat lawns.

16. Uber Drivers Were Granted Workers Rights in the UK.

The gig economy was brought to heel this February when a landmark decision by the UK supreme court saw Uber drivers’ workers rights entrenched.

17. United Flew the First Passenger Aircraft With 100-Percent Sustainable Fuel.

In December, 100 passengers flying from Chicago to Washington, DC, were the first in the world to do so with one engine running on 100-percent non-petroleum-based sustainable fuel made from sugar water and corn

18. The Oscars Had Their Most Diverse Year Ever.

Oscars, where years of backlash and a much-needed broadening of voters finally resulted in a diverse lineup of nominees, including the first Asian American ever nominated for best actor.

19. Electric Vehicles Outsold Diesel for the First Time in Europe.

In August, electric cars outsold diesel ones in Europe for the very first time. And next year, experts expect that more electric cars will be sold overall in the UK.

20. The Ever Given Was Freed From the Suez Canal.

It is a sign of just how grim things got earlier this year that one of the most widely talked . Its about events was a container ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal for six days. I mean, how do you explain that to your future grandkids? Still, we all had a reason to celebrate in late March when the vessel was finally freed.

21. Renewable Energy Had a Record Year

In December, the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that 2021 was renewable energy’s biggest year ever. Roughly 290 GW of renewable energy generation installed globally. Despite the pandemic and the rising cost of raw materials.

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