by Allyson Koerner
Categories: .
Photo: Flickr/law_keven, Beagle Freedom Project, Flickr/UK_repsome Flickr/VideoPhotoholic

Can you believe 2012 is almost here? Well in order to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to the New Year, here are some of our top “feel good” moments. Now, we know it’s hard to have just one favorite, let alone 10, but we’ve managed to narrow it down, so we could share a few of these heartwarming moments with you. We include everything from serious world issues to trespassing seals. Enjoy!

1. Baby Seal Conks Out on Couch
What could be more warm and fuzzy than a baby seal curled up and sleeping on a sofa? This month, a tiny seal pup managed to squeeze through a cat door for a night’s rest at a woman’s home in New Zealand. So cute, you just want to squeeze him!

2. Sea Shepherd Ends Whaling Early in Southern Ocean
This year, another effort was put forth by anti-whaling activists the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to save whales. They said sayonara to whaling early in Japan in the Southern Ocean, after many, and we mean many attempts for whale safety.

3. Celebrities Chip in to Help Japan
The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan this past March rallied support from around the world; including a large portion of the Hollywood community. Gwen Stefani donated $1M, musicians created one of the largest charity albums of all time, Justin Bieber donated his hair, and so much more.

Beagle Freedom
4. Beagles Rescued and Freed from Research Lab

When you put beagles, animal rescue and freedom all together, you get one heartwarming moment. In November, 72 beagles were rescued from a research laboratory in Spain, freed and put on a list for new homes. Watch the beautiful video of these pups enjoying grass, sunshine, and actual space for the first time.

5. Gabrielle Gifford’s Favorite Charity Raises $18,000
The moment Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s was shot and almost killed in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011, people joined together showing their support. One memorable way was when $18,000 was raised for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in only seven hours, after her husband mentioned it in a statement.

6. Revolutions in the Middle East

It was hard not to pay attention to the news coming in from countries like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia this year. People protested in the streets against their corrupt governments, even when military forces were used against them. There is a reason Time Magazine named this year the year of the protester. Using Twitter and Facebook, people were able to gather and organize in ways unprecedented in history. We can only hope that with the exit of leaders like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi comes a new crop of politicians who will work to rebuild and make the countries great.

Matt Damon Santa7. Matt Damon Gives a Verbal Bear Hug to Teachers
Matt Damon took some time out of his acting career and Water.org work to give a speech to teachers that brought many to tears at the “Save Our Schools March.” He said, “Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.” Damon’s passion for public education and appreciation for teachers rang loud and clear. Educators all over the country sent it to their friends and colleagues.

8. Rejection of Keystone XL Pipeline
Oil, shmoil. Environmentalists were relieved to hear when President Obama didn’t approve the Keystone XL Pipeline and delayed it, until further information was gathered. Robert Redford also expressed his gratitude for the delay against big oil and the decision to protect America, our clean energy future and our health.

Kate and William Engaged
9. Kate Middleton and Prince William, No Wedding Gifts Please

It was the Royal Wedding of the year. If you live in the U.S., you probably woke up at the crack of dawn to see Kate Middleton walk down the aisle to her prince charming, Prince William. Besides the glitz, glamor and hype, one detail stood out and that’s when Kate and William asked donations be made instead of wedding presents. Their generosity raised more than $1 million.

10. Gay Marriage Legalized in New York, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed

June 24, 2011 will be a day to remember as New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage! Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and District of Columbia all permit gays and lesbians to wed. Another memorable movement was when President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” disbanding the policy that required men and women to hide if they were gay. It hasn’t always been an easy feat, but slowly, and maybe too slowly, we are making headway for gay rights!

About Allyson Koerner

Allyson Koerner first found her love of writing while attending Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and that passion evolved while she was earning her Master's in Print & Multimedia Journalism at Boston's Emerson College. She's an experienced writer dabbling in all things vegan, green, entertainment and TV-related. Feel free to keep tabs on her over at Twitter: @AllysonKoerner.

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