Many people compare 2016 to a dumpster fire, with high-profile celebrity deaths and election year madness topping the list of negatives. I personally think BuzzFeed summed it up best with their 24 pictures that perfectly sum up 2016. However, this year wasn’t all bad…
1. Patagonia and its 2016 Black Friday Profits
Patagonia donated its entire Black Friday profit to organizations helping the environment. The company distributed $10 million to more than 800 groups working on keeping the earth healthy.
2. Tesla’s Solar Panels
Tesla’s solar panel product mitigates many existing issues for residential options. Rather than large, unsightly panels that ruin curb appeal, the Tesla-made solar panels are incorporating into roofing material. At first glance, they look like completely normal roofs. A closer look reveals the Tuscan tile is made out of glass.
3. The World’s Oldest Cat Turns 31
Nutmeg has a grumpy old man look that goes right along with his advanced age. He hasn’t let anything slow him down, and his humans are happy to encourage his curiosity and love for adventure.
4. Strangers Connect Over Thanksgiving
A mistyped number brought Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton together. Grandmotherly Wanda took things in stride and invited Jamal to her family gathering. He took her up on it. Everyone should have a grandma like Wanda.
5. Snoop Dog and 3,000 Turkeys
Snoop Dog passed out 3,000 turkeys to make sure everyone had a lit holiday. This year he headed out to Inglewood to spread the joy.
6. Dog Over the Moon
This dog is over the moon when his owner dresses up like his favorite toy for Halloween. You have never seen man’s best friend quite this happy before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7op92W7voE.
7. Tiny House Villages for the Homeless
The tiny house movement isn’t just for hipsters anymore. Several cities and organizations use these space-efficient homes to provide shelter for the homeless.
8. Inching Toward Self-Driving Cars
The morning commute will be a lot more pleasant once you can sit back and relax on the way to work. While a fully automated vehicle landscape is a few years away, several companies are making strong headway in this direction.
9. Reusable Space Rockets
Reusable space rockets move the world one step closer to affordable space flight. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin nailed their reusable rocket tests in 2016, and their healthy competition will keep their progress fast paced.
10. Redesigning 6-pack Rings
6-pack rings pose a major threat to wildlife, especially sea creatures. Saltwater Brewery solved this dilemma by creating a new material designed to feed animals rather than hurt them.
11. Extreme Couponing
Lauren Puryear uses her coupling in 2016 to get supplies to cook meals for the needy. Her goal, to help 30,000 people by the time she reaches 30 years old, is well underway.
12. The New Michelin Stars
The Michelin Guide did something unprecedented in 2016: it awarded a star to a street food stall owner named Chan Hon Meng. This Singapore culinary genius serves a chicken, rice and noodle dish derived from a Hong Kong recipe. The best part? You can eat Michelin-starred food for only $2.
13. Plastic Bag Reduction
Plastic bags fill landfills, they get caught in trees and they pose a danger to wildlife. The UK reduced its bag usage by 85 percent, simply by charging five pence per bag.
14. Land Protection
Epic Games, developers of the video game series Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, paid $15 million to create a 7,000 acre protected zone in North Carolina. Development can no longer occur within this land, giving flora and fauna room to flourish.
15. Dolphin Sightings
China’s supposedly extinct dolphin turns out to be not so extinct. The unique freshwater dolphin distinguished by its long beak has been sighted in the Yangtze River.
16. Bookworms Rejoice!
New York’s Rose Reading Room is open after a painfully long renovation that kept it off-limits for the past two years.