The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Year


Maya Radcliffe (12th), Reporter

It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 essentially sucked. Big time. The list of celebrity deaths by the year’s end is extensive, including beloved figures Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, Prince, and David Bowie. Levels of terrorism and violence have escalated worldwide, leading to the displacement of millions of refugees. The United States experienced perhaps the most controversial presidential election in its history, the result of which has sparked protests and riots nationwide.

Amid this, frankly, crappy year, it is hard to believe that any good came out of 2016, especially since good events are rarely considered newsworthy. But we have to remember the small miracles- people married their sweethearts, babies were born, people beat cancer, children received gifts because of Operation Christmas Child, and Hamilton exists!

The world is waking up and realizing that we are pushing our environment too far, and we have a responsibility to protect it. In one day, eight-hundred thousand volunteers in India planted nearly fifty million trees, fifty million! The Paris Agreement, designed in 2015 in which one-hundred and ninety-five countries agreed to combat climate change, was put into force on November 4, 2016, when one-hundred and twenty-two of the signatories ratified it.

After one-hundred years of population decline, tiger numbers are increasing, and the Giant Panda is no longer considered an endangered species. The Chinese government made the announcement that by the end of 2017, the ivory trade would be officially banned in its country, an act that will drastically reduce the poaching of African elephants and allow the population to stabilize.

Harriet Tubman is set to replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the twenty dollar bill, suffragettes such as Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, and

Susan B. Anthony will appear on the back of the ten dollar bill, and Martin Luther King Jr. will replace the Lincoln Memorial on the five dollar bill.

For United States’ pop culture, the long awaited moment finally arrived, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first ever (and well-deserved) Oscar for his performance in The Revenant! The United States also experienced a very successful Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro- with a total of one-hundred and twenty-one medals, the USA Women’s Gymnastics team won gold, Michael Phelps ended his swimming career as the most decorated Olympian, with twenty-eight medals, and nineteen-year-old Katie Ledecky won five gold medals. And let’s not forget, the Cubs won the World Series!

Fifty years of war in Colombia finally came to an end. US graduation rate reaches its highest point, at eighty-three percent. Six-hundred-thousand square miles of ocean have been established as the world’s largest marine zone in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. There are thousands of stories of good things that happened in 2016 that we will never read or know about, but that does not make them any less real.

A new year always brings a new hope, in which we can move on from the misfortunes of the previous three-hundred and sixty-five days. Yet, we can not expect that a simple ball drop and the strike of midnight can wipe clean the slate with no effort on our part to make this year better than the last. The world itself does not acknowledge that a bad year has ended, and 2017 will inevitably hold painful events, it is our responsibility make this year, and ones following, better.