Bethany Hearn Looks Back At A Positive Year Of Unexpected Human Achievements.
2018 was a landmark year, both politically and socially. Now we are well into 2019, and we are being constantly bombarded with negative news stories about natural tragedies and parliamentary crises, we thought it was time to look at some of the human achievements of the past year. Below we have listed 50 great statistics that emerged from 2018, and it really is impressive how much we achieved. A positive world starts with a positive mind, by Bethany Hearn.
1. 44%– the number of new HIV infections in South Africa has dropped by 44% since the last major study in 2012. The significant decline in the country, which has the worlds largest population of people living with HIV, confounded expectations. It emerged from a survey by South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council.
2. $228 bn– is now invested in ‘impact’ globally – double the previous year – according to the Global Impact Investing Network. The estimated figure, which is equivalent to 174bn pounds, represents investments made into companies, funds and organisations that intend to make a positive social and environmental impact alongside generating a financial return.
3. 75%- of Americans believe that Immigration is good for the country, shows a poll by US organisation Gallup. Only 29% of the 1,500 people interviewed said they believed that immigration should be reduced, the lowest proportion to hold this view since 1965.
4. 5.2 million – Scotland will offer free sanitary products to all students in a scheme to try to banish ‘period poverty’. The 5.2 million world-first project will give Scotland’s 395,000 girls and women at schools, colleges and universities access to free sanitary products. One in four struggle to afford them, suggest research by Young Scot.
5. 1m- there are now more than 1 million electric cars in Europe, figures released in August show. The milestone was reached – a year after China did the same – after sales soared by more than 40% between Jan and June 2018. The US is expected to reach the landmark number later this year.
6. 1/2– of the cheapest deals on the UK energy market are now green tariffs, a study by uSwitch has found. 5 of the top 10 cheapest tariffs are green deals offered by challengers to the ‘big 6’ found the switching service. Many consumers wrongly believe that renewable energy deals are more expensive, the research showed.
7. 10– years after the site was first added, Unesco has removed the Belize Barrier Reef from its list of threatened world heritage sites. “Visionary” steps have been taken to protect the reef, which is home to hundreds of varieties of sharks, tropical fish and sea turtles. The Belize government banned oil exploration there.
8. 17,909-sq miles is the size of the new reserve planned to help safeguard the migrations of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. Spain has pledged to create the reserve between the Balearic Islands and the mainland: an important migration path for cetaceans. Searching for fossil fuels in the area will be prohibited.
9. 1st– Seattle has become the first major US city to ban plastic straws and utensils at restaurants, shops, food trucks and ‘institutional cafeterias’. Since July, businesses that flout the new rules have face a $250 (191 pounds) fine, but public officials say they are focusing on helping outlets come into compliance, rather than enforcement.
10. 197-countries- all of those that signed up to the Paris climate agreement- are now taking action on climate change. A study published by the London School of Economics in April shows that all nations that signed ir ratified the Paris deal now have at least one national law or policy in place to try to tackle climate change.
11. 620k– caged hens have been rehired by the British Hen Welfare Trust since it was established in 2005. Th Devon-based charity, which is supported by more than 500 volunteers, finds ‘retired homes’ for hens that are destined for slaughter, Some 16m hens are kept in ‘cologne cafes’ in the UK, the trust estimates.
12. 70% – of he worlds population is reportedly reducing meat consumption or leaving meat pff the table altogether. Milliennials are driving a worldwide shift away from meat, according to a report released in March by analytics company GlobalData. Walmart, the world largest retailer, is urging suppliers to offer more plant-based products.
13. 1m– residents are having their sewage waste transformed into gas that can heat peoples homes, in a new project by Bristol Energy. The company has teamed up with a local water firm to bring people household gas made from oo. An average households weekly flushes are enough too ok a Sunday fry-up they say.
14. 1st- the Finnish city go Lahti is expected to become he first in the world to urge residents to adopt personal carbon trading. The EU-funded CitiCap scheme will consist of a mobile app that will automatically collect data on the users travel. Environmentally sound choices will lead to rewards, from gift certificates to transport tickets.
15. 2.3m– solar panels now stretch across a desert in Mexico, forming the largest solar park in Latin America. The Villanueva plant in the arid northern state of Coahuila is part of Mexicos push to generate 43% of its electricity from clean sources by 2024. It could power more than a million homes.
16. 722k– people eat week are being helped to eat by the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, FreeShare, new figures show. The food, which would otherwise be wasted, represents a 60% increase on the previous year.
17. 80-years after being hunted to extinction in the wild, a herd of wild European bison has been successfully reintroduced to the Netherlands. The largest land-dwelling animal in Europe was wiped out on the continent in 1927. Now, a study of 22 bison living in the Zuid-Kennermerland National park is giving cause for hope.
18. 7%-increase in sales of organic produce in the UK from 2015 to 2016. The UK organic market is now worth 2.09bn after 5 consecutive years of growth. Some 39% of shoppers buy organic food each week.
