This week marks the 5th Anniversary of my blog. Which, further to my reflective video posting last week on Nomadic Thoughts’ 30th anniversary, gives me another opportunity to look back. As in my previous blog anniversaries (4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st), I would like to focus on my ‘Top 10 Positive News Stories’ over the past twelve months, in this case since February 2016.
Here are some hugely encouraging developments that may have gone relatively unnoticed, due to the many reports of the high levels of strife around the world – i.e. barbarism of Aleppo, Zika virus, Russian hackers, Brexit turmoil, global terrorism, far-right politics and Donald Trump.
My ‘Top 10 Positive News Stories’ over the past twelve months;
1. International tourism promoting more peace and friendship:
UNWTO confirms 4.4% rise in real tourism growth. Tourism accounts for US$1,260bn, ranking third (behind fuels and chemicals) in the world’s export category. This is extremely significant to many developing countries where tourism remains the highest exporter, continuing to benefit huge numbers of otherwise economically disengaged local stakeholders who are set to benefit as emerging destination markets target a 57% global shareholding by 2030.
2. Tiger, panda, mountain gorilla, humpback whale and manatee numbers growing:
Wild tiger numbers rise for the first time in a century, with approximately 3,890 – up from 3,200 in 2010. Pandas are up 16.8% in past decade, and are removed from the endangered species list, along with humpback whales. In addition mountain gorilla and manatee numbers are increasing.
3. Paris Climate Change Agreement:
Environmental excitement levels are boosted as the Paris Climate Change Agreement is finally endorsed. Bringing an agreement between 55 countries – contributing 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2°.
4. Child mortality rate continues to fall:
UNICEF announces that global child deaths have dropped by over 50% since 1990.
Positive, yet short of future targets – with an estimated 5.9 million children (2015) under the age of five still dying at a rate of 1 every 11 minutes.
5. UK Government’s 5p plastic bag policy:
This policy results in 6 billion fewer shopping bags, comparable to the weight of 300,000 sea turtles, 3 million pelicans or 300 blue whales. Terrific news for the 31 marine mammal and 100 sea bird species that ingest some of the 8 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans. Furthermore the UK Government will ban plastic mircobeads this year.
6. Solar powered Solar Impulse 2 plane flies 42,439km around the world
Proving that the future travel can be renewable.
7. India plants 50 million trees (in 24 hours)
Supreme environment day of action, as 800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh plant 50 million trees across public land, roads and railways. World Earth Day also sees India agree to spend US$6bn on reforesting 12% of its land – bringing total forest coverage up to 29% of the country’s territory by 2030.
8. 500 elephants relocated to safer and larger homes
Africa Parks counteract the triple effect of poaching, human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss with the hugely ambitious project of moving 500 elephants from Malawi’s Liwaonde and Majete to Nkhotakota. Thereby demonstrating the essential need to up the ante in taking measures to protect a species facing extinction.
9. Disease control
UNWHO announce that measles has been eradicated in all the Americas; Ebola is officially cleared from West Africa; Malaria global deaths down by 60%; 2016 also sees the biggest annual decline in colon cancer, dementia and heart disease.
10. NASA’s space probe Juno
Juno set off from earth when I first started blogging five years ago, and has now reached Jupiter’s orbit. A 1.8 million mile journey that is now concentrating on exploring the origins of the solar system’s largest planet.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank any and all who have taken the time to read my postings. My main mission remains – to encourage you to travel more. I plan to continue posting my thoughts, observations and comments on today’s travel opportunities.
Who knows what the next 12 months will bring?
Maybe the USA will follow Brazil and South Korea’s 2016 example of impeaching their presidents? At the very least we can hope that the 11 million Syrians, presently on the run, will find the appropriate humanitarian assistance.
Bearing in mind 5000/1 Leicester City won the 2016 English Premier League – what odds World Peace in 2017? Certainly the more people travelling the globe in a spirit of peace and friendship the better.