2016 Recap

A disaster or a beacon of hope?


Photo via Pixabay

Noelle Helmlinger, Author

The year is over. 2016 brought many horrors, including what is often called, “the worst election ever”, the deaths of over 100 celebrities, and multiple shootings. It would be pretty difficult to find some good in that year, but still, there is hope. With a dash of optimism, 2016 actually had some pretty good moments.

In zoology, many animals have been removed from the endangered species list. Giant pandas, are no longer classified as endangered. Yes, the poster bear of endangered species is facing less risk today. Besides pandas, humpback whales and manatees have also been removed from the list, along with many other animals. Tigers and Yellowstone grizzly bears are also making a comeback, something National Geographic is calling a “wildlife comeback” and a “milestone”. Other animals are now being protected, including parrots, rhinos, porpoises, rays, and elephants. Wild wolves have returned to Europe, and Mongolia created one of the largest protected areas for snow leopards. In conclusion, it was a pretty good year for animal lovers.

The world is a healthier place now. In 2016, Liberia was cleared of the ebola virus. In West Africa, there were no known cases of the disease. In news closer to home, measles no longer exist in the Americas. The disease had never been eradicated from an entire world region before then. Not all of the newest health developments are related to disease. Smoking in the USA has gone down by 8.6 million people, and there is now evidence that public smoking bans have improved health in 21 nations

Poverty is improving too. For the first time ever, the amount of money that was needed to end poverty dropped below the amount spent of foreign aid. Los Angeles committed 1.2 billion dollars to get people off the streets, and the US is now feeding over 30 million students healthy lunches. Speaking of hunger, World hunger has reached its lowest point in 25 years.

The world is even becoming a less violent place. In Tanzania and Gambia, child marriages are outlawed, which will help protect young girls from violence. “It is essential to empower girls, to protect their rights and provide meaningful alternatives to marriage that are valued by communities, such as education,” said Ruth Koshal of the Girls Not Brides organization. Honduras used to be the most dangerous place on Earth, but now community crime programs have reduced violence in the country. Other places that have reported a decrease in violence and crime include the Netherlands and Mexico.

So was this really the worst year ever? Can nothing redeem 2016? Timothy Coughlin, a history teacher here at BHS, disagrees. “The media tends to focus on the negative,” says Coughlin. In addition to this, he mentions that a lot of the negative aspects of 2016, including the election and the death of Carrie Fisher, happened at the end of the year. Mr. Coughlin believes that people mostly associate the end of a year with how the year as a whole went. However, these may not be the only reasons for 2016’s bad reputation. Shane Gallagher, a sophomore at Battlefield, agrees that the media may have a say in the matter. He also blames the number of celebrity deaths last year. “A lot of famous people, who most people loved, died last year,” says Shane. So really, whether the year really was awful depends on the perspective it is viewed from.