Year in review: what 2018 has offered so far

It can be easy to be dragged down by negative news when that’s the grand majority of what we see in the media. And it’s true — from devastating natural disasters to mass shootings, divisive politics to wars, the 2017-2018 school year has seen a lot of sadness and heartbreak. However, it’s important to remember to take the bad with the good, especially when the current state of the world seems troubling. Below are five of the inspiring and positive things that happened this year.

The #MeToo movement

Beginning in October 2017 after sexual misconduct allegations against powerful Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein went public and allegations against many other famous figures followed suit, people all over the world — men and women, famous and non-famous — began to share their own stories on social media using the hashtag MeToo. The result is a powerful movement that has increased discussion about sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and in daily life, a major improvement that has been a long time coming.

Youth activism

Young people are the future, and they certainly stepped up this year. As a result of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, countless rallies, school walkouts and demonstrations across America occurred against gun violence, largely student-led. Gun violence isn’t the only topic that has been touched on  — women’s rights, LGBT rights, environmentalism and racial rights have all seen support from youth. It’s proof that there are always those who will speak out for what they believe in, and the fact that so many young people are doing so indicates a bright future.

Acts of humanity

The many natural disasters that hit the world this year were undoubtedly devastating and had heartbreaking effects, but they were proof that there are many good people in the world. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, heroes braved the flooded streets of Houston in boats and Jet Skis to rescue people and pets trapped by the rising water levels, and an estimated 1,000-plus people were saved by three truck drivers. In California amidst blazing wildfires, a man went viral for risking his life to save a rabbit from the flames and those who lost their homes or family members received overwhelming amounts of money and supplies from strangers all around the country. It just goes to show that humanity and compassion are real, and they prevail.

Gains for equality

It may not seem like it, but huge steps towards equality were made. The superhero movies Wonder Woman (female-led) and Black Panther (a predominantly black cast) were smash successes, for audiences and critics alike. The biracial, divorced American actress Meghan Markle made history and received immense support for her relationship and subsequent marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry. In a historically traditional institution, her acceptance by both the royal family and the world signals growing tolerance. Women in Saudi Arabia will finally be allowed to drive beginning in June of 2018, and Australia became the 25th country to vote in favor of and achieve marriage equality.

Scientific breakthroughs

It’s a comforting thought to know that scientific breakthroughs are always being created in hopes of bettering the world. According to new research out of MIT, scientists think they’re closer to reversing memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. Antibiotic resistance, one of the most threatening factors associated with health on a global scale, is nearing eradication, and scientists are getting closer to converting seawater into drinking water. With every year comes more exciting scientific news that could potentially have massive benefits on the world’s population.