The passing of an old year into a new year is always a great time to review what happened to determine what we will take with us in the future. Another year around the sun for Earth means another year of milestones for life on Earth. These are my picks of some of the Earth’s most memorable moments in 2016.
- The New York Times compiled a list of their favorite climate change articles. The topics include our track record of the “hottest years on record”, how to counter climate change denial by ‘being nice’, a heart-warming story about a small English town whose goal is to reduce their carbon footprint collectively, and the beautiful mission of NASA Earth, which monitors the changes our planet has been undergoing.
- The PAN-STARRS project at the University of Hawaii has released the world’s largest digital sky survey in December, 2016. Aside from creating a breath-taking photograph of the night sky, which was taken over 4 years and would measure a mile and a half if printed out in full resolution, the data is entirely available to the public.
- NASA has created an 3D model of the Earth’s atmosphere to track the movement of CO2 around the globe. This may help us to understand the carbon dioxide cycle better and its implications in how we can manage it.
- Italy was hit by two powerful earthquakes this year. The first, a 6.2 magnitude quake in Amatrice killed 300 people, and the second, which had a magnitude of 6.6, was the strongest in Italy since 1980. This is particularly worrisome for Italy both because the quakes could have further damaged fault lines, triggering more earthquakes, and because many Italian villages lie on top of fault lines. Many times, the villagers rebuild over the ruins of the last earthquake.
- Leonardo DiCaprio released a documentary this year showing how the Earth has changed under our influence and what can be done to stop it. While this may be old knowledge for the weathered scientist, the rise in celebrities (Mark Ruffalo, Shailene Woodley) protesting against climate change is helping the public to understand the seriousness of this issue. A great deal of lawmakers still deny climate change.
- The protest at the Standing Rock Sioux preserve, which started in 2014 against the construction of a pipeline near a Native American water source, has gained a more prominent spotlight in the media in 2016. Because of all the attention this protest has received this year, the number of protesters swelled and the cause gained a victory by the end of 2016 when the Army declared that they would seek an alternative route for the pipeline.
Here’s to a happy 2017 where we learn from our mistakes in the past, help each other overcome difficulties, and strive to make this planet a better place for all. Cheers!