Senior Editor Shaun Britton gives us a summary of arguably one of the most unprecedented years of the decade. | Journal Exclusive
Photo by A Friend
Looking to Tomorrow
In the chill winter air, as the clocks struck midnight on New Year's Eve 2019, we did not just leave behind another year, but another decade. It was a decade that saw Donald Trump made US President, a decade in which we lost legends such as David Bowie, and a decade which witnessed tragic large-scale conflicts that shocked nations around the world. It was also a defining decade for awareness of climate change and environmental devastation.
Yet it was a decade full of hope, as people young and old across the world stood up for the planet and challenged single-use plastic. The decade also brought forward the #MeToo movement, saw more countries legalise gay marriage, and saw an estimated 327% rise in people ditching animal products.
Looking Forward, Not Backwards
Having the political leadership that we do in the face of the trials we must overcome, it would be forgiven to entertain some healthy pessimism. After all, there is concern that leaders like Trump either don't understand climate change at all, or actively dismiss it, with him and his administration steadfastly promoting coal and fossil fuel development.
"Yes, the danger must be growing. For the rowers keep on rowing. And they’re certainly not showing. Any signs that they are slowing." - ‘Wondrous Boat Ride’, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Boris Johnson neglected to take part in the televised party leadership debates on climate change in 2019, prompting the programme's producers to place a melting ice sculpture in his position on the panel. His plans to increase the number of flights to and from the UK were also unveiled in 2019, making reaching climate goals seem impossible.