All The Ways 2020 Made History
On December 31st, 2019, Wuhan reported that doctors were treating a cluster of pneumonia cases, which had been caused by a mysterious, unknown virus.
Less than two weeks later, on January 9, the city confirmed that a 61-year-old man was the first patient to die from the disease. Unbeknown to the west at the time, it would be the virus that would tear apart life as we once knew it.
Fast forward 12 months and, at the time of writing, more than 74 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded globally, and 91 countries across the world have, at some point, implemented lockdown restrictions.
While some parts of the world managed to contain the virus, both the UK and the US have struggled to stall its spread. On December 2, the UK became the first country to approve a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the fastest to be made in history.
His final words, ‘I can’t breathe’, would become the rally cry of protests across the world.
The mass organisation of demonstrations globally, in spite of the pandemic, hammered home the urgency of a problem that had finally hit its breaking point; systemic racism continues to exist in our societies, and it is killing Black people.
On November 30, somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 farmers gathered at various border points on the way to Delhi to protest new agricultural laws that could destroy their livelihoods.
Arriving both on tractors and by foot, the huge turnout was monumental yet unsurprising, given that agriculture is the primary source of income for around 58% of India’s 1.3 billion population.
Under Narendra Modi’s new laws, farmers will be able to sell their goods to anyone for any price, a move which the prime minister said will increase market competition.
However, it dismantles the current framework, under which farmers sell their goods at their state’s Agricultural Produce Market Committee. This guarantees farmers a fair profit, as they must get at least the government-agreed minimum price.
As we rang in the new year, much of the headlines in the UK and US were dominated by the Australian wildfires, the devastation of which killed an estimated 1.5 billion animals.
In total, the fires damaged more than 4.3 million hectares of conservation land, and at least 2.45 million hectares of agriculture.
The damage would not stop there. Additionally, the fires released 400 megatons of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.
This could have contributed to another record surpassed in 2020; this year the Earth’s temperature reached new heights. November 2020 was documented as the warmest month in history since records began.
It is not surprising then, that elsewhere in the world the Earth’s biggest iceberg was pictured crumbling in the Antarctic.
In the same month, the world’s last known white giraffe, which resides in Kenya, was fitted with a GPS tracking device to protect him from poachers. The decision to track him comes after the only female of this kind and her calf were killed by poachers in March.
This year also changed the fate of Kaavan, dubbed ‘the world’s loneliest elephant’, who had spent the last eight years alone in a zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.
His story, which even gained the attention of Cher, who helped move the elephant to a new sanctuary, made headlines in December after he was finally rescued from the zoo and taken to a sanctuary in Cambodia to live out the rest of his days surrounded by the company of other elephants.
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