The 60 good news stories you probably missed in 2019.

This year, the enrolment of girls in school was the highest it has ever been in history.

Though they might have not always made the headlines, we’ve made enormous leaps forward when it comes to social justice, sustainability and animal welfare.

We don’t need to tell you that bad things happened too.

World politics is a source of anxiety for many, with natural disasters and terror attacks making up some of this year’s most significant news stories.

But while the bad has often pulled our focus, the good never stopped happening.

Here are the 60 good news stories you might have missed from 2019.

1. Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage. Austria and Ecuador are also among the 14 countries or territories to legalise same-sex marriage in 2019.

2. The United States swore into congress their most diverse lawmakers in history, with more women than ever.

116 congress
The 116th Congress had the biggest number of female members ever. Image via Getty.

3. The European Union banned single-use plastic, which includes plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

4. For the first time, one third of power from around the world came from renewable sources.

5. The population of humpback whales, which was not long ago at 450, meaning they were near-extinct, rose to over 25,000.

6. Iceland became the first country in the world to legally enforce equal pay between men and women.

7. New South Wales became the sixth state in Australia to decriminalise abortion. South Australia is the one state left in Australia where abortion has not been decriminalised.


8. Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming, became the best-selling book of the year in the United States in just 15 days. It is on track to becoming the most popular memoir of all time.

Becoming. Image via Amazon.
Becoming. Image via Amazon.

9. Finland officially committed to phasing out coal within the next decade.

10. A Malawi female Chief named Theresa Kachindamoto rose to power and annulled more than 1500 child marriages, before making the practice illegal. She then sent young girls back to school.

11. The Netherlands became the first country with no stray dogs.

12. A man living with HIV in London became the second person ever to be cleared of the virus, thanks to stem cell transplant.

13. Puerto Rico signed a bill which will set them on a path to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 with the help of a solar grid.

14. Canada passed a bill banning the practice of keeping dolphins, whales and porpoises in captivity for entertainment.

15. Sweden unveiled its first-ever mental health ambulance.

16. New Zealand, New York, Samoa and South Korea, are among the many states and countries who this year banned plastic bags. Thailand replaced plastic packaging with wrapping made from banana leaves.

17. Seven eggs from the world's last remaining Northern White Rhinos were fertilised, which could potentially save the entire species.

18. Scientists discovered a way to convert all blood types to the universally accepted type O that is safe for all patients to receive.

19. After decades of advocacy from Indigenous leaders, Australia banned tourists from climbing the nation's most sacred rock, Uluru.


20. As a result of the Endangered Species Act, the sea turtle population has seen a 980 per cent increase.

21. Global suicide rates were the lowest they've been in decades, reducing by 38 per cent since 1994. That equates to approximately four million lives saved.

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22. An Amazon tribe won a legal battle against oil companies, effectively banning drilling within the Amazon rainforest.

23. More than one million students from 125 countries around the world walked out of their classrooms to demand action from their leaders on climate change.

24. New Zealand became the first country to announce a 'wellness budget' which endeavours to prioritise mental health over economic growth.

25. Italy became the first country to make studying climate change and sustainability compulsory in all schools.

26. Holland covered hundreds of bus stops with 'green roofs', which act as an oasis for bees.

27. Australia raised more than two million dollars for koala hospitals during the NSW bushfires.

28. Kenya's poaching rates of rhinos dropped 85 per cent when compared with just five years ago.

29. Canada committed to opening their doors to one million new immigrants over the next three years.

30. Scientists discovered a mushroom that can eat plastic and therefore could clear our landfill.

31. The rates of heart disease in the UK hit an all-time low, decreasing by almost half since 2005.  The drop has been largely attributed to a reduction in smoking.

32. Legislation was brought in to ensure that baby African elephants can no longer be taken from their natural habitats and sold to zoos or circuses.

33. The Nepalese army removed two tonnes of waste from Mount Everest.

34. For the first time, a paralysed man was treated with stem cells and has regained his upper body movement.


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35. The United States signed a bill making animal cruelty a federal felony.

36. The UK had its lowest year of carbon emissions since 1888.

37. The tampon tax was officially abolished in Australia.

38. A world record was set by 633 divers in Florida, for the largest ever underwater rubbish clean up.

39. Rome introduced an initiative, where you can pay for a Metro train ticket with plastic bottles. More than 350,000 bottles have been collected.

40. Canberra became the first city outside of Europe to shift from fossil fuel to 100 per cent renewable energy.

41. The creator of online video game Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, bought thousands of acres of forest in order to prevent it from being cut down.

42. The enrolment of girls in school was the highest it has ever been in history.

43. Bangladesh has afforded all rivers legal rights, meaning damaging a river is a crime.

49. A newspaper in Japan was made from recycled paper and seeds. Once used, the paper itself can be planted and it will grow flowers.

50. This year was the 25th year in a row that cancer death rates in the United States decreased.

51. Prada, Versace, Gucci and Armani committed to going fur-free.

52. Costa Rica managed to double its tropical rainforests since this time 20 years ago.

53. Saudi Arabia introduced landmark reforms for women, meaning they can now travel abroad without the permission of a male relative.

54. Peru pledged to end palm oil-driven deforestation by 2021.

55. The hole in the ozone layer is the smallest it's been since its discovering in 1982.

56. An underwater robot delivered hundreds of thousands of baby corals to the Great Barrier Reef in an attempt to restore coral reefs to what they were.

57. Researchers have created a blood test that could detect breast cancer five years before symptoms appear.

58. South Korea recycled 95 per cent of its food waste.

59. Ethiopia broke a record after planting 350 million trees in 12 hours in an effort to combat climate change.

60. Malaria was completely eliminated from Algeria and Argentina.

 Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below. 
Feature Image: Getty.