Optimistic Guy's Viral FB Post Lists All The Good Things That Happened In 2016

by John Haltiwanger

There seems to be widespread agreement that 2016 has been an absolutely terrible year.

If you asked people to describe the year as succinctly possible, they'd likely reply along the lines of "dumpster fire." You can hardly blame them.

Humanity has been inundated with bad news over the past 12 months. It's easy to feel as if the world is in decline.

But we also need to remember to look at the big picture.

Headlines can be deceiving.

When it comes down to it, we live in one of the safest, healthiest and most prosperous eras in human history.

Believe it or not, war occurs less frequently and is less deadly than it was in the past, global poverty rates have declined significantly over the past several decades, and people are living longer.

All is not lost!

This is precisely what a man named Matt Strange from Birmingham (UK) hoped to remind people in a Facebook post that went completely viral.

On Christmas Eve, Strange decided to highlight all of the good things that happened in 2016, and he used some very colorful language in the process. Much respect.

He said,

Right, Fuck it, I'm done with 'OMG 2016 was terrible', here's some fucking awesome things that happened, you're welcome, Merry fucking Christmas... Yes, some famous fucking people you liked died, and you know what - more of them are gonna go too but take some time to look at the fucking good and beauty in this world, good shit is happening, learn it, support it, be part of it. Merry fucking Christmas

The man has a point.

It's OK to be sad here and there, but it's also important to keep things in perspective.

Here's the full post. In case you're skeptical that anything good happened this year, we decided to fact-check Strange's claims (below).


Here's a fact-check of Strange's claims:

"There's an Ebola Vaccine now"

This is true!

An experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus was found to be 100 percent effective, a recent study showed. This is EXTREMELY good news.

"Child Mortality - Down across the globe"

This is true!

According to the World Health Organization, child mortality rates have dropped significantly since 1990.

"+9 percent survival rate in pancreatic cancer sufferers"

Not clear.

According to the Hirshberg Foundation, the one-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 20 percent, and the five-year rate is 7 percent. In short, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer is sadly still very low.

"Gene responsible for ALS found"

Sort of.

In July, it was announced scientists found a gene that contributed to ALS.

The newly discovered gene NEK1 is only associated with 3 percent of ALS cases. Still, this discovery is very positive and put researchers in a better position to find a treatment.

"Volunteers in India planted 50 Million trees in 24 hours"

This is true!

A whopping 800,000 volunteers helped plant approximately 50 million trees on July 11 as part of the country's efforts to combat pollution and climate change. This is the largest number of trees planted in a single day, beating out Pakistan's record of 847,275 trees in 2013.

Guinness World Records has yet to verify the official count, but this is definitely a solid example of good news.

"Suicide rates down globally"

Unfortunately, no evidence was found to support this assertion.

The suicide rate in the US actually rose since the turn of the century.

"The Ozone layer is repairing itself"

This is true!

Researchers from the US and UK found that the Antarctic ozone layer, which helps protect the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays, appears to be healing.

"The Rabbinical assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of trans and non conforming individuals"

This is true!

Check out the resolution from April if you're interested.


This is true!

"Leo got dat oscar"

This is true!

Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for his incredible role in "The Revenant."

"Wild tigers numbers up FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 100 YEARS"

This is true!

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the wild tiger population grew 3,200 in 2010 to 3,890 in 2016.

"Giant Pandas - No longer endangered"

This is true!

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, giant pandas are no longer endangered, and their numbers have risen significantly in recent years (about 17 percent in the past decade or so).

"A solar powered plane did a fucking world trip"

This is true!

It took them 505 days to fly 26,000 miles (42,000 km) at an average speed of about 45 mph (70 kph), but pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully flew around the world using only the power of the sun.

"Global Malaria down by 60 percent"

This is true!

According to the World Health Organization, global mortality rates for malaria fell 60 percent between 2000 and 2015.

"Measles ERADICATED from the Americas"

This is true!

In September, the World Health Organization announced measles had been eradicated from the Americas after a lengthy mass vaccination campaign.

"93 percent of the world's children learned to read and write - the highest percentage IN HUMAN HISTORY"

This appears to be true, but Strange's numbers might be a little off.

Data from UNICEF does shows global youth literacy rate is around 91 percent.

But there are still around 115 million illiterate children worldwide.

"China plans to be completely renewable by 2020 and has a global plan for by 2050"

This is false.

Current Chinese government plans call for renewable energy to provide for 27 percent of the country's total power output by 2020. This does not constitute being "completely renewable," but it is a good start.

"Huge global push in renewable energy"

This is true!

A 2016 study from the Frankfurt School and the United Nations Environment Protection showed renewable energy set new records for investment and new capacity added in 2015. Investments reached close to $286 billion, over six times more than what was invested in 2004.

"Norway committed 0 deforestation, 0"

This is true!

Norway not only committed zero deforestation, it banned it altogether in June.

"Every major grocer and fast food chain in the US pledged to use cage free eggs only by 2025"

This is true!

Chickens should be celebrating this news. Even Walmart made this commitment.

"Manatees - No longer endangered"

This is true!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service no longer considers the West Indian manatee endangered.

"Wild Wolves - Back in Europe"

This is true!

But there's a catch: There was evidence of this back in 2014 and 2015. But this is still good news.

"Wild Salmon spawning in the Connecticut River for the first time since the American revolution"

This is true!

Three salmon nests full of eggs were found in the Connecticut River in February,

"Columbian white tailed deer - no longer endangered"

This is true!

In October, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified the Columbian white tailed deer from endangered to threatened.


This is (partially) true!

Green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico are no longer considered endangered, but some populations are still at risk due to various threats.

"SeaWorld no longer breeding captive killer whales"

This is true!

In March, after significant public outcry, SeaWorld announced it would stop breeding captive killer whales.

"Humpback Whales - NO LONGER ENDANGERED"

This is (partially) true!

In September, most humpback whales, but not all populations, were taken off the endangered species list.

"Global aid - up by 7 percent"

It's not clear where Strange got his stat for this.

But the NGO Global Humanitarian Assistance did release a report that showed international humanitarian assistance reached a record high of $28 billion in 2015. Hopefully, we will see similar levels of generosity once we have more info on 2016.

"Americas most generous year EVER in charity and aid"


We don't have conclusive info on 2016 yet. But 2015 did rank as America's most generous year ever according to Giving USA, so perhaps this is where Strange derived this claim from.

"China's most generous year EVER in charity and aid at $15 goddamn Billion"

We haven't found any information to confirm this claim.

Citations: 'An ebola vaccine, more wild tigers and mind-controlled robot arms': Man's Facebook post listing 30 reasons why 2016 has in fact been an awesome year becomes internet hit (