2020 has surely been an interesting year from start to finish. Many things have happened this year and each one managed to climb the ranks in the attempts to make 2020 unforgettable in the worst way possible. This year will surely go down in the history books as a historical period in which human incompetence really shined through. 2020 put many things into perspective and emphasized how brittle and fragile civilization really is in the grand scheme of things. This has been a true test of abilities in a multitude of aspects, unfortunately we failed in almost every way imaginable.
It is hard to recap an entire year and go over all the events that happened in 2020 so this may be a little cherry picked to keep it somewhat condensed. It seemed like time was a standstill and everything was basically a blur, many notable things were forgotten due to the magnitude of other things happening worldwide. It is almost like living in a movie or wishing that you were actually on an acid trip and reality is still intact. This year had a lot of negatives but there have been some positives buried deep down. Regardless, 2020 has been a lot to digest so here is a recap of all the major events that happened this year.
2020 was the same year the Australian forest fires had occurred and this was also known as the Black Summer and it lasted until May 2020. The fires had started due to various reasons including human action and climate change which was the leading cause for this. As of 9 March 2020, the fires burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares, destroying over 5,900 buildings and killing roughly 34 people. The cost of dealings to tame the fire were an estimated 4.4 billion A$ and overall Australia took a massive hit in the tourism industry, with a reduce in revenue by more than 1 billion A$. However, economists estimated the bushfires may have cost over A$103 billion in property damage and economic losses, making it the country’s most expensive natural disaster to date.
The highest temperature in the Artic Circle was documented in a northeastern Siberian town with a reading of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius). The Arctic is one of the fastest warming regions in the world and is heating at twice the global average. The planet as a whole may be warming up but it is not happening evenly and this raises concerns in the scientific community as this abnormally may lead to fatal outcomes. This immense overall heat in Siberia, with temperatures up to 10°C (18.5 °F) above average in May made it a record for the entire Northern hemisphere and indeed the globe.
2020 was also the year of the California wildfire season which is a series of ongoing wildfires burning across the state of California. As of December 24, roughly 4,359,517 acres of land had been burnt which is equivalent to 4% of the total land. This makes 2020 the largest wildfire season recorded in California’s history encompassing about a total of over 9,639 fires throughout the state. The fires caused 33 deaths and 37 non-fatal injuries with an estimated damage cost of around $2 billion. The reason for fires at this magnitude was due to climate change, lack of controlled burning as well as arson.
Adding fuel to the fire or in this case the ocean, things get worse in terms of water pollution due to the Norilsk oil spill that occurred near Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. This began on the 29th of May 2020, when a fuel storage failed, spilling 17 500-21 000 tonnes of diesel fuel causing President Vladimir Putin to declare a state emergency. The fuel had flooded local rivers and has even been described as the largest Artic Oil Spill, worse than the 1994 Komi pipeline spill. The cleanup costed an estimate of 100 billion roubles (US$1.5 billion).
The Red Carpet
The entertainment industry sure had a lot going on in 2020, but the saddest part was the people who had been lost during this year. The death of Kobe Bryant (41) and Gianna Bryant (13) was on the 26th of January due to a helicopter crash caused by bad weather conditions. Then came the death of Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman (43) who died on August 28 due to cancer. The passing of guitar legend Eddie Van Helen (65) was a huge blow for many but he will forever be remembered as a rock icon. Alex Trebek (80) passed on November 8 having recorded 37 seasons of Jeopardy! making him a beloved game show host and television personality.
On a lighter note, Parasite won 4 Oscars and made history on the 10th of February. The film took home the most awards at the Oscars 2020 winning Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film and Writing (Original Screenplay). Parasite became the first non-English-language movie to win the Academy’s top award, marking this down in the history books. Bong Joon-ho who was the writer, director and producer of Parasite, paid tributes to others who were nominated alongside him as well as acknowledging Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino who were individuals he looked up to in the industry.
Later on May 4th 2020, Grimes gave birth to a healthy baby boy by the name of X Æ A-Xii. This would further cement the fact that Elon Musk is the most eccentric billionaire having named his child something so complicated and outlandish. The name would later go on to be trending on twitter as many questioned how it will be pronounced and speculations also rose regarding the meaning behind the name in general. Elon Musk is the closest person to a space cowboy, so this level of spontaneity is only to be expected by the CEO of SpaceX. Grimes would later hop on twitter to explain the true meaning behind the name of their child.
•X, the unknown variable ⚔️— ☘︎𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰࿎ (@Grimezsz) May 6, 2020
•Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence)
•A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent 🤍
(A=Archangel, my favorite song)
(⚔️🐁 metal rat)
Tiger King was released on March 20 and it seemed to be the only thing that kept people going. Later more people would get emotionally hooked to reality stars from Love is Blind that aired on February. 2020 was definitely the year for online streaming platforms even so Quibi which was an online streaming platform that generated content for viewing on mobile devices launched in April and unfortunately had to shut down in October making it one of the biggest fails when it came to the tech/entertainment genre.
2020 is also the same year in which Brexit really took form and the UK left the EU on the 31st of January (11 p.m. UK time). The UK entered a transition period until the 30th of June but that deadline was later extended until the 31st of December. During the 11 month transition period, the future EU-UK relationship would be discussed in the hopes to level the playing field. The agreement would focus on free trade in goods thus causing higher restrictions for trades between the UK and the EU. Major changes are expected to happen on the 1st of January 2021 depending on whether or not a trade deal is finalized and agreed upon.
