Top 10 GOOD Things That Actually Happened in 2020
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Top 10 GOOD Things That Actually Happened in 2020

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
This list is proof that it hasn't been all doom and gloom this year! For this list, we'll be looking at the best and most impactful good news and trends from 2020. Our countdown includes Signs of Life & Water on Other Planets, Surprise Albums, Global Effort to Help Australia, and more!

Top 10 GOOD Things That Actually Happened in 2020

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 GOOD things that actually happened in 2020.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best and most impactful good news and trends from 2020. We’re not saying it all outweighed the bad. We’re just reminding ourselves that some good actually happened in this year as well.

What is your favorite feel good story of 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Increasing the Power of Good News

2020 sucked, and March 2020 really sucked. A pandemic was officially declared by the WHO and the world went into lockdown - a scary and confusing event in modern history. We desperately needed some good news… and John Krasinski was there to answer. On March 29 - not long after the global lockdowns began - Krasinski aired the first episode of “Some Good News.” Produced by Krasinski and run out of his home, the series saw the host relaying happy and uplifting stories to his scared and concerned audience. Major guest appearances from the likes of Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and the “Hamilton” cast also helped. In eight weeks, the series accumulated over 70 million views.

#9: Signs of Life & Water on Other Planets

Life on Earth is certainly struggling. But the prospect of life existing elsewhere is looking up. Humanity has long questioned the existence of extraterrestrial life, and 2020 made some progress in answering the age-old question. In September 2020, scientists discovered that the clouds of Venus contained phosphine, a toxic compound made by microbes. However, this discovery was met with much debate. That same month, researchers discovered three bodies of salt water underneath the ice of Mars, all of which were centered around the major one found back in 2018. According to one of the paper’s co-authors, “It’s a complex system.” It is estimated that the main lake is almost 20 miles across and that the entire lake system is spread over roughly 46,000 miles.

#8: Surprise Albums

We know this is small-time compared to the calamities that have faced us in 2020. But we’re taking solace where we can! This was the year of the surprise album - probably as a means for artists to give some happiness to their beleaguered fans. While released in January (and certainly a little dark for the year), Eminem dropped “Music to Be Murdered By.” March saw the release of Childish Gambino’s “3.15.20” and May brought Drake’s mixtape “Dark Lane Demo Tapes.” Beyoncé released “Black Parade” for Juneteenth, during the George Floyd protests, as a means to celebrate black culture, and just a few weeks later, Taylor Swift dropped “Folklore “- arguably her best album and one conceived and recorded entirely in quarantine.

#7: New Ways of Connecting

The COVID lockdowns forced us to get creative. For one thing, some of us began successfully working from home, throwing the entire concept of offices and commuting into question. But social events saw an equal amount of creativity and invention. We’ve had virtual concerts, Zoom meetings and get-togethers, and even school being conducted via the Internet. We all came together to play and enjoy “Among Us,” which is basically “The Thing” in video game form. Telemedicine has made health care more accessible. Yes, these are very poor substitutes for laughing in person with our loved ones. But this year saw people finding new ways to bridge physical distance, allowing us to share our lives while locked in our homes.

#6: Animals Get Freaky

2020 was a bad year for us humans, but a great year for some vulnerable species. Back in February, Ohio’s Columbus Zoo proudly welcomed two cheetah cubs that were born through in vitro fertilization. This fantastic event is fifteen years in the making, and it may help the vulnerable species to thrive into the future. Over in China, giant pandas Ying Ying and Le Le successfully mated for the first time. In mid-July, Ying Ying began experiencing symptoms of pregnancy, including more restful periods and a loss of appetite. Even though it didn’t pan out, it’s very promising for next year. Like cheetahs, giant pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

#5: More Hope for an Eventual HIV Cure

HIV is still considered a global epidemic. It has claimed upwards of 32 million lives from the early ‘80s to 2018, and in 2018 alone it claimed 770,000. Luckily, a cure is perhaps approaching. Back in 2007, a man named Timothy Ray Brown was officially cured of HIV. Over ten years later, in March of 2020, a London man named Adam Castillejo was also declared cured after thirty virus-free months. He had received a stem cell transplant with cells lacking the harmful CCR5 gene. The study’s lead author claimed “These results represent the second ever case of a patient to be cured of HIV,” but he also emphasized that the treatment is a last-ditch effort that will not be made widespread.

#4: Promising Work on Vaccines

The good news regarding COVID is that the ending is in sight. Well, an ending to the most extreme measures, anyway. A lot of promising work has been made on a COVID vaccine by a number of companies, most prominently Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. With emergency use authorization, vaccines could begin rolling out as early as December 2020. This first batch will undoubtedly go to front line workers, hospital staff, and the vulnerable. However, the general population will eventually follow. Various public figures have suggested that life may return to some degree of normality by spring or summer 2021.

#3: Global Effort to Help Australia

There’s something hauntingly poetic about 2020 opening with fire. Australia suffered a particularly horrid bushfire season throughout 2019 and 2020, with some referring to it as The Black Summer. While the fires began in June of 2019, they reached their hellish peak in January 2020. Burning through 18 million hectares and costing upwards of $103 billion, the fires claimed billions of animals, 3,500 homes, and over 400 lives. Luckily, the world pooled resources to help the burning country, showcasing a beautiful example of international unity. Numerous countries from around the world sent aid, including firefighters, aircraft, military units, food, clothing, and money.

#2: Nature Got a Break

One byproduct of COVID lockdowns was witnessing the return of nature. Air pollution levels temporarily plummeted, with nitrogen dioxide levels in Wuhan, China and Milan, Italy decreasing by 30 to 40%. Greenhouse gases were reduced from the lack of factory operation and travel. The ozone layer showed clear signs of recovery. Animals started to reclaim land, with pink flamingos increasing in Albania and lions populating other areas of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. World leaders pledged to focus on cleaning the world’s oceans, and waterways around the world started to enjoy a healthy comeback, with the canals of Venice turning crystal-clear due to a lack of kicked-up sediment. Nature has been consistently strained in recent decades, so it was nice to see good news.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

A New Appreciation for Teachers & Health Care Workers
The World Collectively Applauded the Brave

Bacterial Enzyme That Digests Plastic
Will We Eat Our Way Out of the Plastic Problem?

We Possibly Found the Ancestor of the Modern Day Chicken

SpaceX Made History
“We’re At the Dawn of a New Age,” says NASA Deputy Administrator

“Parasite” Wins Best Picture
Bong Joon-ho’s Satirical Masterpiece Became the First Foreign-Language Film to Do So

#1: Many People Came Together to Fight COVID-19

2020 was an unbelievably difficult and divisive year, but it also showed the best of humanity. A huge number of people wore masks and stayed home, signifying a wish (or at least a reluctant acceptance) to do their part. Distilleries made hand sanitizer. We came together to support health care and front line workers. We spoke out against racism and police brutality. We made ventilators and masks. Celebrities used their clout to spread awareness and raise money for various causes. We joined together for hope through unity. In a terrible year, it’s important to recognize what people have achieved by working and striving together.