As 2016 came to an end, it was clear that so many were eagerly waiting to step out of its doors. Throughout the previous year, there were many things that occurred that we really need to learn from. On a global scale, it was a year of heartache for far too many.
It’s important to not just forget about the past mistakes but to strive for a year of much more improvement (it’s certainly needed).
Here are a few things we all should learn from 2016. From events that need to be acknowledged, to disasters that need more awareness, all that way to an Earth that needs some serious love and attention.
Voting Is SO Important
In 2016 we saw Donald Trump become the elected president of the United States.
Yes, I know – It’s certainly not something I was happy about either.
The most important lesson to learn from this particular election, is just how important it is to vote. No matter who you vote for, what party you support or whether you like any of the candidates for that matter, you must vote.
Only 57% of America’s eligible voting population turned to the booths in the 2016, resulting in a president who let’s be honest – is more of a celebrity than a politician.
If everyone were to show up at the polling stations, not only would the results be different, but the candidates would also be forced to change their strategies in attempts to win over the entire population.. Rather than just those who they know are actually going to vote.
Refugees Need Our Attention
There are millions and millions of people fleeing from havoc and desolation every year. Whose lives have been torn apart; who have lost entire families, their homes and a valuable life – who are constantly abused, neglected and mistreated by those with so much greed.
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
No matter their heritage, religion or backgrounds.. Every person matters.
Youssef: ‘In prison they interrogated me, they punished me, beat me and tortured me. They poured boiling water on my legs and used a bandage to pull off the skin. I said to them “what do you want to know? I will tell you anything.” They made me sign a blank piece of paper and swear my allegiance to (Bashar Al) Assad. Then they started to beat me… until I thought I would die. When the guard came closer I spat in his face. So they put me on an arm chair. They tied my hands and my legs and my chest with a belt. They pulled my head back using my hair, forced open my eyes and put a cigarette into each eye… After that the blood started and I didn’t see anything’. Today Youssef is blind. He has 5% vision in his right eye. He is homeless, hopeless and has been forced to leave his family behind. He is just one of tens of thousands of refugees who are stuck in Greece desperately seeking help. If you want to find out more about how to support individuals like Youssef then please take a look at @helprefugeesuk. They are doing incredible work providing aid and support to the front lines of the refugee crisis in Greece, Paris, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.
You Never Know When Death Will Appear
There was a lot of death in 2016. From very well know and appreciated celebrities, to innocent civilians devastated by war.
It was a terribly sad year, but if there’s one thing to take away from it, it’s just how precious life is – and just how quickly it can be stolen from the palm of your hand.
War Isn’t Over
Tens of thousands of innocent people died in Aleppo this past December. The death toll reached 500,000, and that’s just in Syria alone.
We can’t keep turning a blind eye to the death of thousands of innocent people, even if they’re in a country we fear. They need our help in times of war and destruction. But as we saw in 2016, unfortunately, they aren’t receiving it.
Discrimination Is Something We Desperately Need to Address
In twenty-sixteen we saw People of Colour being murdered by law enforcement, terrorist attacks in places we thought they’d never occur, Islamophobia divide ‘multi-cultural’ countries, refugees being mistreated in places that claim to be safe, and once again, a sexist and gender biased man become the president of America.
Although many of these events may seem to be inflicted by certain stereotypes, we really need to look past the fear. At some point we need to learn from our past; Segregation and slavery was the most damaging part of human history. We all know about it..
Do we really want it to happen again?
Climate Change Is Here to Stay
The first half of 2016 showed the warmest 6 months on record. With temperatures the highest they’ve ever been, we really have nothing to blame but ourselves and our ignorance.
The second half of the year showed record-breaking temperatures over the Arctic, resulting in extreme ice cap loss and a rise in sea levels by almost 4mm. The increase in ocean temperature caused extreme precipitation around the world and very unusual weather conditions to take place.
Climate Change is here to stay if we continue to ignore the unmistakable signs.
We Need To Learn From Our Mistakes
Use all of the negative things that happened in 2016 and make them your motivation. The negativity, injustice, discrimination, and death are the things that should empower you to search for change, rather than revenge.
Always have positivity for the future, without it there’s no hope.
So! Lets strive for a year of far less destruction.
Remember to be kind and compassionate, to stand for things that matter, and to care about everyone on this earth – and the earth itself.
Take a terribly bad year and turn it into one that’s great.
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