By Vivian Lin

India plants 50 million trees in one day
Over 800,000 volunteers in India helped plant 49.3 million trees in one day in an effort to fight climate change. India made a commitment at the Paris Climate Conference and promised to spend $6 million to reforest 12% of its land. The volunteers smashed the previous world record of 847,275 trees planted in one day, set by Pakistan.

Brexit
On June 23, 2016, the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union and stunned the world. 30 million voted, and “Leave the EU” won 52% to 48%. The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigned from office the day after the vote. He was replaced by Theresa May, who will handle how Britain will exit the EU in regards to future relationships with the EU and the new rights of British citizens.

Orlando shooting
49 people were killed and 53 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States on June 12, 2016. The shooting happened at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. The shooter was identified at as Omar Matee, a 29-year-old security guard.

Olympics in Brazil
The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time, Refugee Olympic Team, composed of ten athletes from five different countries, participated in the games. The team brought some much needed attention to the on-going refugee crisis. USA swimmer Michael Phelps added five more medals to his collection and won a record number of 28 medals overall.

Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew was born from a tropical wave that came from the Windward Islands on September 18,2016. From there, it demolished regions in the Caribbean Islands and the Southeast United States. Flooding as much as three feet above the ground impacted parts in Florida as ocean levels reached record level heights, as much as five feet above normal levels.

Cubs win World Series after 108 years
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series with an 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven. The team beat the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers to secure a spot against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. In the best-of-seven series, the Indians had a 3-2 lead, but the Cubs pulled through and won Games Six and Seven.

Juno to Jupiter
Having set off more than five years ago, the Juno spacecraft finally reached Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, on July 4, 2016. By maneuvering the spacecraft to perform 35 flybys around the planet before 2018, scientists hope to learn more about Jupiter’s origin, structure, and atmosphere. The spacecraft is named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and marriage and Jupiter is named after the supreme god of Roman mythology.

Fake News
Articles publishing false information and bolstering conspiracy theories floated around the internet during 2016, especially during the election. Satirical news publishers, like the Onion, have been around for a while, but this new species of fake news can mislead people in ways that may not seem obvious at first glance. Sites like “The Denver Guardian” and the “Conservative Daily Post” were reported as hoaxes and had published fake articles regarding the election.

Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar
Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (finally!) for his performance in The Revenant. He was nominated five times before, first in 1993, but had never won the award until 2016. Dicaprio suffered a great deal for his role as Hugh Glass, from eating raw liver to facing freezing temperatures in Canada.

Ozone layer is healing
A hole in the ozone layer, the layer in the earth’s atmosphere that protects us from harmful UV rays, is showing signs of recovery. The hole was originally discovered in 1985 as a result of the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides. According to scientists, the hole has shrunk 1.5 million miles, and a full recovery is expected to be made around 2050.

Bees are dying
Beekeepers in the U.S. lost over 40% of their bee population from April 2015-April 2016. There are several different attributions as to why this insect population is decreasing such as pesticides and harmful parasites. Bees pollinate about 70% of produce grown in the United States, and their disappearance would have devastating consequences.

Zika virus
A widespread epidemic of Zika ravaged the United States in early 2016 and was declared a public health emergency by WHO (World Health Organization) in February. The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes birth defects in babies after they are delivered.

Giant pandas not endangered
A long-time symbol of animal conservation, the giant panda has finally been taken off the endangered species list. The panda population has increased enough to be moved to the category “vulnerable.” In 2014, there were only 1,864 pandas in the wild. At the end of 2016, the number reached 2,060.

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