2020 wasn’t all terrible: The best news of the year | Editorial

The year 2020 will likely go down in history books as one of the most universally difficult years in this millennium. Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked back at the top stories of 2020 as indicated by webpage visits and reader feedback.

The news about two new Southern resident calves is so unbelievably exciting to us. Over the years, it seems we’ve grown accustomed to the news of yet another Southern resident missing and presumed dead. The announcement that there were pregnant Southern residents and that two had given birth successfully was just what the doctor ordered in a year marked by negativity.

The local community stepped up in big ways this year. San Juan Island Community Foundation has facilitated more than $170,000 in grants from its emergency response fund. Overall, the fund was able to raise a total of $265,000 in 2020. On Orcas, more than $1.7 million was raised to support its community emergency response fund.

Here are more of our favorite good news stories of 2020 from around the globe:

• In other heartwarming animal news, a town in Wales was inundated by more than 100 Kashmiri goats who took a stroll amid the pandemic lockdowns.

• Sweden’s last coal plant closed in 2020 making the country entirely independent of coal. Austria also went coal-free that same week.

• Most likely due to lack of crowds, pandas in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. welcomed babies this year.

• An independent Parisian bookstore, more than 100 years old — Shakespeare and Company — received 5,000 orders in a week when it announced it was facing permanent closure.

• Victor J. Glover Jr., a crew member of the SpaceX “Resilience” mission to the International Space Station, is the first Black astronaut to embark on a long-term stay at the ISS. Glover will remain at the ISS for six months.

• The seats of Spain’s Barcelona Opera House were filled with 2,292 potted plants for its grand reopening concert.

• Shelters across the nation saw an upswing in pet adoptions amid COVID restrictions.

• In a story that is both adorable and sad, a tiny owl was located in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after having traveled 170 miles from where the tree was grown.

• Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is appearing healthier after the employees of a SCUBA diving company, working alongside a marine biologist, took the nation’s COVID shutdown time to seed the coral reefs.

• Mountain gorillas also experienced a baby boom this year, with seven gorillas having been born in 2020 by September. That’s more than double the number in 2019.

• The World Health Organization declared Africa as being free from wild polio in August.

• In April, Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine research.

• A group of four healthcare workers in British Columbia won $6 million in the lottery in October. Fun fact, lottery winnings are not taxed in Canada.

• Kamala Harris was elected Vice President in November, not only becoming the first woman to run a successful campaign for the position, but also the first Black person and the first Indian person to win the role.