It is all starting to come into Global focus

By Nigel Tate: Political Columnist

No one could have envisioned the shocking events of 2020, but if there is any silver lining, it is certainly a year of reflection.

2020 simply did not hold back . The year started with rising tensions between the US and Iran, as Trump ordered a drone strike, killing General Suleimani. This was then followed by the bushfires in Australia, resulting in the deaths and injury of three billion animals. To finally end with the current pandemic outbreak from Wuhan, and mass global protests fighting for equal civil rights. Many have compared this year to the ‘apocalypse’, and wondered what the remainder of 2020 has in store for us.

Instead of worrying about what is coming around the corner, these events alone are symbolic that institutional and political reform are needed to avoid these outcomes from ever happening again. The Paris Agreement provided a sense of hope, as it is a shared worldwide effort to tackle climate change. All countries under the agreement aim to prevent the global temperature from rising well above 2°C and the EU, in particular, seeks to cut 40% of their CO2 emissions by 2030. Unfortunately, we are expected to see rising temperatures with Trump believing that climate change is a “hoax” and intends to leave the Paris agreement as early as November 2020. This will possibly lead to a rise in natural disasters, such as bushfires, prolonged droughts and flooding.

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Climate change was not the only international drawback in 2020. The death of George Floyd triggered mass BLM protests across the world. The BLM movement was formed in 2013, but is perhaps prevalent now as the sickening murder of George Floyd struck a nerve with the black community, since it signified their daily struggles. When comparing the differences between black and white communities in the US, we can see that black people are ‘30% more likely to be pulled over by the police’, ‘are twice more likely to be unemployed’ and ‘make up 40% of the prison population’. The global impact of George Floyd’s death, along with countless of other victims, represents that this is no isolated issue. These disparities are a result of deep rooted systematic racism, and therefore by tackling it (as well as other forms of discrimination) we can all initiate the process for further social change. The peaceful protests in the UK have led to some successes, for instance, the removal of slave trader statues ( such as Robert Milligan) marks a historic moment as the UK recognises it mistakes from their colonial past.

Demonstrations are happening around the world. Photo: Markus Spiske

2020 has simply foreshadowed what the world would resemble if we do not enforce change now. Our national government has a moral duty to protect and serve all its citizens, and this can be achieved by addressing both social and environmental issues. It may not seem like it but combating environmental problems, such as improving the level of the Earth’s biodiversity, could potentially limit the break out of new diseases. We must also understand that we live in a democracy. Thereby, we can make a difference by getting involved in political movements and using our right to vote.

Cancel 2020’ has been trending, but without these turning points, the world would continue to move blindly. Sadly, a hopeful 2020 seems far-fetched, with the recent devastating explosion in Beirut and Lebanese politicians in hiding. People are asking two questions, will we ever recover from this year, and more concerningly, what is next?