2015 may have had its ups and downs, but keep positive, remember some of the good that was done and head into 2016 with an attitude that we can change the world. Here’s 15 of the most inspirational stories from the last year.
Headquartered in Rome this year, Good Deeds Day saw nearly 900,000 people donate their time to volunteer efforts around the world, racking up 3 million volunteer hours. 37 states participated in the US and the tradition continues to grow with volunteers using their time to feed the homeless, read to the elderly or do anything they feel motivated to do to make the world a better place.
Made famous by Jimmy Carter, his cancer cleared up in just four months thanks to immunotherapy where doctors insert cells of something recognizable, like a cold sore virus, into the cancer so your own immune system can attack and destroy both. The therapy has had tons of success all over the world this year and promises to get more efficient in the future.
Under new French law, any rooftop in a commercial zone must be at least partially covered in plants or solar panels. The move will help reduce energy costs by making buildings easier to heat in the winter and cool in the summer if they choose plants or by assisting in energy production if they choose panels. Either way, costs and pollution go down and we all benefit!
1400 landmarks across the globe shut their lights off for Earth Hour this year from the Eiffel Tower to Serbian Parliament to the Kremlin and the entire Dallas skyline. In total over 170 countries participated, demonstrating just how big this has become in only 9 years.
After plans to expand his production company were shot down, George Lucas set his sites on using the land for something better – low income housing. Despite protests from rich neighbors, Lucas is financing it himself since he’s a billionaire and one of the richest communities in America will soon enough have housing for low income families.
The town of Kamikatsu, Japan requires residents to wash and sort their trash into 34 categories. The resulting recycling program has nearly eliminated trash from the town altogether with nearly everything being recycled or composted and nothing being incinerated.
The Suma Aqualife Park in Japan teamed up with the local railway station to ensure that, during the busy season as turtles make their way from the park to the ocean and back, they don’t get run over by trains. The solution? Tiny turtle underpasses that go below the tracks allowing safe passage for the reptiles. It may seem like a small thing but tiny changes like this that help the environment and biodiversity are exactly what the world needs.
Three students from London created Ooho, an algae-based goop that could one day replace plastic in water bottles. Since over 80% of bottles aren’t recycled, the team needed a way to make it irrelevant if the bottles were recycled or not. Though some kinks need to be worked out, like how to keep it completely sanitary, a package that you consume along with the bottle could be in the future.
An Air Canada flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto was diverted at the pilot’s discretion when it became clear the heat in the cargo hold was no longer working, putting at risk the life of a little French bulldog. Despite a 75 minute delay and a cost to the airline of about $10,000 in fuel, the pilot chose to land in Germany to save the dog from freezing and no doubt the dog really appreciated it, too.
In October, three homeless veterans in Detroit were laid to rest but had not been claimed by any family members. This prompted six local high school students to step up as volunteer pall bearers for the men to ensure their funerals were given the dignity and respect any soldier can expect. The students have organized a pallbearer program at their school so that someone will always be available if required.
Aerofarms began construction of a 69,000 square foot facility which would allow aeroponic, soil free crops to be grown right in the middle of Newark at a rate of about two million pounds per year. That’s going to be able to provide both jobs and fresh food to a lot of people who need it.
The former Daily Show host could probably handpick just about any Hollywood job he wants right now. Instead, he and his wife are opening a 12 acre farm to house abused animals. Their belief is that if people can learn to treat animals better, maybe we can learn to treat each other better, too.
About 800,000 new homes have been constructed in Venezeula, they’re producing them around 200 per day, ensuring that in 2015 about 1 millon people were able to find a home. Initially meant to provide flood relief housing, the project now provided low cost housing to anyone who needs it, with low income familiar given priority. Homes are fully furnished and are generally extremely low cost or even free.
For the first time ever, less than 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty. Keeping in mind the cut off for extreme poverty is $1.90 a day, a lot of people are still insanely poor, but this means they can sustain a living where they are as conditions continue to improve. This is a huge step towards the global elimination of poverty altogether. The more people who get involved, the sooner it can happen.
One of the shadiest stories of 2015 was super punchable Martin Shkreli’s move to up the cost of AIDS drug Daraprim to an astronomical fee of $750 per pill. Imprimis responded by taking to compounds they have the rights to use, the active ingredients in Daraprim, and combining them to make a perfectly suitable Daraprim alternative. They’re charging 99 cents a pill. Suck it, Shkreli!