How to raise kind kids, a booze ban, BTS at U.N.: Our top non-pandemic global stories

Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR

Our correspondent Michaeleen Doucleff's daughter, Rosy, at age 2, as she does dishes voluntarily. Getting her involved in chores did lead to the kitchen being flooded and dishes being broken, Doucleff reports. But Rosy is still eager to help.

Our top stories on the Goats and Soda blog in 2021 were mostly about the pandemic. But that’s not the only topic that made readers click.

Even as the world worries about COVID-19, people made time for other topics.

They definitely wanted advice on how to get kids to help out with chores. That was one of our top stories of the year.

They read articles about other worrisome diseases — like Nipah virus and cancer (and the role that alcohol plays as a cause).

And they wanted entertainment. Readers flocked to our story on the K-pop supergroup BTS speaking at the U.N. General Assembly and our commentary on the Netflix film The White Tiger.

From the 321 global health and development stories posted on our blog in 2021, here are 9 of our most popular stories not about the pandemic, ranked by pageviews.

Are we raising unhelpful, bossy kids? Here’s the fix

In some cultures, kids roll their eyes when asked to do chores. In others, they’ll pitch in without even being asked. Researchers have identified two key practices to raise helpful children. Published March 5, 2021

Alcohol use linked to over 740,000 cancer cases last year, new study says

Most people don’t realize alcohol consumption can cause cancer. A report in Lancet Oncology shows how big a risk factor it is for esophageal, mouth, larynx, colon, rectum, liver and breast cancers. Published July 16, 2021

Why the world should be more than a bit worried about India’s Nipah virus outbreak

A case of the virus in September, which claimed a 12-year-old boy’s life, sparked fears of a new outbreak in India. Researchers are concerned that the deadly disease has the potential to cause global outbreaks as well. Published Sept. 12, 2021

Why South Africa banned booze — and what happened next

The hope was that if people weren’t out drinking, they wouldn’t be spreading the coronavirus. There were unforeseen benefits to the ban, which ended in March — and negative impacts as well. Published April 16, 2021

She owes her big environmental prize to goats eating plastic bags

The demise of the bag-consuming herbivores led Gloria Majiga-Kamoto to push for Malawi to enact a ban on single-use thin plastic. Her activism won her a 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize. Published June 23, 2021

Research sheds light on what’s killing young people, especially boys and young men

Globally, boys and young men made up two-thirds of all deaths among young people in 2019. A new report finds that many such deaths in this “neglected” age group are preventable. Published Nov. 19, 2021

Malala Yousafzai’s interview in ‘British Vogue’ sparks anger in her native Pakistan

The Nobel Peace Prize winner posed for a cover portrait and spoke openly in an interview. One of her remarks about marriage prompted vitriolic responses on social media in her homeland. (Although, she did end up getting married in November!) Published June 4, 2021

BTS spoke at the UNGA. And that wasn’t the only surprise at the U.N. event

The appearance of the popular boy band from South Korea was one of many unexpected moments at the U.N. General Assembly — everything from a U.N. TikTok to a groundbreaking food summit. Published Sept. 21, 2021

What Indians who’ve known poverty think of Netflix’s ‘The White Tiger’ movie

The movie, based on an award-winning novel, traces the unlikely journey of a poor villager in search of wealth. Does it ring true to those who know what it’s like to be poor in India? Published Jan. 29, 2021

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