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50 years of good news: 1970s

Words by Smiley Team

For the last 50 years, Smiley has served as a beacon of positivity as the company has encouraged the world to 'Take the Time to Smile'.

In celebration of this huge milestone, Smiley's book – Smiley: 50 Years of Good News – takes a look back at moments in history that gave us a reason to smile. 

So, what good things happened in the world in the 1970s? We take a look. 

[Read the full story: 50 years of good news]


Ocean Conservancy Is Founded 

The Ocean Conservancy works to promote a healthy oceanic ecosystem through advocating for policy implementation, confronting climate threats, protecting endangered habitats from the Arctic to Florida, and cleaning up the trash that pollutes waterways and harms wildlife. One of the earliest accomplishments was to establish the Whale Protection Fund, which protected the species from commercial whaling and in 1982 saw a victory when the International Whaling Commission finally banned the practice. 


The World’s First Timebank 

First started in Japan by Teruko Mizushima, a timebank allows participants to barter their time and labor. Work for a certain number of hours helping others, and instead of money, you’ll build up time credits in your account that others will use to help you.


Habitat for Humanity Is Founded 

Habitat for Humanity believes that every person is deserving of a decent, affordable, safe place to live. To achieve this vision, the nonprofit organization works in local communities in over seventy countries around the world and in all fifty U.S. states to build and improve homes with the help of volunteers. To date, Habitat for Humanity has helped over 35 million people build, rehabilitate or preserve homes since it was founded in 1976.


Portugal Becomes First Country to Abolish Death Penalty Completely 

When Portugal adopted its new constitution in 1976, it became the first country in the world to completely abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Denmark soon followed suit with the same ruling in 1978. Then came Luxembourg, Nicaragua and Norway in 1979. Since Portugal’s bold modern move, more than seventyfive nations have completely eradicated the death penalty, while many others have abolished it for ordinary crimes. 


Grameen Bank Spearheads Microcredits 

Community-based banking initiatives underline the effects of organized people power. When Grameen Bank first began making small loans known as microcredits to an impoverished region of Bangladesh without requiring collateral, this became a force for change in rural communities, by empowering women to help manage investments and make a real impact for their families. Grameen Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and by 2015, the bank’s total borrowers numbered 8.8 million, 97 percent of whom were women.


The Great Green Wall of China 

The Great Green Wall is China’s plan to help combat deforestation, designed to counteract an ever-expanding Gobi Desert by planting some 88 million acres of forest. With a wall stretching about 3,000 miles across northern China, the project is set to continue until 2050, when 100 billion trees will have been planted and one-tenth of the country dedicated toward tree growth.


U.S. Supreme Court Rules Affirmative Action Is Constitutional 

In 1978, a groundbreaking case about racial discrimination in higher education called Regents of University of California vs. Bakke was tried before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case found that universities were not allowed to implement racial quotas in the admissions process, meaning no applicant could be excluded from consideration because of race.


​​George Soros Establishes Philanthropic Open Society Foundations 

As one of the world’s leading philanthropists, George Soros has given away over $32 billion of his personal wealth since establishing the Open Society Foundations in 1979. The society includes over 120 national and local foundations that work to support individuals and groups fighting for justice, equality, accountable governments, freedom of expression and more.

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This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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