The last war in the entire Western Hemisphere has just ended.

UPDATE 10/3/2016: On Oct. 2, 2016, the Colombian peace deal was narrowly struck down by voters, leaving Colombians in shock. Both sides have vowed not to go back to fighting, however, meaning an era of peace is still expected.

As of September 2016, there are no more wars in the Western Hemisphere.

Yep, that's what I said. Read it again if you need to. The entire Western Hemisphere — also known as 50% of the planet — does not have a single war zone.


That's the Western Hemisphere on the left. The whole left. Photo via CIA World Factbook/Wikimedia Commons.

So that's cool.

When the president of Colombia and rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri brokered a peace deal on Sept. 26, 2016, the only war happening west of the prime meridian came to an end.

For decades, Colombia has been engaged in a civil war. Not one war exactly — but a rotating series of insurgency groups and guerrilla movements that have taken arms against the Colombian government for over 50 years.

The last of those groups, called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, signed a peace deal with President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The agreement will need to be ratified by voters, but the vote is expected to pass easily.

Both men wore white and shook hands as the Colombian crowd chanted, "Long live Colombia! Long live peace!"

Photo by Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images.

A simple handshake ushered in a new wave of peace for Colombia, and an unprecedented era of peace for (one half of) the world.

No matter how cynical you are, half the planet being war-free is a pretty inspiring milestone — though, of course, there are some caveats.

For one, lack of officially declared wars doesn't mean complete peace. Colombia and Mexico still suffer from drug violence.  In fact, after a three-year decline, homicides tied to organized crime in Mexico have been sharply increasing.

There's ongoing political unrest in Venezuela that, just recently, sent 30,000 protestors marching into the streets.

Government protestors running from the Venezuelan National Guard in 2014. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Here in America, we've officially ended our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but still have a military presence in the Middle East. In fact it was just announced that more U.S. troops would be headed to Iraq in the continuing fight to stop ISIS. We've also faced too many mass shootings, police killings, and domestic acts of terror recently to even keep track of.

Photo by Laura Buckman/AFP/Getty Images.

The world is far from being free of problems and conflict, but things don't change overnight. It took decades for Colombia to find a peaceful solution to their conflict, and it was no small accomplishment when they did.

News like this is a reminder that the problems of the world can come to peaceful resolutions — that step by step, handshake by handshake ... we can make the world better and safer.

It's just in time too. Because you've probably been hearing a lot of this lately...

Whether the culprit is ISIS, guns, terror, hackers, nuclear China, or "the cyber," it sure can seem like the whole world is one small step away from becoming a dangerous back alley filled with machete-wielding murderers who want to steal our jobs.

In reality, things are looking up: global poverty is down, world hunger is down, and life expectancy is up.

Whatever metric you want to use, things are looking pretty good for humanity.

Achieving "world peace" has always seemed like a bumper sticker slogan or a pipe dream, but ... that's always been kind of the point.

Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images.

Maybe we'll achieve that seemingly impossible goal one day, maybe we won't. I don't know if, in our lifetimes, we'll wake up one morning and find out that every war in the world has ended.

All I know is we woke up one morning in September 2016, and we were already halfway there.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
popular

Funny how a 'new' male problem is a very old problem for women. Amy Poehler explains.

Not many people are brave enough to talk back to the guy who co-created "Chappelle's Show" when he says something kinda clueless. But not many people are Amy Poehler.

Men struggle to comprehend the pressures women feel. The same is true of women!

Gah! We'll never get along.

This conversation between comedian Neal Brennan and Amy Poehler is a pretty good example of how hard it can be to figure life out sometimes.

Neal, the genius who co-created "Chappelle's Show," sat down with Amy for his show "The Approval Matrix." The topic? WHAT are men supposed to be now? Cool? Adorkable? Both? Neither?

Keep Reading Show less
via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

Keep Reading Show less