9 Good news stories from 2021

Reader's Digest Editors 14 January 2022

The past 12 months were difficult for most. But 2021 wasn't all doom and gloom—these positive news stories might just have you viewing the past year in a different light. 

1. A London pub was rebuilt brick by brick

The Carlton Pub before it was demolished
Image credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Six years after planning permissions doomed the 1920s Carlton Tavern to demolishment in favour of a block of flats, the pub found itself restored to its former glory, down to the last brick, thanks to a tireless six-year campaign by its patrons. 

Re-opened on the 12th April 2021, 5,300 patrons had mobilised to bring back their beloved local. New leaseholders Tom Rees and Ben Martin told The Guardian, "Lots of parts of the bar and the fireplace, the banister, have been reclaimed from the rubble. The pub tells its story from the half-broken fixtures that we’ve got. You can see bits of broken wood—it’s not all perfect, which we really love because it gives character and charm to the building.”

 

2. The world's largest fur-for-auction house closed

fur coats hanging in wardrobe
Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Thanks to a drop in demand for real fur pelts, the largest fur-for-auction house in the world, Kopenhagen Fur, which has operated since 1930, announced its intention to close within the next three years in 2021. 

Meanwhile, singer Billie Eilish attended the 2021 Met Gala in a stunning ballgown by the designer Oscar De La Renta, on the condition that the fashion house ceased all use of real fur in their designs. 

 

3. The Isle of Skye began rewilding

Isle of Skye
Photo by Connor Mollison on Unsplash

A clan chief in Scotland announced his ambitious plans to rewild his estate on the Isle of Skye.

He will bring back 370,000 native trees, red squirrels and beavers to return the landscape to its former glory. 

 

4. Marcus Rashford became the youngest person to top the Sunday Times Giving List

Aged just 23, the Manchester United and England striker topped the Sunday Times Giving List, which aims to "shine a light on the good that flows from wealth creation."

Rashford has donated over £20 million towards food, poverty and community charities. 

 

5. LEGO begins using recycled plastic

lego bricks
Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

Though it's not yet available in stores, in 2021 LEGO revealed plans to begin creating their iconic blocks from recycled plastics. The new prototype uses polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycled from discarded plastic bottles. 

Speaking to CBS News about the decision, Tim Brooks, LEGO's VP of environmental responsibility said, "We are super excited about this breakthrough. The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong, and high quality as our existing bricks and fit with LEGO elements made over the past 60 years. With this prototype, we're able to showcase the progress we're making."

 

6. A tiny possum was rediscovered

A tiny breed of possum known as the "little pygmy possum", which weighs just seven grams, was rediscovered on Kangaroo Island in 2021 after initial fears that recent bushfires had wiped them out of existence. 

The world's smallest possum, the "little pygmy possum" is only found on Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, and occasionally mainland South Australia and Victoria. 

 

7. Tuna populations are recovering

a school of blue tuna

Having been farmed almost to the edge of extinction, scientists discovered this year that the world's tuna population is starting to make a recovery. 

Following over a decade of conservation efforts, Craig Hilton-Taylor, who heads the IUCN Red List, told BBC News, "The take-home message for the general public is that things like albacore tuna—which is the one that is widely on supermarket shelves—is of least concern now—it means that what they're eating has been sustainably caught and is well managed. But we can't sit back—this is a wake-up call to the world that we need to do much more about our oceans and the biodiversity in them."

 

8. Ghana planted 5 million trees in a single day

tree sapling in the ground
Photo by George Bakos on Unsplash

Ghana faces high levels of deforestation thanks to a rapid expansion in agricultural farming and their mining and logging industries, but in 2021 the country vowed to plant 5million trees in a single day to help balance the country's contribution to global warming. 

“The exploitation of forest resources for national development has not been sustainable over the years,”  President Akufo-Addo said in a speech marking the day. “We don’t have tomorrow or the day after tomorrow to do this. We have to act now.” 

Seedlings were distributed to schools, parks, and businesses and handed out in shopping centers in large cities. The government plans to mark the day every year under the title Green Ghana Day, with a goal of planting 100 million trees by 2024. 

 

9. A pet cat missing for 10 years was found

tabby cat sat on the stairs
Photo by Alexander London on Unsplash

Forbes, a beloved pet cat from Aberdeen, was found a whole decade after he first went missing and returned to his owners in September. 

Incredibly, despite being skinny and a little worse for wear, Forbes was healthy, and found just two miles from the spot where he disappeared. His owners, Neil and Lucy Henderson, who were traced thanks to his microchip, were delighted to have their kitty back.

Speaking to BBC News, Neil said, "When Forbes first went missing in March 2011, we were distraught. We'd had him from when he was a kitten and we had such a special bond. He was such a unique and friendly character, we absolutely adored him. Our friend made posters and we went door-to-door in the area we lived in Rosemount. We asked people to check garages and sheds as we thought he may have just been locked inside. After eight or nine months, we very sadly had to come to the realisation that the worst may have happened."

The pair described themselves as "overcome with emotion" when they heard that Forbes had been found. 

 

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