19. 24m– customers are held collectively by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). The GABV has 36 members across the world that are focused on using money to deliver social good, not simply to make money. GABV members collectively have 42,000 employees, and hold up to $110bn (89bn pounds) ‘under management).
20. 1st– American person to have ‘intersex’ on her birth certificate. Sara Kelly Keenan is intersex- biologically between male and female. She applied to change the gender on her birth certificate and was successful in December. The ruling could spell progress for this marginalised group, say campaigners.
21. 4m– solar panels at the worlds largest solar far. The Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China now has the capacity to produce 850MW of power – enough to supply up to 200,000 households. The 27sq km solar farm cost about 6bn yuan (721.3m pounds) to build.
22. 2– branches of the Danish supermarket Wefood that sells expired food. Selling expired food is legal in Denmark, as long as it is clearly advertised and not dangerous to consumers. Products are donated by producers and import and export companies, and are collected by volunteers. All profits go to charity.
23. 4.2% –of new vehicle registrations in the UK were for alternative fuel vehicles. In January, the number of alternative fuel vehicles being registered, mainly electric cars, increased by a fifth to reach this record share of new vehicle registrations in the UK. The previous high was 3.6% in November 2016.
24. 163– new species discovered in the biodiverse Greater Mekong region of south-east Asia. Scientists announced in December that the list of new species includes a ‘Klingon’ newt, so called due to its distinctive skull shape, and a ‘Ziggy Stardust’, rainbow snake.
25. 9/01/18-the date when a plastic microbes came into force in the UK. The manufacturing ban means that the tiny beads, which harm marine life, can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK. A ban on sales will follow in July.
26. 1st– an NHS hospital in Greater Manchester has become England's first to ban all sugary food and drinks.
27. $13m– value of a legal defence fund for victims of sexual harassment, which has been launched by Hollywood actors, agents and writers. The cash pot, springing from the MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, is deigned to help women in less privileged professions protect themselves from sexual misconduct,
28. 12/01/18- the date on which women in Saudi Arabia were allowed in professional football games for the first time.
29. 70%- drop in the rate of annual respiratory deaths in China since 1990. The reduction is thought to be due to rising incomes, cleaner cooking fuels and better healthcare.
30. 60%-deforestation in Indonesia by 60%, as a result of a ban on clearing peatlands, new educational campaigns and better law enforcement.
31. 200m– Niger revealed that it has planted 200 million new trees in three decades, the largest positive transformation of the environment in African history.
32. 22%- India registered a 22% decline in maternal deaths since 2013. That means on average, 30 more new mothers are now being saved every day compared to 5 years ago.
33. 57.5% to 14.1%– new research revealed that in the last two decades, female genital mutilation has fallen 57.7% to 14.1% in North Africa, from 73.6% to 25.4% in west Africa, and from 71.4% to 8% in east Africa.
34. 10 days– New Zealand became the second country in the world to pass legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave.
35. 38%– global suicide rates have dropped by 38% since 1994, saving 4 million lives.
36. 271 million– the UNDP released a new report showing that 271 million people in India have moved out of poverty since 2005, nearly halving the country’s poverty rate in one decade.
37. 120 million– the International Energy Agency said that in the last year, 120 million people gained access to electricity. That mens that for the first time since electrical service was started (1882), less than a billion of the world’s population are left in darkness.
38. 80%– after a decade long effort, Herat, Afghanistans deadliest province for landmines, was declared free of explosive devices. Nearly 80% of the country is now mine free.
39. 80%– following the collapse of ISIS, civilian deaths in Iraq decreased dramatically. 80% fewer Iraqis were killed in the first five months of 2018 compared to last year.
40. 20 years– Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace treaty, signalling the end of a 20 year war, and reuniting thousands of families.
41. 5 million– Adidas expects to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastics this year, and committed to using only recycled plastics in its products by 2024.
42. 250– 250 0f the worlds major brands, including Coca Cola, Kellogs and Nestle,
agreed to make sure that 100% of their plastic packaging will be reused, recycled or composted by 2025.
43. 70%– The European Parliament passed a full ban on single-use plastics, estimated to make up over 70% of marine litter. It will come into effect in 2021.
44. 32– as of the end of 2018, at least 32 countries around the world now have plastic bag bans in place- and nearly half are in Africa.
45. 66%– china said it had seen a 66% reduction in plastic bag usage since the rollout of its 2008 ban, and that it has avoided the use of an estimated 40 billion bags.
46. 9billion– four years after imposing a 5p levy, the UK said it had used 9billion fewer plastic bags, and the number being found n the seabed has plummeted.
47. 32,000– the Kofan people of Sinangoe, in the Ecudorian Amazon, won a landmark legal battle to protect the headwaters of the Aguarico River, nullifying 52 mining concessions and freeing up more than 32,000 hectares of primary rainforest.
48. 90%– following China’s ban on ivory last year, 90% of Chinese support it, ivory demand has dropped by almost half, and poaching rates are falling in places like Kenya.
49. $10 billion– $10 billion was committed in Bali this year for the protection of 14 million square kilometres of the worlds oceans.
50. 0 - London fashion week ditches fur with a zero tolerance for any fur on the cat walk.