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So far, 2020 has been a famously dark, daunting and difficult year for everyone. In between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election and climate change looming over our heads, the news has seemed like a constant source of anxiety for most of us. In such hard times, it’s important now more than ever to remember that despite all of the seemingly inescapable horrors of the world, there are still good things and people. As both a pick-me-up and a shift in your POV, here are five good news stories from recent weeks!

1. 10 Year Old Starts Race To 100K Meals campaign

After seeing his parents struggle while working in the medical field and the never-ending negativity in the news, fifth-grader Orion Jean set up a food drive and began the race to 100,000 meals with a goal to hit the mark before Thanksgiving. He ended up raising a grand total of 100,984 meals for the hungry! For more information and to follow his community service journey, you can check out his Instagram here. Fun fact: his parents met at FAMU during a service project. There’s no doubt that love and helping others runs in his blood!

2. Secret Santa Pays Off Christmas Presents

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A very generous and anonymous donor in Canton, Mississippi just paid off all of the Christmas presents on layaway at the Canton Walmart. Walmart has declined to offer the grand total but says there were 330 gifts on layaway and that the donor used the money he had leftover to make donations to two local toy drives and to food drives. This Secret Santa really knows the true reason for the holiday season.

3. Talk About A Green Thumb

Music is beautiful to our ears, and on the Earth, because it comes from the world’s first plant piano! The instrument uses biotechnology, and the music stems from living flora used as antennas that can detect changes in frequency upon being touched. Technology like this can help us become more eco-friendly and allow us to research and learn in order to adapt to other types of more earth-loving technology. The piano can be found at The Ibiza Botánico Biotecnológico centre.

4. EU Air Quality Shows Improvement Against Pollution

According to recent reports, many countries in Europe have been doing their part to combat pollution and climate change. In previous years, premature deaths relating to fine particulate matter pollution in the air were quite high. As of 2018, an average of 60,000 fewer people died prematurely per year than was typical in 2009. Premature deaths related to nitrogen dioxide have an even more drastic reduction at 54 percent less premature deaths. The report states, “The continuing implementation of environmental and climate policies across Europe is a key factor behind the improvements.”

5. Last, But Most Certainly Not Least

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This last story is one that is individual to each of you in your own way. We have reached December, and although this year has felt a million centuries long, we have almost made it through. You probably struggled a lot this year. Maybe you had COVID, struggled with your mental health or had family troubles. It can be hard to remember good things when you’re in the midst of a terrible tragedy, but you are doing the best you can, and that counts for a lot. You have almost made it through 2020. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. That triumph deserves a news story in itself. Go you!

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Emma Cryer is a current Florida State University senior majoring in Communications/Media Studies and minors in English and film! In her free time, you can find her in the gym, reading, or laughing with friends.
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