While this past year is difficult to compare to 2020, there is little question that some major events took place. Indeed, the pandemic has persisted with its ups and downs as different COVID variants emerge. But human achievement has persevered, and we have all learned to effectively deal with an ever-changing world. Understanding this, it is evident that many highlights and achievements in 2021 deserve recognition as we move into 2022. In doing so, we honor those who persisted in their bold pursuits. Likewise, recalling these experiences serve as inspirations and motivations for our own lives. With this in mind, here are some of the top achievements of 2021 that are definitely worth noting.
Major Achievements in Vaccine Development
Without question, major vaccine development progress occurred in 2020. This allowed millions to become vaccinated against COVID in the early months of 2021. But these were not the only highlights and achievements in 2021 related to vaccine development. In addition to continued research related to the COVID vaccines, addition work involved a vaccine for malaria. In October of this year, the World Health Organization recommended widespread use of the malaria vaccine. As a major breakthrough in public health, this too must be considered one of the top achievements of 2021.
Kamala Harris Became First Woman- and Woman of Color Vice President
On January 20th, 2021, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President, respectively. But for Kamala Harris, her swearing-in must be considered among the top achievements of 2021. Never before has a woman or woman of color attained the position of Vice President in the U.S. This accomplishment not only reflects her dedication and passion for her career in public service. But it also demonstrates a shift toward greater diversity and inclusion in the nation. Because of this, it makes the list of the major highlights and achievements in 2021.
Athletes Shine at Tokyo Olympics
Despite being postponed, and despite dozens of COVID cases, the Tokyo Olympics proceeded this year. In the process, many top achievements of 2021 took place that involved athletes young and old. Forty-six-year-old Ukrainian gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina, received a standing ovation at her last of eight Summer Olympics. Seventeen-year-old Lydia Jacoby, a high schooler from Alaska, won the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke. And two high-jumpers from Italy and Qatar decided to share a gold medal after tying. These are just a few of the highlights and achievements in 2021 that occurred in Tokyo. Of course, not everything was without challenges, especially in light of the pandemic. But the positive accomplishments outshined the negatives by far. (Project Bold Life dug into some of the Olympic athletes and their bold accomplishments–check it out!)
The Space Race Leaped Forward
While SpaceX hogged the news regarding space accomplishments in 2020, others joined in this year. Blue Origins, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX all had their own highlights and achievements in 2021 as part of the race for space. Successful launches beyond Earth’s immediate orbit occurred as did operational space missions. Some space flights involved celebrity passengers willing to pay a high price for the extreme experience. Others were involved in placing satellites as part of a broadband Internet connection system. The amazing feats accomplished in space this year definitely makes the list for the top achievements of 2021.
A Renewed Commitment to Climate Change
Over the course of the last year, many private companies have pursued renewable and sustainable solutions. Many of us are also trying to reduce our carbon footprint. At the same time, the U.S. joined 188 other nations in a renewed commitment to the Paris Climate Accords. In total, this represents 97% of the nations contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. In February, the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) took place. Nations agreed to prevent the global average temperature from warming beyond a point of catastrophe. They also agreed to finance programs and share resources in an effort to become carbon neutral by 2050. This too can thus be considered one of the top achievements of 2021.
NASA Lands the Mars Rover Perseverance
In February of this year, another one of the top achievements of 2021 belonged to NASA. Its fifth Mars rover, Perseverance, successfully landed along with a small helicopter. Through the course of the year, it explored the 28-mile-wide crater known as Jezero Crater. This crater was believed to be a river delta some 3.5 billion years ago. The goal of Perseverance is to find microbial life in hopes of better understanding the red plant. This will be important as space missions in the future hope to travel to Mars. Thus, Perseverance’s successful landing should also be considered among the highlights and achievements of 2021.
Employees Took a Stand for Remote Work
Once vaccination rates began to increase, many businesses assumed there might be a gradual return to normalcy. That meant a return to regular office life in the minds of many company executives. But that has yet to happen, and very likely never will. Amidst the Great Resignation, many employees took a stand to pursue the type of career they wanted. For a large majority, that meant finding remote work or hybrid work environments. The work-life balance this provided during the height of the pandemic made many realize its importance. As such, forcing employers to reconsider work environments has to be considered among the top achievements of 2021 for employees.
FDA Approved COVID Pills
In December of this year, the Food and Drug Administration gave its approval for Pfizer’s antiviral pill for COVID. Given that monoclonal antibodies are in short supply, this news represents one of the important highlights and achievements in 2021. Potentially, oral pills could be administered to higher risk patients with COVID to reduce complications. Likewise, early studies show that it’s even effective against the Omicron variant of the disease. The pill reportedly prevents the virus from replicating itself. If effective and safe for everyone, this would clearly be one of the top achievements of 2021 in retrospect.
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