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2019. You've been... interesting.


It's become somewhat of a tradition at the end of the year: we round up the past 12 months and focus on the tragedies – the human regression, the banality, the absurdity and often times the sheer chaos that this year has brought to us all. Over the past few years, we have also experienced exceptional disappointment toward the end of the year – hello 2016 presidential elections and the British general elections we just experienced. So it doesn't come as a surprise that as the end of year nears, the memes begin to flood. "The worst year ever", "me in January 2019 vs. me in December", and so on.

But as once accurately written by the New Yorker's Jia Tolentino, "It’s in the nature of years to feel exhausting in retrospect. The world is punishing; we have short collective memories and a cognitive bias that makes us recall bad events more vividly than good ones." But we cannot forget: there have been some good ones.

Despite all the bad, and the pain, and the injustice and the seeming decline of our ability to see more of our commonalities than differences, there is good in the world. There really is.

Welcome back to FairPlanet's final roundup of 2019. It's been a heck of a 365 a half days. Thank you for being here with us. For supporting our cause, signing the petitions we highlighted. Thank you for reading and sharing and paying attention in a world that is fighting to distract us.

See you in the new decade.

Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

It wasn't all bad this year. We promise.

Yes we know 2019 was tough. Much like all the years before it, this year has been no exception, and we all love to hate on the year that's been when it comes to the final countdown to the year ahead. But 2019 hasn't been all bad. Don't believe us? Here are some of the incredible achievements and histories made this year.

• Indonesia raised the minimum age for brides in the fight to end child marriages.

• As the first country in Asia, Taiwan passes a bill that sees the legislation of same-sex marriage.

• Botswana ruled to decriminalize same-sex relations.

• Women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to travel without a male guardian.

• Following a landslide referendum win, Northern Ireland finally legalised same-sex marriage.

• Canada passed a bill banning whale and dolphin captivity.

• Scientists discovered 71 new species.

• Following years of dispute, The World Health Organization (WHO) officially stopped classifying transgender people as mentally ill.

• Malaria was eliminated from Algeria and Argentina.

• Two men may have been cured of HIV.

The bad

It has not all been good.

OK, so we have been optimistic before. And we will always be. But indeed 2019 has not all been progress and breakthrough. There has been plenty of regression, too. Here are some of the major tragedies the world has experienced over the past 12 months. Climate change, terror and hate crimes, discrimination and injustice as well as disease are the major factors in these events.

• The Amazon has been on fire for months due to excessive human destruction of the jungle and rising temperatures.

• Sri Lanka church shooting which killed 253 people, the worst attack in the country in 10 years.

• The 2019 Kaduna State Massacre, where 141 people were killed in the Kajuru LGA of the Nigerian state of Kaduna hours before the Nigerian general election.

• Four years of civil war and the resulting food crisis in Yemen has created a massive humanitarian emergency. More than 22 million people — three-quarters of the country’s population — need humanitarian assistance.

• The sentencing of five people to death in Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Kashoggi will be further concealing the truth.

• The Notre Damn set on fire, bringing international attention and raising millions for its restoration.

• Cyclone Idai hits South-East Africa and kills 1,300, affecting some 3 million others.

• The Christchurch, New Zealand, Mosque shootings, killing 51 people and sending shockwaves across the world.

• The Syrian crisis continues, with some 6.2 million people displaced within the country and 5.7 refugees outside the country. The death toll is estimated to vary between 371,222 and more than 570,000.

• At least 304 people were killed and thousands more injured during anti-government protests across Iran last month.

We always link 'the bad' section in our roundup to a support campaign currently live on FairPlanet. But this time it is not a matter of one cause, but many. You can always find out what you can do to help, what you can sign to support or where you can donate.

Our SUPPORT section always has its finger on the pulse of the most urgent issues facing people the world over.

A glimpse from the latest in 2019

The catastrophes threatening global peace and order

by Bob Koigi

Conflicts, climate change, displacements and underperforming economies have defined 2019 as the world increasingly becomes a tough place to live in.

U.S. study names Russia the world's second most powerful nation

by Igor Serebryany

Russia - the most powerful country in the world in 2019? What's behind this US survey?
Mexico renewable

Mexico – a leader in environmental education

by Magdalena Rojo

Mexico, together with Italy, encouraged other countries to get inspired by their initiatives in environmental education at COP25 in Madrid.

From Wall Street hedge funds to Facebook, big money threatens democratic process in U.S. once again

by Yair Oded

As the 2020 primaries draw near, a growing number of companies, individuals and firms within the finance and high-tech industries pour money into smear campaigns against Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Why? She threatens the American establishment with her candidacy.
Thank you to all our readers!
We will see you in 2020, where our coverage will continue to be as fierce, diverse and local as it ever was. We represent the voices of the many, not the few.