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  • Writer's picturestefana sardo

In Case You Missed It: the good things that happened in 2020


If you take a moment for reflection, was 2020 glass half full or half empty? Research will inform you that if you look at the glass half full you are an optimist and you will be happier, healthier, and wealthier. I’m still waiting to become wealthier, but I’ll admit to often feeling happier and healthier. Here’s a few good things that left my 2020 glass half full:

Improved technology skills: after years of personal excuses (I didn’t have time, it would be too expensive to hire someone to build a website, I don’t have the skillset to build a website) I finally took the time-hours, days, and patience-to teach myself how to build a website.

More quality and creative time with family: in place of in-person gatherings with family there were zoom holiday gatherings and cooking sessions (more like ‘we need an excuse for zoom gatherings’)-making pasta from scratch, cooking a superb Bolognese sauce and baking a favorite cookie recipe (my daughter is away at school but will drop everything for food! Definitely a chip off the old block).

And more quality time with my husband: He swims, I play pickleball and go for long walks. Now, I still play pickleball (outdoors), however, long walks-rain or shine-are a shared-and meticulously planned activity.

More frequent family visits: I spend more time with family members now than pre-COVID (why didn’t I do this before COVID). I’ve organized social distant walks and pickleball games with my sisters. My daughter, a University of Oregon senior, resides in Eugene, however, classes are remote so home visits are more often and longer (I can get use to this).

There were more good things in 2020, but enough about me. I hope my partial list of good things trigger positive reflections of 2020 for you. Below, is a compilation of global good things in the 2020 news.

The most unforgettable things that happened in 2020

An excerpt from ‘20 really good things that happened in 2020’

  • Women leaders got the job done. The year that the U.S. elected its first female vice president was also a shining moment for women leaders worldwide. Jacinda Arden, prime minister of New Zealand, led a nationwide effort to eradicate the virus and become the world's most COVID-resilient country; she won reelection by a landslide. Second-place Taiwan also has a female president, Tsai Ing-wen. Angela Merkel in Germany and Sanna Marin in Finland also won praise for their early responses.

  • We started a work-from-home revolution. A lot of genies were let out of bottles this year; one of the largest was the number of people who discovered they really don't need to be in the office to be productive. An estimated 3.4 percent of the U.S. workforce was allowed to work at home pre-pandemic, a number that had barely budged from 2.9 percent in 2015. Now, says one Stanford economist, it’s 42 percent. Despite what some office-loving managers might have expected, the sky did not fall. Indeed, without the commute getting in the way, people appear to be spending more time on their jobs, not less.

The post-pandemic implications are huge. Many companies have realized they

didn't need all that expensive office space. Many employees have realized they

can work from anywhere; many families are spending this holiday season

figuring out where "anywhere" is. How it all shakes out in 2021 is anyone's guess,

but a number of tech firms like Twitter have already announced their

employees have the option to work from home forever. It seems unlikely that

the number of work-from-homers will ever drop into single-digit percentages


  • We sued Facebook and Google. Even as it embraced the internet life, the U.S. took steps to punish its top companies for anti-competitive practices. The FTC and 48 states launched a suit against Facebook for using its monopoly power to snuff out its competition, shortly after the DOJ and 11 states sued Google for the same thing.

Both suits had strong bipartisan support, which remains amazing at a time

when the country can agree on little else. The fact that Facebook and Google

emerged from a round of congressional hearings as the worst offenders, and

that Apple, Amazon, and Twitter emerged largely unscathed, shows that

authorities have learned a key lesson from those hearings: Not all big tech

  • Carbon emissions fell by the largest amount ever recorded. All of these things can be true at once: A deadly pandemic is hardly the best way to cut humanity's dangerous climate change-causing output of CO2; emissions fell by a record seven percent in 2020; they are very likely to rebound in 2021 and beyond if we don't take further action.

Luckily, there are signs that countries around the world are putting this

emissions pause to good use. China, Japan and South Korea all committed

themselves this year to net zero emissions by mid-century. In the U.S., Joe Biden

was elected while promising a $2 trillion climate plan, a Green New Deal by any

other name. The EU and the UK, locked in Brexit drama, seem to be competing

for the greatest emissions reductions by 2030 (pledging 55 percent and 67

percent respectively). Corporations are on the same carbon reduction

bandwagon, with Apple going net zero by 2030 and Wal-Mart following suit in


  • More cities banished more cars. As traffic dropped everywhere, so did pollution. Many of us decided we actually liked the clear skies and increased walkability of cities that resulted. The mayor of Paris — another smart female leader — cruised to reelection by promising to eliminate half of all on-street parking spots and prioritize cyclists. Next up: turning major avenues into pedestrian zones and creating pedestrian "children streets" around schools. Barcelona just announced similar plans. Melbourne, Detroit, Portland: They're all on board with the Paris-style plan for "15-minute cities" where that's how long it takes to reach all the basic stuff you need on foot, on bike or via transit.

  • We made the oceans cleaner. You probably didn't notice given everything else going on in December, but 14 nations that own 40 percent of the world's coastline just banded together to create the world's biggest ocean sustainability initiative. In other words, an area of ocean the size of Africa will now be focused on restoring fish populations and reefs while eliminating plastic.

That's just part of an impressive patchwork of new ocean rules and sanctuaries

created this year, one of them three times larger than the UK. Such protections

are working: The UN recently announced that the amount of large fish in the

formerly-overfished Mediterranean and Black Sea has doubled in the last two


  • Black Lives Matter became the biggest mass movement in history. The protests may have died down since the summer, but the widespread rage at racist policing remains. It may well return to the streets soon, when four former Minneapolis officers are actually put on trial for the death of George Floyd. (Jury selection is just getting started.)

In the meantime, we can take heart from the sheer size of the mass movement

it sparked, which was estimated as the largest in U.S. history — even in the

middle of a pandemic. We can be proud of the fact that they were responsible,

masked, non-superspreader events. And though progress is painfully slow, the

movement has had a huge impact already. Police funding was slashed in

efforts came through ballot measures in November, the most successful of

which which flipped the script from the hot-button phrase "defund the police"

to "invest in other services."

An excerpt from ‘Good news in 2020? Yes, it's true! Here are 100 positive things that happened this year’

USA Today

10 Good Things That Happened In 2020

1. Scientists discovered Coronavirus vaccines

The disease was unprecedented, but scientists were able to find a vaccine which leaves us hopeful for 2021.

2. Family-owned Drive In Movie Theaters saw a comeback

3. A record number of Americans turned out to vote in the 2020 election

4. America made history by electing the first female vice-president, first Black vice- resident and first Asian American vice-president: Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

5. Carbon dioxide emissions declined

6. Scotland became the first country to offer free period products for all

7. We brushed up on more basic skills

Even if it was out of boredom, many people learned new skills in quarantine.

8. Pet adoptions and foster homes were way up this year

9. Africa is now free of Polio

10. For the first time in a very long time the Northern Lights were seen as far down as central Wyoming

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