“The older you get, the quicker the years pass by” my colleague observed the other day. “Did you know that according to some contemporary historians, the most important year in the twentieth century was 1979? I do remember that year well and it seems like yesterday,” he continued. “It was the year of the Iranian revolution; the overthrow of the Shah of Iran; the end of the Sino-Vietnamese War; the independence of Malta; Greenland granted limited autonomy from Denmark; and the opening up between the United States and China – just to mention some of the most important events on the international scene marking our time.”
1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II arrived in his native country, Poland, on his first official visit. It was an event that is now considered “the nine days that changed the world” and that brought about the solidarity movement of the Polish people in their opposition to the regime that Stalin had bequeathed them. Who does not remember Lech Walesa and the Gdansk shipyard where it all started?
Forty years later, we have now seen the breakdown of the former communist states, the emergence of new independent states, a couple of financial crises, the disappearance of former Marxists and Communist ideologies replaced by neo-liberalism and extreme consumerism leading to global economic crises, social unrest, devastating wars and huge refugee problems. Geopolitics and economic interests now take precedence over everything else. We have seen the terrible disasters in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya… just to mention a few.
Yet, in other parts of the world during these last decades, many people have attained a higher standard of living than earlier.
« If we look back on 2019, what would be the most striking event? » I asked.
“Perhaps one of the things to be remembered about 2019,” my colleague said, « is the emerging of collective conciseness about the disastrous state of our planet. Although some politicians say that there is no planetary warming, the people are starting to act like responsible citizens, and they are acting, make no mistake about it, » my colleague continued.
We see more and more examples of circular-economy-driven concepts in television ads, making people aware that we do not have to possess everything; it’s possible to rent. Every day we see on television, through their ads, that big companies are moving in this direction too.
People of all ages have now become climate activists, and are fighting against plastic and all types of litter. They walk, they cycle, they recycle, and they try to reduce their consumption as much as possible. It has even become possible to recycle one’s clothes and furniture. Therefore, we are definitely seeing the emergence of new orientations in society, with, we hope, more social justice and solidarity.
So, on these rather positive notes, and on the early beginning of 2020, I would like to thank you all for reading our articles and wish you all a happy 2020.
Just bear in mind that a new year is a new start, like book full of white paper pages to be filled with lots of positive actions and happenings. We should never forget that, as Aristotle noted, “It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.”