Friday , 23 July 2021

EDITORIAL: There was good world news in 2018, some anyway

Sometimes when you follow the major news outlets on a daily basis, you feel like you’re swirling around endlessly in a toilet bowl and crap continues to pile onto you.

And despite how much flushing you do, you’re trapped in the toilet bowl, so the latest chatter about Justin Trudeau’s gauche actions (shooting a fundraising video inside the Prime Minister’s office, which is not allowed by parliamentary rules) or the US government shutdown and “wall” speak, (how high? how long?) or even for teenagers, SnapChat’s wall-to-wall coverage of Cardi B’s engagement drama and subsequent twerking wedgies (will Offset crash the stage again saying take me back? was Cardi able to stay on stage despite uncomfortable underwear?) continues being dumped onto you again and again.

And so another year has passed, and outlets round up their top stories, but where is the good news? The positive news? Is it possible that nothing good happened in 2018?

You might believe that.

Luckily, there are some news sites that focus specifically on good news stories, and not just the fire-department-saves-cat-from-tree-tales, either.

Here are some bits of positive news that you might not have heard about from 2018:

The Ozone could be healed by 2060

The Ozone layer is recovering – big time. A study published in 2018 shows the continuing healing of the layer, which is recovering a rate of 1-3 per cent a year since 2000. Future projections show that by 2060 the ozone layer could be completely healed. It is suggested that the Montreal Protocol, invoked 30 years ago to protect the Ozone layer, has helped with the rebound. Not bad.

France, US, see a decline in smoking rates

The number of smokers appears to be decreasing. In France, they saw almost a million smokers quit in 2018. The BBC reports that in recent years, “neutral packaging, reimbursements for people using tobacco substitutes, higher cigarette pricing and campaigns like the national tobacco-free month,” decreased the number of smokers by close to million in people in 2017-18.

The numbers overall appear to be declining in the United States, CNN reports the lowest numbers in the US since data began being collected in 1965. However, total smoking numbers and the number of young people vaping is rising globally, some have suggested because of population increases.

United States economy humming

Despite all the Trump talk: in the United States, the economy continued to grow, wages increased, and unemployment fell to the lowest it’s been since 1969 at 3.7 per cent. Unemployment among black Americans hit record lows since the government began tracking it in 1972, and the gap with unemployment among whites was the smallest it has ever been.

AIDS/HIV research shows positive signs

AIDS/HIV the killer of 35 million people worldwide is on track to quit spreading by the 2030s, suggests researchers. Brian Williams, the co-founder of the South African Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, “published preliminary work that projects the continuing decline of HIV cases in many African countries over the coming years.” If the rate of infection falls to 1 in 1000 people, that would have serious beneficial effects in the most ailing nations in the world. Since 2010, global HIV/AIDS infection rates have fallen by 16% in adults and by 35% for children. Good, good.

Cancer researchers say new treatment could no longer be deadly

And more on the health side: it was reported by The Telegraph that beginning next year a new treatment is beginning that scientists believe could make cancer non-deadly for future generations. Pretty radical.

“Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London believe it is possible to strengthen the body’s defences by transplanting immune cells from strangers,” wrote The Telegraph’s Sarah Knapton. That was a major revelation in 2018 and is leading toward an “incredibly bright future” in cancer research.

Thirty years ago just one in four people diagnosed with cancer would have survived for 10 years, but that number rose to 50 per cent in the last decade. The Francis Crick Institute has their sights on making that number 75 per cent in the next 15 years.

Climate action all the rage

And if your taste buds like climate change action: there was a ton of news about global initiatives as well, more than any health studies as well. Here’s a good place to go for that information.

Now that I’ve perhaps help lift your spirits with a bit of good news – let’s back to the run of the mill and swirling in the toilet bowl…

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.