Too high hopes for 2018...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
A lot was supposed to be accomplished this year but all didn't end up as well as we hoped for. Here's just some stories that came to my mind this year, that should've ended better than they actually did.

Submitted: December 25, 2018

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Submitted: December 25, 2018

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A lot has happened this year. A lot has also almost happened this year, with varying amounts of success. The world left 2017 behind with anticipation about whether we’re going to face a nuclear war or not. So far so good. Even though January kicked off with the US President Donald Trump bragging about his nuclear arsenal in Twitter, causing the tensions between the West and North Korea to get even tenser. Most of winter and spring was spent watching a rather infuriating game of ping pong between these two and trying to decide whether or not Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were going to meet in person.

In June 12th this finally happened. In Singapore, the two leaders met while the rest of the world was anxiously waiting for some kind of agreement. The summit was historical and the result was the attempt to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear warfare, therefore giving humanity a small break to lay back and breathe. Now that it has been a few months, the summit doesn’t seem to have been so effective after all. North Korea is still planning large nuclear military bases, according to satellite pictures and it isn’t ready to give up nuclear warfare, unless the US does so too. This is not to forget that the people of North Korea suffer from corruption, famine, poor human rights and equality of life. At least some progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go before we can even talk about success.

Another summit took place as well. On July 16th Donald Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland. This was the first time the two officially sat at the same table to discuss their relations and held a press conference later. At the same time, several protests took part in Helsinki, like around other European countries during Trump’s trip to Europe this summer. The summit was a huge thing here, obviously, with Finns being a small nation and being located next to Russia yet not being in Nato, maintaining good relationships with Putin is important, as is with the US, because they are our allies.

A lot was expected from the summit, but it ended up as a disaster with Trump saying he technically believes Putin over his own intelligence agencies. Later he clarified he should’ve used a double-negative sentence, technically saying he thinks Putin is lying to his face. No matter what actually happened in 2016 during the elections, one thing is sure: that did not go well for Trump. The whole world pretty much saw live how Trump betrayed his own country. I don’t know what the deal with Putin is in this one, but that doesn’t give much trust to Trump. Let alone when he a few days later corrects his not-too-amazing grammar. And yes, I’m not the one who should talk about grammar here because mine is nowhere near perfect, but maybe Trump could’ve proofread his speech or even thought about how he said the sentence. You’re talking to the whole world right now. Check twice and maybe use easier grammar than double-negative since that seems to be too hard for the President of the United States.

Probably the most discussed issue in the whole world this year, was the #MeToo movement that started a little over year ago. The past year, dozens upon dozens of people have come forward saying, yeah, me too. Sexual abuse and harassment has been a major theme in workplaces, schools, sports, religion, politics and entertainment. Women and men both have talked about their experiences with sexual misconduct and we have just scratched the surface of the problem. Most countries nowadays are supposed to be equal, yet women are paid less and treated worse than men. For too many people, sexual misconduct is a part of their everyday-life. That shouldn’t be the case, because everyone should be allowed to rule their own body. Unfortunately, the problem at hand is wide ranged, spreading to every part of society.

Probably the most well known person this year to talk about this, was Christine Blasey Ford. She’s a Professor of Psychology and a research psychologist. In September of 2018, she gave a testimony about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. According to her, Kavanaugh had assaulted her during their teenage years. The United States, and the rest of the world, was divided between these two parties. Some believed her, some didn’t. Some didn’t even care about her testimony, but labeled Kavanaugh as unfit for the Supreme Court for his temper tantrum he threw during the hearings in September. Whatever the case was in the end, Kavanaugh was elected to the Court, causing an uproar in the mostly-female population of the Earth.

One thing that caused people to take to the streets and protest, was gun laws. Valentine’s Day this year was not about love but rather violence and sorrow. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, witnessed a school shooting, killing seventeen people and injuring another seventeen. This wasn’t the only school shooting this year, nor was it the first one that caused people to protest, but this time it was different. It was the teenagers that became the voice for stricter gun laws. The protests didn’t happen only in Florida, but many other took place across, the country, even abroad. NRA was criticized greatly and so were politicians allowing gun laws to be so lenient.

The youngsters did make a difference. Many states made changes to their current gun laws, but nothing really happened on a federal level. What was even more concerning to many people, crazy ideas came up. Things like arming teachers is ridiculous, in my opinion. Schools aren’t places to carry guns. That distances teachers and students, but also creates a safety risk. Nothing stops a teacher going haywire and starting a massacre. Likewise, nothing stops a student from snatching that gun and shooting their classmates. So far, changes have been made, but the gun laws are still an issue that needs to be dealt with. At the same time, it is empowering to see young teens like myself demand change. Many of them might not be allowed to vote or run for office in an election, but they matter, and their voices matter. They are a part of society, and it’s the adults’ duty to make sure the teenagers and children are protected for they are the future.

