“It’s a world supplied with precisely the right amounts of gravity and atmosphere,” Washington Post columnist David von Drehle wrote on November 24, “enough water and sunlight but not too much of either.”
“Scientists have gazed thousands of light-years in search of another such place, and still, this is the only one for sure, a beautiful lifeboat in an oceanic emptiness. I’m grateful to all who are working to preserve it.”
Examples aplenty as the year ends
The world this past year has administered more doses to cure COVID-19 (8.5 billion) than there are people on the planet (7.8 billion). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we’re on course to immunize 50% of humanity by the end of the year.
BRAZIL: The nation’s health care system has now vaccinated 75% of the population, despite President Jair Bolonsaro’s doubts about its impact and refusal to campaign for its success.
CHINA: Back in June 2021, WHO declared the PRC, a country of 1.3 billion people, free of malaria after a seven-decade campaign against the disease. The tropical disease had killed hundreds of thousands in the world’s most populous nation over the past several decades.
THE UNITED STATES: A bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure and jobs act was passed by Congress. In what has been termed an even more bipartisan bill that invests $35 billion to clean drinking water passed the Senate, 89-2.
The newsletter Mashable notes: “The Biden administration nixed oil and gas drilling on federal land, planned wind farm leases along the entire coastlines, and planned to more than double the size of conservation areas.
“Everywhere you look in mainstream American life, from the massive concrete industry’s net-zero carbon plan to Beyond Burgers arriving at McDonald’s, you’re seeing efforts towards reducing emissions kicking in.”
The Associated Press issued a striking book of photos from 2021 entitled A Year That Changed Us. An unforgettable photo vividly portrays the heartfelt hopes of those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 this past year.
It shows a teenage boy, his arms around the shoulders of a Mom and three sisters seated on green grass amidst the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Their heads are bowed and facing away from us. You can almost imagine tears on their eyes you can’t see. They’re gazing at a sea of closely-stacked tiny white flags covering the Mall’s wide expanse. It resembles a snowfield of thousands of banners as far as the eye could see.
Each flag represents a single individual among more than 800,000 lost to the seemingly never-ending plague and the title of the photo tells among the most moving stories of 2021 with this admonition: “In America: Remember.”
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More