What’s So Good About 2021?

Published: December 21, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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Depressed about the last 12 months of well, . . . you fill in the blank.

The magazine, Wired, reported a list of “21 Things That Made the World a Better Place in 2021.” Here are a few.

More Than 8.47 Billion Covid-19 Vaccinations Were Administered Globally

“In December 2020, the UK administered the first non-trial Covid-19 vaccine in the world to a 90-year-old woman in a fetching leopard-print scarf. A year later, almost 9 billion Covid jabs have been put in arms around the world—and the number is climbing literally every second. It’s the largest mass vaccination campaign in history! If you were lucky, you got a cool sticker after your shot! The speed, intensity, and efficiency of the life-saving vaccine rollout is a phenomenon that’s powerful to behold, and it is estimated that we’re just three months away from 75 percent of the global population having had their first dose. Read more at Bloomberg.”

While there’s much more work to do on the vaccination front, particularly with the arrival of the Omicron variant, it’s nice to know that progress is being made.

Scientists Revealed That Cheese Isn’t Bad for You (Really!)

“In February, when all memories of seasonal goodwill and cheer had faded away and we were left with nothing but the cold, mocking whispers of the winter wind, scientists gave us a reason to keep going. Speaking out against unfounded rumors that cheese is an evil, murderous entity, one scientist told WIRED: “There’s almost no evidence that cheese causes weight gain—and in fact, there’s evidence that it’s neutral at worst.” This stigma-shattering analysis helped cheese to rebuild its reputation globally—and that’s grate! Read more at WIRED.”

I LOVE cheese (my local cheese shop will testify to that). My favorites: Parmigiano- Reggiano, fresh mozzarella, and Pecorino Tartufo.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City Removed the Sackler Name from Its Galleries –

“While it is unfortunately not possible to erase America’s opioid crisis overnight, leading galleries are at least helping to erase the name of the family that helped precipitate it. In recent years, Purdue Pharma founders the Sackler family have faced increased scrutiny for their company’s role in the opioid epidemic, and prominent museums who’ve accepted donations from the Sacklers are now distancing themselves from the family. Goodbye and good riddance! Read more at The New Yorker.”

Good news. But do the Sacklers still get a tax break?

United Flew the First Passenger Aircraft With 100-Percent Sustainable Fuel

“In December, 100 passengers flying from Chicago to Washington, DC, were the first in the world to do so with one engine running on 100-percent non-petroleum-based sustainable fuel made from sugar water and corn (delicious!). The fuel is said to burn up to 75 percent cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, and while there is some debate about greenwashing surrounding the event, it was nonetheless a vital moment for the aviation industry. Read more at Business Insider.”

Airlines have been suffering since the pandemic and are likely to suffer more in the coming year. However, the use of sustainable fuel by such a large business sector is an important step in reducing climate change.

Renewable Energy Had a Record Year

“When it comes to the climate crisis, the world needs any bit of good news it can get. And in December, the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that 2021 was renewable energy’s biggest year ever, with roughly 290 GW of renewable energy generation installed globally—aka loads of lovely wind turbines and solar panels—despite the pandemic and the rising cost of raw materials. Read more at The Guardian.”

More positive steps to reduce the effects of climate change.

But here’s a piece of good news that remains completely under reported.

With a steady drumbeat of doom on Twitter (retweets only amplify it), it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a lack of trust and brotherhood in the world. However, here’s something to follow on Twitter that is helpful.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama has an account on the social media giant that offers messages of hope in the midst of all the doom-sayers.

“The impulse to try to solve problems by use of force is out of date and old-fashioned. Since we are now all so interdependent, the appropriate solution is to engage in dialogue—it’s something to which we can all contribute.” – December 17.

“If the education system fostered inner peace, compassion and non-violence, or the idea of doing no harm, students would learn how to achieve peace of mind. This is what is required if we are to fulfill the goal of a genuinely peaceful and demilitarized world.” – December 13

“If we focus too much on ourselves, we’ll not be happy, whereas to concern ourselves with the well-being of others is the gateway to great joy. If we’re really serious about happiness, we need to open our hearts and focus on others as well as ourselves.” December 10.

“Cultivating compassion is not a religious practice focused on ensuring we go to heaven or a good future life. It’s about living a good day-to-day life here and now. It’s about being a happy person. Warm-heartedness is a fundamental good human quality.” – December 6

If the Dalai Lama can promote compassion, warm-heartedness and positive dialog in the middle of a deadly virus, dysfunction and stress, maybe we can all give a little more respect to each other this Holiday season and new year.


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