It wasn’t all bad in 2020, I promise
Despite everything depressing that happened in 2020, the year was still full of silver linings. Maggie John presents some good news that you might have missed.
There’s no denying that 2020 was an awful year and one I’m sure none of us want to experience again. However, whilst it was full of tremendous suffering, pain, loss and disappointment, there have been several moments which were truly amazing and heart-warming and certainly reason to be optimistic.
2020 has been a very significant and arguably positive year in terms of the environment.
In April, Sweden and Austria closed their last coal-fired power stations, marking a significant milestone for clean energy not only in those countries but also in Europe, with several other European countries expected to follow suit.
There have been significant efforts of “reforestation”. According to The Times, woodland now represents 10 per cent of England, 15 per cent of Wales, eight per cent of Northern Ireland and 19 per cent of Scotland, meaning that the UK’s woodland has now returned to medieval levels.
The biotech industry is working on an alternative to palm oil, which would significantly reduce deforestation and prevent the destruction of habitats.
Plastic cups will now be banned in all of India’s 7,000 railway stations and tea will be served in clay cups, which used to be used, in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced. In perspective, there are approximately 2,500 railway stations in the UK, meaning this change will make a huge difference. It’s important to remember that the small changes make the biggest difference.
2020 saw the world unite in many ways, from the fight against Covid-19, to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Throughout the first lockdown, people stood on their doorsteps clapping and cheering for the NHS and key workers, appreciating their efforts and saying a heartfelt thank you. When George Floyd was unjustly killed in Minneapolis on 26 May 2020, millions of people around the world united and gathered in protest. It made people think about their attitude and educate themselves too, which is very important and I’m sure its impact will be felt for years to come.
Throughout the first lockdown, people stood on their doorsteps clapping and cheering for the NHS and key workers, appreciating their efforts and saying a heartfelt thank you.
Closer to home, certain individuals stood out for their selfless efforts in 2020. Captain Tom Moore completed one hundred laps of his garden to mark his 100th birthday, whilst raising a staggering £32.8 million for the NHS.
23-year-old footballer, Marcus Rashford, launched a significant campaign to prevent children going hungry as a result of the pandemic, drawing on his own experiences as a child. The Guardian have described him as “a formidable voice for social justice”. He’s made a significant impact and he’s helped some of society’s most vulnerable people, whilst highlighting the inequality of our society. Matt Hancock had suggested footballers take pay cuts, but of course MPs did not.
None of us will forget that 2020 marks the year that Trump was voted out of office, after four years of bigotry and regression. I believe the new government consisting of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who is not only be the first female Vice President but also the first Black Vice President and the first South Asian Vice President, marks the end of Trump’s presidency and the start of a progressive campaign.
Whilst the arts have suffered significantly during 2020 and the Government have provided nowhere near enough support, the pandemic has meant that the arts have become more accessible. Previously, many plays or performances were reserved for those who could afford be to go back and forth to the theatre a lot. However one silver lining of the pandemic has been that people who could only have dreamt about going to watch Hamilton in New York have been able to do from the comfort of their own homes or were able to watch a quartet perform to 2,292 potted plants in the Barcelona Opera House.
2020 provided many people with an opportunity to essentially put their lives on hold and to figure out what they really want when the pandemic is over. Whilst I can guarantee none of us can wait for the day we never have to do another zoom quiz, it provided us with the opportunity to reconnect with old friends or family members we haven’t seen for a while and we probably ended up spending more time with our close friends (although virtually) than we would have done before.
When you’re constantly bombarded with bad news, like we have been so often in 2020, it’s very easy to forget that there are glimmers of hope, little silver linings and light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, none of us will ever forget that 2020 was the year the world shut down because of a global pandemic, but hopefully people will be to look back on 2020 one day and remember the unity and the positives too.