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Top 10: 2016 What We Learned

2016 has seen some bizarre and some wonderful turns of events.  With increased tensions between nations and the continued war in Syria, there doesn’t seem much to be happy about this year. That’s is why Frontier is here to give you some reasons why 2016 has been an educational and uplifting year!


1. That you can become a president without any political experience


Have you got a family name that provides you with so much money you can buy enough fake tan for an army? Maybe a career in politics is for you! And if you tweet enough of your opinion, people might start actually taking you seriously and then soon enough you’ll be heading for the white house! Thanks Donald Trump for teaching us that if we are really stuck for a job, at least there’s always politics.

2. There’s so many more species to discover


With more corners of the globe becoming accessible to humans and less of our oceans explored than space, there’s still a whole array of wildlife unknown to science! In 2016 alone, hundreds of new species have been discovered including;  126 new species in Greater Mekong alone, the Ghost Octopus, the Peacock spider, the world’s smallest snail, a silver boa, a golden frog, a demon orchid, a ruby sea-dragon, a vampire crab, a horn-necked preying mantis, a  species of mouse lemur plus many more!

3. That solar energy is the future


Existing global solar energy installations repaid their Global Carbon debt last month, meaning they have a net positive impact from here on out. Granted the raw materials, production and transportation of solar energy solutions had a significant carbon footprint, but carbon neutrality was always the goal, and now that we’ve reached it will be looking at a cleaner, greener 2017. On top of this achievement, a plane running completely on solar energy flew around the world this year!

4. The Ivory Trade is closer to being eradicated


Yes, this year has seen serious steps towards banning the ivory trade, with Prince William, David Beckham and Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall taking action on the issue. A landmark event occurred when 105 tonnes of ivory was set on fire in Kenya during a protest to the ivory trade and dealers worldwide. Let’s hope this year’s efforts will lead to less elephants murdered for their ivory.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio is an awesome Climate Ambassador


Most people do not see faith in an actor to combat world change, but Leo is making serious steps towards fighting climate change and spreading his message worldwide. He first wowed us with his powerful speech to the U.N. in 2014. This year he used his moment in the spotlight whilst accepting his first Oscar to talk about how The Revenant, the film in which he won Best Actor, displays man’s relationship with the natural world and why we must protect it. Later on in 2016 he showcased his new film ‘Before the Flood’ and allowed National Geographic to post it on YouTube to ensure as many people watched it as possible.

6. We can bring species back from the brink


It’s been a landmark year for conservation efforts to recover depleting populations of iconic species. Tiger populations in Russia, India and Nepal are on the increase for the first time and Giant Pandas are no longer endangered. There is still so much more to be done and now conservation is starting to focus on Ecosystem Services management in order to save the species that aren’t in the areas Tigers and Pandas roam.

7. That we no longer need to mourn the end of the Harry Potter series


Oh yes, a prequel and a sequel in one year, J.K. Rowling knows how to wet Harry Potter fans appetites. The lady herself wrote the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and wowed us all with the two part Harry Potter West End, The Cursed Child, based on a short story she co-wrote. Fantastic Beasts also had a brilliant message behind it regarding current conservation and wildlife trafficking issues and includes our favourite quote comes from Newt Scamander "Nothing that occurs in nature can be unnatural".

8. We want to name a species after us


2016 saw many new species named after famous characters in real and from literature; Dudleya hendrixii plant after Jimi Hendrix, Obama had a fish named after him, a spider was named after the Sorting Hat and an ant named after Drogon the dragon from Game of Thrones! Although, nothing beats the Attenborosaurus, named after Sir David Attenborough.

9. That Oil Companies aren’t invincible


When the plans were announced last year to build an oil pipeline over Sioux land to prevent an oil spill near a city, there was outcry. The displaced pipeline would cause more damage if there was a spill as it would now run over the residents' water reservoir. The protests continued for a year, with locals not allowing Energy Transfer partners to enter the area to build the pipeline. Things got ugly, water cannons, rubber bullets and pepper spray were used on the protesters but this only made them stronger. More protesters arrived and there was 100s of arrests but celebrity involvement and scenes of the carnage eventually caused the oil company to back down. This was a huge victory for the people of the Sioux and climate activists everywhere.

10. The ozone layer is fixable


Yes, this year it was confirmed that after many countries efforts to ban CFCs in products and other ozone depleting substances, the ozone layer is healing!


By Meike Simms - Online Media Intern 

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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