30 Actual Good Things That Happened in 2016

Oh, 2016. It hasn’t exactly been great all round has it. I work across two industries that have sometimes made 2016 difficult to cope with; ethical living and art/performance that engages with social justice. Honestly, it’s been tiring sometimes. But in the spirit of 2016’s end I wanted to highlight some actual good things that happened this year to show that, as  the great Albus Dumbledore puts it ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’

So here are some 30 good things that happened, I hope we can build upon them in 2017:

– Las Vegas’ city government reached their clean energy goal, with all municipal facilities now running on renewable energy
There was a bit of confusion around this one. The entire city of Las Vegas isn’t running off clean energy, however it’s government is, and this is still a step in the right direction. Despite the appointment of climate change deniers into government, at a local level major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Phoenix are pushing forward with clean energy goals independent of the coming administration, and cities stepping up and taking responsibility at a manageable level is the example and action we need for the coming years.

– The BAFTAs updated their diversity policy, meaning that films that are not deemed diverse enough can’t be up to win awards
After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy earlier this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards announced real steps to address issues of representation and lack of diversity in popular media. Beginning in 2019, films will no longer be eligible for two big awards if they don’t meet criteria to increase diversity in “onscreen characters and themes, senior roles and crew, industry training and career progression, and audience access and appeal to under-represented audiences” meaning that it’s not just about having more diverse actors, but also more diversity in those making film and TV. It’s a great start to work with, and it shows that people are paying attention.

– Standing Rock protests achieved change. While the fight is far from over, this is a sign that sustained collective action, even when difficult, can work.

IKEA started selling solar panels in the UK

– Sweden ran out of recycling and started recycling other countries rubbish
I really hope other countries will learn from this one.

– Black Lives Matter went global
‘global connections continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for a movement that is gearing up for its biggest fight yet. “Watching tactics, language and a shared vision for Black Lives being shared globally is beautiful,” Thenjiwe McHarris, an organizer with the Movement for Black Lives, told BuzzFeed News. “It reminds me in the most difficult moments that we will win.”’

Fantastic Beasts gave us the sensitive male hero we all need
‘Newt Scamander takes every trope we know about the Male Hero — the toxic tropes that we have grown up with, that are so internalized in traditional narratives that we don’t even blink at them anymore — and flips them on their head.’

The US elected a former Somalian refugee into office

And several women of colour were voted into the senate

Senator Elizabeth Warren continued being a badass

So did Mhairi Black
If you don’t know who she is, Mhairi is the youngest member of the UK House of Commons at just 22. She was elected at age 20, and she is incredible

And Trevor Noah

Simone Biles graced us all with her existence
‘I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles’

As did the other Olympians
‘From #BlackExcellence to hijabi volleyball players, this Olympics was all about breaking barriers.’

– And the Paralympians (see here and here)

A Syrian refugee, who saved 20 people by pushing their sinking boat for 3 hours in the Aegean sea, competed in the Olympics are part of a refugee team of 10

– The Smog Free Project launched, turning air pollution into diamonds

Sadiq Khan, a muslim, man of colour from a low income, immigrant background was elected Mayor of London

New Zealand granted a national park legal personhood
‘A national park in New Zealand has been granted legal personhood, meaning nobody owns it. The park has the same rights and powers as a citizen. The ruling could set a new precedent for land rights and conservation around the world.’

ByFusion invented a way to recycle old plastic into building materials for houses

France banned plastic cutlery and plates completely

San Francisco banned a whole load of polystyrene products

San Diego banned single use plastic bags

And the 2015 introduction of a plastic bag charge in the UK saw usage drop drastically in 2016

Emma Watson, Margot Robbie and Lupita Nyong’o wore dresses made from recycled plastic at the Met Gala

BP’s sponsorship of Tate ended

Veggie Pret happened and Pret released a Vegan Christmas sandwich

Baileys released a vegan version made with almond milk

Planet Earth 2 Happened
Iguana vs snakes was the most gripping thing I watched all year

– Ethical Unicorn was born!
When I started this website, I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought, I just kind of did it. To have so many of you join this little corner of the internet and get on board, well that has just been lovely. I’m not by any means perfect, but I’m trying, and I hope that effort can continue to help or inspire you in some way in 2017. Thanks for everything.

Until 2017, stay magic y’all.

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