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2016 had its trials and tribulations

Posted on January 4, 2017 by Taber Times

Let’s face it, 2016 was a bit of a rough year.

If 2015 was the year of new beginnings and a cause for cautious optimism, then 2016 was the pebble in your shoe you thought you could ignore, but left you limping.

For example, oil prices did not rebound, in fact they dropped to a low of about $30 a barrel in January 2016, before rising and dipping below the $45 mark after July 2016. The price of oil is currently over $50 a barrel, and there have been murmurs of the industry picking back up, but we have yet to see some shovels in the ground over it.

Then there was the Jian Ghomeshi trial. What a disaster that was, with Ghomeshi’s lawyer picking apart each victim and the prosecutor seemingly doing her job for her. The second trial was settled before it went to court, but the whole matter screamed of rape culture. You know what else screamed of rape culture? The Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner, receiving a six month sentence for sexual assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, whittled down to three months for good behaviour, having his swim time published in articles about the rape and having his family and friends blaming ‘political correctness’ and how he shouldn’t be punished his whole life for “20 minutes of action”. That all sucked.

And we are all aware of the political-circus-set-on-fire that was the 2016 presidential election south of us. Regardless of your political leanings, we can all agree that was one of the most brutal elections in recent history, as we stared at our neighbours with the kind of fascination one might have when watching a car accident in slow-motion. Although the president-elect seems pro-pipeline — which is good for Alberta— his desire to rip up NAFTA and build more nukes does give cause for alarm.

On Jan. 14, somebody let G.R.R Martin — the fantasy novelist whose books are the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones TV Series, and is infamous for killing off a character every hour — tweet “2016 was directed by me.” Although it can only be a coincidence, and he has since apologized for the tweet, 2016 saw the deaths of an awful lot of beloved and notable people, such as David Bowie, Prince, Don Getty, Alan Rickman, Mohamed Ali, Jim Prentice and, most recently, Carrie Fisher. Them, and so many others, have passed away during the past year, and the loss of a personal hero and icon is always felt deeply.

But while there were many sucky moments during 2016, there were also some great ones.

Thanks to the ice bucket challenge, researchers found the gene that causes ALS, and that means we’re getting close to a cure for a fatal disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling muscle movement.

The global tiger population in the wild has risen to 3,890, up from 3,200 in 2010. Panda populations in the wild have also gone up, with 1,864 in the wild compared to only a thousand in the 1970s. While both numbers are still very dangerously low, the increase is a good sign.

Leo DiCaprio finally won an Academy Award. It took six nominations, but he won Best Actor for his role in The Revenant.

The ozone hole in Antarctica is showing signs of repairing itself, with scientist crediting a nearly 30-year-old, international policy — the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer — which called for the elimination of ozone-destroying chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons and halons.

Canada won 22 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio —four gold, three silver and 15 bronze — placing 20 out of 87 countries. Much better then the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where we won 18 medals — one gold, five silver and 12 bronze — and placed 36 out of 84 countries. For a country that tends to do better in the Winter Olympics (placing first in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and third in the 2014 Sochi Olympics), we did pretty well.

While there were some horrible moments to 2016, we still had plenty of good to go with it. But, somewhat thankfully, it is over now, and we can look forward to what 2017 has to bring.

But this time, we’re battle ready for it.

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