Apart from Brexit, the term Megxit also cropped up on the 9th of January due to the intention of the senior members of the royal family, Harry and Meghan who both decided to leave in the attempt to be financially independent. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked everyone on January 8 when they announced they were stepping down as “senior” royals. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have relocated to Los Angeles with their son Archie in the attempt to continue their philanthropic works whilst still dividing their time between North America and the UK. The couple saw this to be the best decision for them and their son moving forward in the future.
2020 was also the year Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down by Iranian military on the 8th of January. This killed 176 passengers and crew members on board and this had occurred at the same time tensions were escalating between the US and Iran due to the Persian Gulf Crisis. Shortly after the crash, emergency responders arrived but intense fires prevented a rescue attempt and the plane had been obliterated upon impact. the reason behind the strike was said to be due to “bad communication” and “poor alignment”.
On January 16 2020, America was also facing a dilemma as President Donald Trump was facing impeachment charges. He was accused of withholding military aid as a way to pressure the newly elected president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. It was said that all this had been done in the attempt to secure reelection and prevent Biden from gaining support. Trump had been charged on the basis of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. However, he was acquitted of both charges on February 5th during the impeachment trial.
An integral part of this year was also the 59th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. This was a time in which many started to get a deeper grasp of the political system following the US elections. During the elections Joe Biden had won the electoral collage but the official news regarding the presidency was still at a standstill as Trump did not concede. This was later followed by a long legal battle on the basis of voter fraud in the hopes to switch the results before the inauguration day which will be on the 20th of January 2021.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency and on March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. The earliest case of COVID-19 was traced back to Wuhan, China in late December 2019 from a wholesale wet market and the virus was said to originate from a bat/ pangolin. This is the first time a global pandemic has been declared by WHO since the H1N1 influenza in 2009. For many this pandemic has been the defining feature of 2020 and it has altered the day to day lives of billions of people worldwide.
The pandemic has caused individuals all over the world to self isolate and quarantine themselves at home to reduce contact with others. This global lockdown has effected not only the global economy but also the livelihoods of many. Stricter lockdown regulations were put into place as the virus continued to spread and government officials were forced to have a national shutdown for all businesses at a certain point of time. By April 2020, around half of the world’s population was under lockdown causing over 3.9 billion people in more than 90 countries or territories to stay home and self isolate due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 has plunged the global economy into a worst recession since World War II. A large part of the economy is bound to experience a decline following the devastating effects of the pandemic. Interruptions in schooling and primary healthcare access are most probably going to have lasting impacts on human capital development. The Global Economic Growth is expected to shrink by 4.4% as predicted by The International Monetary Fund (IMF). The World Bank Group will be deploying roughly $160 billion in financial support over the course of 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor, support businesses, and cushion economic recovery.
2020 is the year of civil justice when it came to police brutality, following the death of George Floyd. He died at age 46 after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the reason behind the arrest was due to the use of a fake $20 bill. His final words stating that he could not breathe as he was being choked under an officers knee for nearly 8 minutes, would end up sparking a flame amongst Americans when it came to police brutality. Pedestrians would later record the entire incident and it was also recorded by the police bodycam. It was a brutal sight and the video will be forever engraved into the minds of those who watched it.
This incident would cause Americans from all around to take to the streets and protest in the hopes to make a change in the system. The protest began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020 due to civil unrest and lack of justice. Protests would later spread nationwide to around 2000 cities in over 60 countries. Polls in summer 2020 estimated that between 15-26 million people had participated at some point in the demonstrations in the United States, making it the largest scale protest in U.S. history. This would continue to go on as the policemen involved were not completely held accountable for their actions due to the presence of injustice and the trial for the police involved is scheduled to begin on March 8.
This battle against systemic racism would later escalate beyond a peaceful protest as some demonstrations would include riots and lootings. At least 200 cities in the U.S. had imposed curfews by early June and around 96 000 government personnel were activated making it the largest military operation other than war in the US. Looting, vandalism and arson between May 26 and June 8 caused and estimated $1–2 billion in insured damages nationally. This makes the entire ordeal the highest recorded damage for civil disorder in US history.
This moment of reckoning will be remembered for centuries to come and will act as a reminder for all regarding equality and the fight for abolishment of systemic racism. This was seen as the last straw and it was clear that people were tired of such a dysfunctional system. The people were given the power to speak and exercise their right to free speech and peaceful demonstration in the hopes to be heard and make an institutional change. It was a time in which people got together to fight against a common goal regardless of personal differences. This civil injustice is the starting point of what would be the largest organized movement in modern history.
It has been a crazy year and many things have happened, mostly negative things but there have been some miniscule moments of happiness for those who really looked for it. This year as a whole has been a blur but there have been many monumental things that have occurred this year as well. 2020 has been brutal towards everyone and has caused us to get out of our comfort zones. It has been a year of problem solving and critical thinking with many unable to stay above water and make the required changes. This year has challenged many commonalities that we often taken for granted, bringing a new light for the little things that are often overlooked.
As we approach the end of 2020, we can only welcome 2021 with raw optimism. Hopefully the next year will have a bit more positives than negatives as the ratio for 2020 has been a bit skewed. Hope is the only thing keeping many people sane during this troubled time but if history has taught us anything, it’s that we always rebuild from a catastrophe. Humans have advanced as a civilization beyond all the challenges and the same can be applied for the struggles of 2020. We will rebuild stronger from our past failures and learn from previous mistakes. 2020 is going to go down in history one way or another and we have managed to live through a historic period in human history.
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