With summer nearing, most of the world got some good-ish news, yet annoying ones. If you have used the Internet, you’ve probably noticed the “We value your privacy” emails and other notifications that filled your inbox in 25th of May this year. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an European regulation created by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. And no, if you don’t know what those are, you don’t necessarily have to, in case you’re not an EU citizen. Technically, they run the European Union. GDPR was made to let regular people know how their data is used by enterprises online. People are allowed to know what information is collected about them and how it is used.

But what if I’m not an EU citizen? Why do I have to read annoying emails that I don’t want to? Am I somehow subject to EU bureaucracy? The answer to that is yes, and no. You can just ignore the endless emails, but GDPR is in all its annoyingness a good thing. It’s to make sure no business or whatsoever, misuses your personal information. GDPR is mostly to protect EU citizens, but international businesses and corporation that do business in the EEA countries are subject to it. A good example is Google. It’s an American corporation, but EU citizens like myself, use it on a daily basis. I have the right to contact Google and they are required to tell me the information they have of me, how they are using it, and if they are giving it away to a third party. Google has had privacy issues before and the European Union has fined it for those problems. In today’s world, it’s important to know what’s out there about you. Therefore GDPR is a good thing, even if it was coming out of everyone’s ears the first few days after it went into effect.

The summer was a hot one this year. It has been a trend the past decades that summers get warmer and that was noticed this year in many parts of the world. It started in May here in Finland, and here if it’s hotter than 20-ish degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), everyone goes crazy. We had classes outside, I even went swimming in a lake early, which I never do because the water is freezing. Overall, it was a nice touch to May, which is a nice month in my opinion.

Heat waves are nice, but not in everyone’s opinion. Especially when heat strikes countries like Finland and Sweden where we aren’t used to extreme heat. We don’t have air conditioning in most homes, because it’s usually not necessary. It’s way more important to keep from freezing because that’s more likely to happen here. Heat waves are a danger to especially young and old people, who don’t have the energy or abilities to cope with such dramatic changes. Dehydration and heat strokes caused emergency rooms to fill up with people. Heat waves also cruelled Japan and the Northern America, along with the rest of Europe.

While forest fires are a part of natural life cycle, they went rogue this summer in many areas. What was unusual, was the Arctic circle’s condition. Places like Northern Canada, Siberia and Lapland, suffered from the largest fires those areas had had in ages. That is unusual, and we can blame poor raking for those fires, or we can look at climate change, which was another megatrend this year and will be in the future.

On October 8th the IPCC released its report on current climate change, demanding the world to keep the atmosphere from warming up beyond the feared 1.5 Celsius. There are still people, Donald Trump included, that don’t exactly see this as an issue. Climate change is seen as something that might become reality in the future, but now it’s the time to do something about it. I’m not here to explain what are the consequences of that 1.5 degree warming; you should know by now, if you’re not uneducated. I’m not here to even tell how you’re a bad person and you should cut down your carbon emissions. I’m just here to say, that those fires, along with the ones California faced a few weeks ago, are things that will occur even more frequently unless we actually do something. That requires not only us as individuals to take action, but also leaders and politicians to be examples in their own behavior.

The year is now ending with the US government shutdown, due to Trump’s ridiculous wall plan. The wall is a good idea on a thought level, but in reality? The wall would need 24/7 surveillance to actually work. It would need to be like the Berlin wall, with barbed wire and armed guards to keep people out. Not only that, but Trump is not taking into account the fact that people can come to the country by boat, for example. They can dig under the wall. They can climb over it. It’s not going to be cost effective to have the wall monitored all the time, and if it’s not, the wall isn’t going to keep people from getting in. If you really want into a country, a wall isn’t going to stop you. The current amount Trump is demanding right now, isn’t going to pay all the costs actually securing that border would require. Not to ignore the fact that the wall isn’t an easy option when there is a river on the border with quite large mountains covering some of it as well. A wall is also going to be vulnerable to natural forces like rainfall and earthquakes. It would need constant repairing and overall, it wouldn’t be effective.

This has been a rather depressing year, with lots of expectations towards different people but little to no success. We haven’t reached the solution to world peace or tackled down climate change. We haven’t solved our own social issues or maybe even our personal problems like many of us wanted a year ago. People still kill and hurt other for no real reason. People are still ignorant and that is something everyone does at times. Humanity hasn’t grown much and all we can do is hope we get something actually done the next year.


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