By Doug Criss
PHILADELPHIA (CNN)–I know, I know. You’re SO over me. You lost a favorite celebrity. Your Samsung Galaxy exploded. You got really tired of Pokemon Go really fast. But look a little closer. I was also all kinds of awesome – in ways that left you a better place.
There’s finally peace in Colombia. Non-violent protests helped impeach a president in South Korea. Gambia voted out a dictator. The military no longer rules Myanmar. Lebanon picked a leader – after 45 tries. A Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch met for the first time in 1,000 years.
That big ozone hole over the Antarctic is starting to heal. India planted 50 million trees — in one day! Norway banned deforestation. The Paris Agreement to limit global warming is now international law.
The high school graduation rate is at its highest. The teen birth rate kept on falling. The unemployment rate is the lowest in 10 years. Americans gave to charity more than ever before.
Researchers found new genes that may help cure ALS (thanks ice bucket challenge). There’s hope for a new HIV vaccine. The measles is no more in the Americas. Sri Lanka proved you can finish off malaria. China bred good mosquitoes to fight the bad ones. West Africa is ebola-free (And an experimental vaccine is 100 percent effective).
Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage. The death penalty is illegal in more than half the world. 300 African communities pledged to end female genital mutilation. A law against ‘honor’ killings finally passed in Pakistan.
The tiger population rose for the first time in 100 years. Pandas are endangered no more. There were only 126 kakapo parrots left in the world; now there are 154! Hawaii boasted the largest protected place on the planet.
The Cubs finally won the World Series. Leicester City defied the odds to win the Premier League. The title-starved Cleveland won the NBA crown. The Olympic refugee team won our hearts.
There may be a ninth planet lurking in our solar system. Juno made it to Jupiter – after five years. Scientists found an Earth-like planet just 4.2 light years away. We got serious about putting humans on Mars
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