New year, new decade, new outlook

2020 represents another decade and a next chance at “better”.

Eventually it will serve as another starting point in the linear timeline of history, but today it is a blank slate with few restrictions. It will be what humankind makes it.

Although the 2010s are almost too recent in memory for a complete reflection, this won’t stop people from trying, including a brief attempt here.

One of the largest changes we noted this past decade was the increasing adoption of all things smart. Amongst other obvious benefits it has allowed users to navigate the web orally, start a car, set the heat in their home and keep watch of that home while at work. The increases in convenience have been spellbinding.

The employment of social media with catchy hashtag slogans and captivating memes compelled many people to climb aboard a cause or two. From presidents to premiers to advocates for social issues, Twitter users embraced the notion that answers to complex subjects could be distilled down into an average character count of 33. The downside to such immediacy online has been the assassination of reputations – to such an extent that reputation management is now a discipline paid for by those under threat or being questioned.

The quest for truth remains under fire as more governments (including dictatorships and free world democracies) establish communication branches that resemble the Ministry of Truth as outlined in George Orwell’s novel 1984. Dissatisfied with the free press and the serendipitous flow of news, hired guns (in some cases posing as bona fide journalists) spin stories and embellish yarns to communicate the governing power’s version of reality.

Villains and threats continue to plague society, whether that be the latest pandemic fears, the climate crisis, pending financial crises or horrible people who prey on others. Fear abounds, just like in previous decades where crises paralyzed thought rather than fueled the drive for innovation and solutions.

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Where the Earth will sit in 10 years when some poor scribe sitting in this chair starts to reflect on the 2020s is anyone’s guess. Some ideas come to mind. Perhaps this decade decisive leadership will emerge on the issues of our times, rather than the diffident approach that leaves problems being re-hashed over and again without resolution.

Rather than talking about climate change, constructive actions should be taken to limit the impact of our consumer lifestyles on the environment. And no, a carbon tax isn’t the only option to raise awareness or force changes in attitudes. Humans should be prepared though, for some inconvenience.

Maybe this is the decade that corporate welfare ends and companies making gigantic profits actually pay their fair share.

And hopefully it is a decade where the titans of the internet come under regulation, so they contribute to the economy rather than just skim the cream off the top.

2020 is a fresh chance to make things better for everyone.