The day after an election is a strange one – especially this one. Some people have woken up to the news they’ve been waiting to hear for years; others have woken up feeling like the country has failed a vital exam. But enough of this! Whatever your feelings today, I think we’ve all earned a break from talking about politics for a while; so here are three lovely happy headlines for us as the human race to smile about, as we move into a new decade on the lovely planet we share, that have nothing to do with any of  that.

 

71 new species discovered this year

On 5 December, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences announced the addition of 71 new plant and animal species on Earth. The new species for 2019 include 17 fish, 15 geckos, eight flowering plants, six sea slugs, five arachnids, four eels, three ants, three skinks, two skates, two wasps, two mosses, two corals, and two lizards.

They were found across five continents and three oceans, from Croatian caves to extreme ocean depths and savanna forests. What a wonderful planet we have. Find out more here: https://earthsky.org/earth/new-species-discovered-in-2019

 

Alzheimer’s is now diagnosable years in advance

There’s no cure yet for the disease, but this year we are a huge step closer to being able to treat those affected.

“Years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease manifest, the brain starts changing and neurons are slowly degraded. In January, scientists from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and the University Hospital Tübingen published a study that suggests a protein found in the blood can be used to precisely monitor disease progression long before the first clinical signs,” notes Positive News. “It offers new possibilities for testing therapies.” Find out more here: https://www.positive.news/lifestyle/health/blood-test-could-detect-alzheimers-more-than-10-years-earlier/

 

The Netherlands is officially stray-dog-free

In September, the Netherlands became the world’s first country to have no stray dogs at all – due to a combination of new government laws to protect animal welfare, and an extensive sterilisation programme. Most pets owned by country residents are also adopted, apparently. More info here: https://amsterdamhangout.com/why-are-there-no-stray-dogs-in-the-netherlands/

Just three examples of how there are millions of fabulous people out there, doing good, taking huge scientific strides and helping others and the planet all the time. So even if we feel a little in the dark just now, we must only remember to turn on the light.

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