2018 was tough, and you would probably agree that the events that characterize this year have become somewhat of a haze. Nevertheless, it wasn’t all bad. We made some great strides this year across the board, especially in the entertainment world. The film industry saw a notable increase in diversity with movies like Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Oceans 8 that brought almost entirely Black, Asian, and female casts to the big screen, respectively.
In music, there was the release of Childish Gambino’s music video “This Is America” which addressed the absurdity of gun violence, police brutality, and racial discrepancies in the U.S. The video reeled in more than 453 million views on YouTube alone. Artists new and old also made their mark this year, with Cardi B’s hit album Invasion of Privacy and Ariana Grande’s hugely influential Sweetener. While we experienced the birth of lots of new music, we also mourned the loss of music legends like the beloved “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin.
The royal family also did a considerable job entertaining us this year with the birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge, son of Prince William and Princess Kate, and even more so with the marriage of Prince Harry and biracial American actress Meghan Markle.
This past year also saw major events in the realm of tech, both in progress and controversy. Two major tech giants, Facebook and Google, came under scrutiny after their privacy scandal and the exploitation of user data, raising new conversations in congress about how the internet and online privacy should be regulated. Elon Musk also made headlines this year by sending a Tesla into outer space and launching a production rate of 2,000 cars per week, all amid diving stock prices and mounding controversies.
In politics, we saw perhaps the biggest shifts all year and some of the government’s biggest changes since the 2016 election. In this year’s midterm elections, the Democrats were able to regain control of the House of Representatives. On the side of protests, the #MeToo movement— which brings to light sexual harassment and assault— also reached its climax this year with prominent individuals like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby facing serious repercussions for their history of sexual misconduct in an industry where the behavior was ignored. The movement came to a head during the Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who faced several allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
2018 also brought tons of media coverage in regards to immigration, most notably of a caravan of migrants from Central America who were set on making their way to the U.S. southern border. Thousands of Hondurans and Guatemalans walked an estimated 2,700 miles in hopes of a better life away from intense gang activity and massive poverty. What became an even bigger part of this year’s mosaic were the family separations that took place once the immigrants finally reached the U.S.
The issue of gun violence in 2018 felt unprecedented, with almost as many mass shootings as there were days. We saw the students from Parkland, Florida speak out for gun regulation after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. From this senseless violence came a movement for change, with the beginning of “March for Our Lives” to protest the NRA and move towards harsher regulations on guns.
Planet Earth had it hard this year too. This wildfire season was the most deadly and destructive on record, ravaging California and leaving over 1.8 million acres of land burned and more than 600 homes completely decimated. The Carolinas reeled under the torrents of Hurricane Florence which brought severe flooding to the coastal states. It was this year too that scientists told us we have just over a decade to get climate change under control before we reach the point of no return.
Although we have seen immense environmental hardship, we have also seen progress. The world’s first plastic ocean cleanup finally launched it’s invention this year, aiming to remove plastic pollution to keep our seas clean and ocean life safe. The US even shut down 22 coal plants in 14 states throughout the country, marking a new record and great progress for a cleaner Earth.
It hasn’t been easy over the past 12 months. Sometimes it got really messy. But, despite all of the struggles along the way, we have prevailed and done the best with what we were given. In 2019, let’s continue to fight to make the world a better place, and fight for the change we want to see.
by Robyn Forbes