“If you think you are too small to do great things, try sleeping with a mosquito in a closed room,” says an African proverb. In 2022, various news items confirmed that we should not underestimate the power of the little ones, because they can do enormous things. As is the case with the fungi that devour tar, the octopus capable of producing a poison that could defeat the dreaded melanoma (the most common skin cancer), the worms that degrade plastic in just 40 minutes, and the small fern that could help us reverse the global warming.
And they are not the only good news that the year that is about to end has given us, far from it. Attentive as we live to advances in neuroscience, at The Conversation we are very aware that sharing positive events contributes to the happiness of our readers. That, and that we are hungry for stories.
For this reason, in addition to putting the seriousness of current climate change on the table, in recent months we have also confirmed that all is not lost. It turns out that planting water, an ancestral technique in the Sierra Nevada and the Andes, could help us cope with drought, while using mammoth fans would allow thousands of tons of carbon dioxide to be extracted from the atmosphere.
Nor is it trivial that last summer the United Nations General Assembly recognized for the first time that access to a healthy, adequate or ecological environment is a human right.
And this links to excellent news for companies in 2022: there is already evidence that being sustainable, in addition to being beneficial for the environment, is competitive. As is also betting on the social economy, which stands as a promoter of economic recovery.
Rights, adolescence and participatory schools
In 2022 we also announced important social achievements in two geographical points separated by many kilometers. On the one hand, in Spain, equal rights for domestic workers were finally becoming a reality. And on the other side of the pond, Cuba was beginning to leave social homophobia behind.
Thanks to the conscientious outreach work of those who write daily in The Conversation, we understood why children behave so badly when they are tired, why we should never ask the little ones in the family if they have a girlfriend or boyfriend, why the children take so much risk adolescents and why we become friends with our friends.
Without forgetting that the dream of training in more democratic and participatory schools began to take shape in which students do not lose their amazement or smile.
Scientific mysteries solved and trailers for a movie ending
On the other hand, in 2022 science continued to reveal mysteries and show that we still have a lot to know. Without going any further, we solved a puzzle of physics that is no less than two centuries old: what makes ice slippery. And we also understood why the rays do not descend to the ground in a straight line but zigzag.
Set to decipher beautiful enigmas, scientists explained the rose petal effect, that is, the mechanism by which the spherical dew droplets adhere to the petals of the most popular flower in the world and do not fall off, even if we put the flower in our mouths below. Amazing isn’t it?
We were also left speechless by the findings inside the Cueva de las Estegamitas in Malaga, a practically unique place in the world (there are only 3 similar caves in Australia, Puerto Rico and Slovakia) so named because strange ridges that resemble the ones with stegosaurs on their backs.
Not to mention how our bodies were when we met Elinvar, a kind of technological unicorn, a new material that seemed impossible, created by humans using principles that border on magic, but are nothing more than scientific advances.
Advances that are also allowing the development of new generation vaccines that prevent us from forever imposing measures when things get ugly with covid-19, and giving doses and more doses of memory again and again. They may be mucosal vaccines, nasal vaccines or panvaccines, we still don’t know for sure. But it seems that they will get the covid-19 pandemic to end as it deserves: with a “movie” ending.
We say goodbye to a year in which the first biopharmaceuticals made from the feces of healthy people burst onto the scene and photopharmacology began to take its first steps, an emerging discipline that develops drugs that are activated by light and have no side effects. A year in which we move towards the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In short, a year full of good news. Is it or not to freak out in colors (a million shades if you are a trichromat and a hundred million if you are a tetrachromat)?
We do not doubt for a moment that in 2023 the good news will be at least as abundant. And from The Conversation we promise to tell you about them.