The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what has happened over the past 12 months. While much of the news that we consume on a daily basis tends to be quite negative, it’s important to remember the positives from the year too.
If you want to end the year with a smile on your face, read on to discover 15 of the best good news stories from 2022. We hope you enjoy reading them.
1. First wild bison born in the UK in 6,000 years
Wild bison were reintroduced to the UK in July as part of a rewilding project designed to boost biodiversity and help to address the climate crisis.
Bison pregnancies are impossible to detect, so rangers received a pleasant surprise to discover the female calf so soon after the project began.
2. UK pensioners will receive a State Pension increase in line with inflation
The State Pension “triple lock” is the agreement by the government to raise the State Pension by the same amount as inflation, wage growth, or 2.5% each year, whichever is highest.
The triple lock was under question after it was paused during lockdown due to inflated wage increases. However, in his autumn statement, chancellor Jeremy Hunt committed to upholding the triple lock.
As a result, pensioners will receive a rise on their State Pension in 2023 to keep pace with September’s inflation rate of 10.1%, an invaluable help to millions during the cost of living crisis.
3. First disabled astronaut appointed by European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected the first disabled astronaut in the world. British Paralympian John McFall lost his leg in a motorcycle accident aged 19. Since then, he has won a bronze medal for Britain at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
While he is not guaranteed to go into space, he is part of a carefully chosen group of astronauts who will be considered for space flight. He said that he hopes his appointment by the ESA will inspire others and show that, potentially, space is for everyone.
4. The ozone hole is healing and will be at pre-1980s levels by the middle of the century
In the 1990s, the hole in the ozone layer was a global environmental crisis with the potential to destroy habitats and cause widespread health problems for millions. But now, thanks to a monumental effort by governments and scientists across the world, the hole is closing.
Scientists predict that by the middle of this century, the ozone layer will have recovered to pre-1980s levels.
5. A dog has collected more than 6,000 lost golf balls to donate to charities that teach young people how to play
A cavapoo in south London has developed a skill for seeking out lost golf balls on his weekly walks to Mitcham Golf Club and Wimbledon Common Golf Club.
Marlo has collected an estimated 6,000 golf balls in the past five years, many of which have been donated to charities across the world, including the European Disabled Golf Association, to help young people learn how to play the sport.
6. A former industrial wasteland has become a nature reserve in Manchester
The Flashes of Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester used to be an industrial wasteland but, in recent years, they have become a thriving habitat for rare species such as water voles and great crested newts. Now, the site has been officially designated a Natural England National Nature Reserve.
Chief executive of Natural England Marian Spain told the BBC that “the unique wetlands in Wigan and Leigh were forged by nature reclaiming former industrial land,” showing that it is possible to “reverse the decline in nature”.
7. Global vaccine-sharing programme achieves 1 billion doses milestone
In January, the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme reached an impressive milestone of delivering 1 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to poorer nations.
Poorer nations have received significantly fewer vaccines than wealthier countries since the drugs became available, but COVAX hopes to address this imbalance with its work.
As of 25 November 2022, 1.63 billion doses of the jab have been administered in poorer countries.
8. Scientists may have cured HIV in a woman for the first time
In February, scientists in the US appeared to have cured a woman of HIV using a state-of-the-art treatment. She is the first woman, and the third patient overall, to have seemingly been cured of the disease.
The new method used stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Dr Koen van Besien, one of the doctors involved in the treatment, told the Guardian that his team believed up to 50 patients might be able to benefit from the treatment each year in the US.
9. A new report found that if the current pace of wind and solar energy growth continues, the world will meet its climate targets
The Ember ‘Global Electricity Review 2022’ found that, in 2021, 38% of the world’s electricity was generated by clean energy sources, exceeding the proportion generated by coal (36%).
Even more extraordinarily, it suggested that if the use of clean energy sources like wind and solar continues to grow at the same average rate that it has over the past decade, we will be on track to meet the target of limiting global heating to 1.5C.
10. President Biden has cancelled $10,000 in student loan debt for low- and middle-income earners
There was good news for low- and middle-income college graduates in the US this August, as President Biden announced he would be cancelling $10,000 worth of student loan debt for anyone earning less than $125,000 a year.
Student loan debt can sometimes hold graduates back from being able to afford their own home or even support their growing families, so the announcement by Biden is a welcome one for thousands across the country.
11. Pollinator-friendly artwork bloomed at the Eden Project in August
The Eden Project in Cornwall is famous for its conservation work and stunning displays.
This summer, the organisation commissioned artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg to create a 55-metre-long (180 ft) piece of living artwork exploring the vital role of pollinators. The work, titled ‘Pollinator Pathmaker’, was composed of 7,000 plants of 64 different species and was designed to explore the question of who a garden is really for.
Bees, moths, beetles, and wasps were among the visitors when the artwork came into full bloom in August.
12. Early-stage trials of a new cancer-killing virus have been successful
The early-stage trials of a new cancer treatment have been extremely successful, with one patient’s tumour disappearing entirely. The virus has also reduced the size of other patients’ tumours during the trial.
The treatment is a modified version of the herpes simplex virus, and even though further studies are needed to learn more, it is thought that the result of this trial will give hope to patients with more advanced cancers in the future.
13. ESG funds outperformed for the past 5 years
Reuters has reported that stock funds weighted towards companies that score highly for environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria outperformed globally over the past five years.
ESG investing has grown in popularity but is commonly thought to deliver inferior returns. This research has proved that it is possible to invest sustainably, protect the planet, and generate high returns over the long term.
14. 4-day week trial improved productivity and employee wellness and led 100 companies to sign up permanently
A trial in the UK to see if a four-day week without any loss of pay could help productivity has been a success, as 100 companies have signed up to adopt the measure permanently.
Global marketing group Awin is one of the early adopters of the initiative. Their chief executive Adam Ross told the Guardian: “We have not only seen a tremendous increase in employee wellness and wellbeing but concurrently, our customer service and relations, as well as talent relations and retention also have benefited”.
The 4 Day Week campaign group hopes that this will become the norm within a decade and plans to recruit more companies in the next few years.
15. Germany is ready to unfreeze €35 million in Amazon Fund donations
Disputes with the outgoing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro over deforestation led to the donations in the Amazon Fund being frozen by Germany and Denmark. But following newly elected Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s vow to protect the rainforest, the German government has said it is keen to unfreeze the funds as quickly as possible.
The donations will support the conservation and sustainable use of resources in the Brazilian Amazon and help to combat climate change.
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We hope you enjoyed reading our favourite good news stories of 2022.
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