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50 years of good news: 2000s

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 2000s? We take a look. 

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


Portugal Changes Perspectives on Drugs 

Small changes in the legal system can have huge repercussions across society as seen when Portugal decriminalized the personal use, acquisition and possession of all drugs, abolishing prison time and transforming a criminal issue into a matter of public health.


Timebanking Expands to the UK 

Timebanking UK was founded, and since then, million of hours have been exchanged, often to the benefit of those in dire need, such as refugees and the homeless. The result? A new global community of sharing and a new perspective on currency.


The Wikimedia Foundation Is Launched 

The Wikimedia Foundation launched in 2003 with the goal of maintaining an open-source online database of content for the public free of charge. In addition to its flagship online encyclopedia, dubbed Wikipedia, Wikimedia’s portfolio also includes Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, Wikiquote and Wikinews, among other projects.


Movember Meme Begins Awareness Campaign for Men’s Health 

What began as a meme encouraging men not to shave their mustaches for the month of November grew into an annual event that raises awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention, while also encouraging men to talk about long-stigmatized issues around their own well-being.


Organization to Help Educate Girls of Rural China Is Launched 

While China launched a mission in the 1970s to lift every member of its population out of poverty, the government has acknowledged that its efforts have fallen short in certain rural areas of the country. To combat this gap in resources, Canadian NGO Educating Girls of Rural China aims to help improve the quality of education through scholarship programs, mentorship, career planning, personal development, confidence-building and mentalhealth resources.


(RED) Launches to Contribute to the Global Fund 

(RED) was founded in 2006 by U2 front man and activist Bono, together with Bobby Shriver of the One Campaign and DATA, with the idea to engage business and people in the fight to end AIDS. As red is the color of emergency, the founders chose the name as a signal that they are there to help defend vulnerable communities from the world’s biggest health crisis. In 2020, (RED) has shifted gear to fight the urgent threat of COVID.


The Gulabi Gang, a Movement for Justice for Women in India, Is Formed 

With a central mission to protect women from abuse and fight corruption, the Gulabi Gang is a vigilante group of women between the ages of 18 and 60, donning pink saris and wielding sticks to confront abusers across India. The group empowers women and keeps a watch on their local communities, fighting instances of social injustice. 


Great Bear Rainforest Is Legally Protected Against Logging 

To protect the future of the Great Bear Rainforest ecosystem and its spectacular ancient trees and wildlife, the historic Great Bear Rainforest Agreement was reached, ultimately safeguarding over 7 million acres along the northern and central coasts of British Columbia.


Young Boy Recognizes Similarities with President Barack Obama 

In a touching moment that symbolized the echoing effects of electing the United States’ first Black president, five-year-old Jacob Philadelphia asked President Obama if they had the same type of hair during a visit to the Oval Office. Without hesitation, the president bent down for Jacob to touch his hair, who remarked, “Yes, it does feel the same!” 

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