Congratulations. You’ve survived 2020. Mentally, we’ve all aged 12 months and 437 years but we made it.
It really doesn’t feel like the time to see the glass as half full, or to make lemonade out of lemons, but I’m going to try anyway. It’s been a year like no other, and as difficult this year has been, we’ve also seen huge wins for environmental, societal and cultural sectors. Here are ten seemingly random, but all very important, things that actually went right in 2020.
In November, the University of Manchester finally crumbled to the student rent strikes and powerful protests and granted students a 30% rent reduction refund. The University has said that this total reduction equates to approximately four million pounds, which was the largest rebate ever secured by a student body. Additionally, this resulted in rent reductions all over the country, with universities such as Liverpool and Bristol following suit.
Read between the lines:
In the first week of lockdown many of us decided that we’d educate ourselves, become better people, and save the world with all of this free time. I’m not sure how well that went, however some of us took a greater interest in literature. In the first week that shops reopened after lockdown, almost 4 million books were sold in shops. This was a 31% increase in the volume of sales compared to the same week in 2019.
Scotland made period products free for all:
Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free to all this year. Local authorities in Scotland now have a legal duty to ensure that everyone has access to these products. Period poverty is something that Labour MPs in Scotland have been campaigning against since 2016. Inadvertently, this campaign lessened the stigma surrounding the subject, allowing younger girls to feel less embarrassed about their periods. Killing two birds with one tampon.
Green through and through:
The world truly has been healing this year. With clear waters in Venice and some species of endangered animals experiencing a rise in population, nature has been having a well deserved break from humans. During February, Dublin became the first capital city to cut all emissions in their postal service. With plans to roll out the scheme across all cities across Ireland by the end of the year.
Parasite won best picture:
I know everyone’s been telling you to watch this film during 2020 and that can be annoying, but you really need to watch this film. Honestly. Not only did it push cinematic boundaries with it’s amalgamation of genres, becoming a beautiful Frankenstein of comedy and thriller. It also became the first non-English language film to take top prize at the Oscars this year. Director and producer Bong Joon-ho is truly a genius.
The highest voter turnout in 120 years:
A projected 161 million Americans came out to cast their votes between Biden and Trump this year. A truly divisive election, people across the world came together to ensure that Biden won the electorate. With a possible 239 million Americans eligible to vote, this means 2020 saw a 66% turnout rate, the highest since 1900. It’s encouraging to see people taking politics into their own hands, with the trend in modern history being that turnout rates have slowly dwindled over the years.
Kazakhstan became the 88th nation to formally commit to abolish the death penalty:
The death penalty is an archaic form of judicial punishment, that has no place in modern society. During September, Kazakhstan vowed to help put a stop to capital punishment and joined up with a host of countries that denounce the death penalty. The Kazakhstani United Nations representative proudly said that their nation had taken a step to “to fulfill a fundamental right to life and human dignity,”.
There’s water, but in Space:
Does the water on the moon taste better than regular water? An interesting question that I’m sure that you’ve asked yourselves many times before, and one that we became closer to knowing the answer to in 2020. Previously an unknown variant of water, scientists have now confirmed that the lunar liquid found could be sustainable. An amazing feat of technology, and could mean that we’re sipping that sweet moon juice sooner than we thought.
Laws on Gay and Bisexual men giving blood were relaxed:
Previously, in a surprisingly medieval perspective on blood donation and relationships, Gay and Bisexual men were required to abstain from sex with other men for three months prior to their donation. Thankfully, during the Summer this law has been overturned. Those that are currently in relationships of three months or longer can now donate blood. This further deconstructs stigma surrounding sexual activity, not that it’s any of your business anyway.
The first Koalas were released back into the wild:
Following the devastating bushfires earlier in the year, a handful of precious marsupials were rescued and nursed in captivity. In recent months, some have made the journey back to their habitats. The most touching part of this story is that some of the koalas were even returned back to the trees that they were rescued from. I bet that was surreal for them. According to the executive director of Science for Wildlife, there has been loads of new growth due to the heavy rain season. Happy munching you loveable tree bears.