The Good News: decreases in pollution, homicides, cancer


Credit: Owen Smith

Alyssa Dickstein

All day, we are accosted by stories like “Coronavirus infects 75,000,” “Australia is on fire” and “Venice is underwater.” In a world where stories like these are the headlines at the epicenter of our lives, maintaining a positive outlook on life can be hard. Let’s face it, when headlines that incite negativity are the only ones we hear about, it can be hard not to be negative as a result. In order to brighten up your day, here are some current events that, indisputably, qualify as good news.

It might seem like all news is bad news, but, from a statistical standpoint, this is untrue. For example, in England, pollution due to burning coal is down 93%. Formerly, coal burning was a popular way to generate electricity in England, but since a tax on coal-burning was instituted in 2013, the emission of these detrimental fuels into the environment has seen an enormous downfall.

Another positive statistic is that international homicide rates are at an all-time low. Over the last 30 years, the number of homicides per 100,000 people has seen a 46% drop worldwide. In this country, cities that have recently seen an increase in murder and gun violence, like Chicago and Baltimore, have seen decline rates of 14% and 9% respectively.

Cancer rates in the U.S. have also seen a steady decline of about 1.5% each year. This might not sound like a lot, but it equates to about 29 million fewer people dying of cancer each year.

For everyone learning about the Indian Wars in American history right now, they might like to know that legislature was recently passed in California that should generate some happiness. After the hardships and discrimination Native Americans faced throughout history, a few Californian tribes were recently given their land back. The Californian Natural Resources Agency, after 10 years of raising money through charity work, was able to raise $37 million to help in their mission of advocating for Native American rights. In December, the agency donated $2.7 million of their funds to the Yurok Tribe so that they could buy back about 2,500 acres of their territory. The agency also made a $4.5 million donation to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey, California, to aid them in reclaiming about 1,200 acres of their land. After hundreds of years, tribes were able to reclaim the land that is rightfully theirs.

A remedy for sickle-cell anemia, a disease that formerly had no cure, has recently been found. The cure is still being tested in clinical trials but is shown to work on patients inflicted with severe cases of sickle-cell disease. The cure lies in experimental gene therapy, and the trials have been very hopeful. Right now, around 300,000 infants are born with the condition each year, a statistic that was set to rise to 400,000 if no cure had been found. Scientists hope that the treatment will be approved for the public within the next three years.

Looking for even happier news? A hiker in England recently discovered a circular rainbow, and how could that not leave somebody smiling?