Focusing on the good: 19 great things that happened in 2019 illustrated

We’re being bombarded with bad news everywhere we look: refugees on the run from war, climate crisis and global warming, high depression rate and and and.

And while I think it’s important to talk about problems and issues, both smaller and bigger, not to mention taboos which we often address in our designs, it’s meaningful to also pay attention to all the good that goes on in the world.

So, I’ve had a look at all the good stuff that happened in 2019 to end this year on a nice note. The world actually does get better little by little and it’s time we celebrate that. A winner focuses on the positive in order to improve themselves and the world, so that’s what I will do now :-)

So without further ado, here are the 19 great things that happened in 2019 illustrated by me.


#1 More people voted in elections around the world than ever before

Nearly two billion voters in 50 countries around the world headed to the polls this year to elect their leaders. Winners take responsibility and one way of doing that is by voting. Source: Washington Post


#2 A winner in India has planted a tree everyday for 35 years

He has now created a forest bigger than Central Park. A great example of how one person can single handedly make a difference. Source: thehappybroadcast


#3 Scientists made a major breakthrough in preventing Aids

Research published in May found that treatment can prevent sexual transmission of the HIV virus. The study examined nearly 1,000 gay male couples who had sex without condoms, in which one partner was HIV positive and treating the condition with antiretrovirals. It found no cases of transmission over the course of eight years which shows the success of the medicine, researchers say. If everyone with HIV was fully treated, there would be no further infections. Source:


#4 German scientists may have discovered how to precisely monitor the progression of Alzheimer’s disease years before obvious signs

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 Disease 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. How cool is that?! It offers new possibilities for testing therapies, they say. “We were able to predict loss of brain mass and cognitive changes that actually occurred two years later,” said Mathias Jucker, senior researcher. Words of a winner. Source:


#5 93 % of households in India now have access to toilets

Can you imagine not having the possibility of using a toilet when you feel like it? Millions of people in India can. Some 90 million toilets have been built in India since 2014 as a result of the country’s sanitation drive and 500 million people have stopped having to go to the toilet out in the open. This is great news! Source: The Hindu


#6 Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover in the past 30 years

Following decades of deforestation, Costa Rica doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years. Half of the country’s land surface is now covered with trees, creating a huge carbon sink and a big draw for tourists. Yay! Extensive, uncontrolled logging meant that by 1983, only 26 % of the country had forest cover. Today, it has increased to 52 %. How, you ask? Policy-makers restricted the number of logging permits and created a national forestry commission to police forest activity. Source: Mother Nature Network


#7 Algeria and Argentina are officially malaria-free

Malaria has been eliminated from Algeria and Argentina, which is an important milestone in fighting the mosquito-borne disease, says the World Health Organization. There are now 38 countries and territories that have been declared free of the disease, which has been making a comeback globally. “Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science. The rest of the continent can learn from this experience,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. Source: CNN


#8 Humpback Whale Population Bounces Back From Near-Extinction—From Just 450, to Over 25,000

Intense pressure from the whaling industry in the early 1900s saw the western South Atlantic population of humpbacks diminish to only 450 whales, after approximately 25,000 of the mammals were hunted within 12 years. However, a study from the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences which was published in November revealed that the species’ population has now rebounded to 25,000 once more. Source:


#9 Young people have a voice and they are using it

Women in Latin America and then across the world rallied against the continuing pandemic of anti-female violence. Young people in many countries mobilized to demand action on climate change. And young people in the United States continued to demand progress on gun-law reform. Yay, young winners! Source: Washington Post


#10 Same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan, Ecuador, Austria and Northern Ireland

Legal recognition is granted to same-sex marriages now in 30 countries on every inhabited continent. This is great progress and I cannot stress this enough: love is love and love is good for you! Source:


#11 The U.S. women’s national soccer team put more focus on gender equity

The U.S. women’s national soccer team inspired everybody by winning the World Cup — and then using their celebrity to campaign for gender equity on the soccer pitch and beyond. We’re not there yet, but it certainly helps with continued focus on this important matter. Source: Washington Post


#12 Fallen rate in child deaths

In 1990, 82 children under the age of 5 died around the world for every 1,000 children born. By last year, as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reminded us, that rate had fallen to 37 — still too high, but remarkable progress nonetheless. In fact, as a Gates Foundation report notes, “Health and education are improving everywhere in the world” — a too-little recognized fact that should spur us to continue investing in progress. Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the most inspiring people to me! True winners. Source: Washington Post


#13 We saw the first-ever image of a black hole

The continuing progress of science was exemplified by the first-ever image of a black hole captured by scientists. Now, I’m not saying I’m a scientific wizard, but this does get me excited nonetheless. Source: Washington Post


#14 Millions of women created a 300 mile 'Women's Wall' across state of Kerala, India, in support of women's access to temple of Sabarimala

Vanitha Mathil ("Women's Wall") was a human chain on 1 January 2019 across the Indian state of Kerala to uphold gender equality and protest against gender discrimination. The wall was formed solely by women and extended for a distance of around 620 kilometres. Around three to five million winners participated in the event. What a great example of winners coming together for a greater purpose. Source: wikipedia


#15 Solar and wind became more and more appealing in 2019

It’s official: A third of power around the world comes from renewable sources and 75 % of coal production is more expensive than solar or wind. How’s that for proof that renewable energy is taking over the world? Source:


#16 After australian bushfires, people from all over the world knit little mittens for koalas with burned paws and raised almost $2 million to help

This is proof that winners with good hearts exist all over the world and that makes me feel safe, secure and happy. Source:


#17 Billie Eilish came up with a great climate initiative for her tour

Billie Eilish fans will be able to earn free tickets to her upcoming tour by helping to fight climate change. The shows will also feature a ‘Billie Eilish Eco-Village’, an area where fans can learn about climate change and the importance of making a difference. More and more superstars use their voice and power to promote good causes in general and this is just an example of one winner using hers. Source:


#18 Sweden launched a great initiative for blood donors

Sweden has launched a service that sends blood donors a text message which tells them when their blood has been used. Donors will first receive a thank you message just after donating, but then later once their blood has been used to help another person, the donors are informed of that momentous moment. What a great way to be reminded you are a winner! Source:


#19 Denmark is experimenting with ‘culture vitamins’ to lift people out of depression

Depression affects 300 million people across the globe and is the leading cause of disability worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It costs the global economy $1 trillion every year but fewer than half of those affected receive any treatment. So Denmark is trying a different approach: People suffering from depression are encouraged to take part in cultural activities. We call it Kulturvitaminer – “culture vitamins” – and it is being trialled in four cities. It involves getting people together in small groups to experience everything from concerts to communal singing and more. Yay Denmark! Source: World Economic Forum


So there you have it. 19 great things that happened in 2019. Now I'm ready for a new year (and decade) filled with more great news. I would love you for to make someone else smile today, so it would be awesome if you'd share this blog post with your loved ones. Just copy the url and send it to all the winners you know and let's spread some winner mentality.

All my best