ePhoto: January 2019

Population Media Center's focus on social and environmental justice exposes daunting realities, but today we look at some positive news stories from 2018. Happy new year!

These encouraging news stories published in 2018 build our resolve to work harder than ever in 2019 to make the list of positive stories much, much longer.

  • Demand for ivory dropped by almost half because of China’s ivory ban, reducing elephant poaching in places like Kenya.
  • As of the end of 2018, at least 32 countries around the world have now banned plastic bags — and nearly half of those countries are in Africa.
  • Nepal’s population of wild tigers has nearly doubled in the last nine years.
  • Maternal deaths in India declined by 22% in the past five years. On average, this means 30 new mothers are being saved every day.
  • The world’s smallest fox, found in California, was removed from the Endangered Species List.
  • Universal eye care for all citizens became a reality in Rwanda. The first low income country to provide universal eye care, they trained 3,000 nurses in over 500 clinics.
  • Niger has planted 200 million new trees in the past three decades.
  • Wild jaguars in Mexico, the largest feline in the Americas, grew by 20% in the past eight years and 14 Latin American countries signed on to a regional conservation program for the jaguars through 2030.
  • Mountain gorillas in the forests of central Africa, one of the world’s most endangered species, increased by 25% since 2010 to a count of more than 1,000.
  • In 2018, New York and Virginia became the first two U.S. states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.
  • In the last two decades, female genital mutilation has fallen from 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.
  • Bangladesh revealed that it reduced its child mortality rate by 78% since 1990, the largest reduction by any country in the world.
  • California unveiled the most ambitious climate target of all time, with a commitment to making the world’s fifth biggest economy carbon neutral by 2045.


See list and links to 99 stories on Medium’s “99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2018.”

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Fireworks and "happy new year"

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