Letters from the dorm: 2016 wasn’t all doom and gloom ... really!

By Michele Chan, Wycombe Abbey School, UK
By Michele Chan, Wycombe Abbey School, UK |

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I think we can all agree that 2016 was a pretty depressing year on a global scale. Mass shootings and terrorist attacks dominated the headlines, and big political events such as Brexit and the US presidential election caused huge divides and conflicts across the world.

In addition, we lost beloved figures, such as Muhammad Ali, Prince, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and David Bowie, just to name a few.

However, in the spirit of the New Year, instead of dwelling on the horrible tragedies of 2016, I’ve decided to reflect on the good things that happened in the past 12 months.

In the medical field, Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola. The last confirmed patient in the country tested negative of this deadly disease, and there are no known cases of Ebola left in West Africa.

Sri Lanka successfully reached its goal of completely ending malaria. Health workers went across the country to treat infected patients and catch mosquitoes, sometimes even offering themselves as bait. Their hard work and dedication paid off, as it was announced on September 5 that Sri Lanka was malaria-free.

Plus, thanks to 2014’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than £88 million (HK$850 million) for ALS research, scientists have now found the gene variant associated with this motor-neurone disease, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment.

In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years – the Global Hunger Index showed that the level of hunger has fallen by 29 per cent in developing countries.

In terms of wildlife, SeaWorld agreed to stop breeding captive orcas,

and announced that its newest park in Abu Dhabi would be orca-free. And manatees, humpback whales, and giant pandas were all removed from the endangered species list.

So even though there were many horrible events in 2016, we should focus and build on the positive things in this coming year.

Let’s continue to take part in global initiatives, because as we can see from the Ice Bucket Challenge, no matter how insignificant our contributions may seem, they can make a remarkable difference upon

our world.

And there’s one thing that I guarantee will be amazing in 2017: Sherlock, season 4.