2020 has dealt us some very challenging days. However, there are plenty of silver linings if we think back and take a closer look.
To say 2020 has been tough would be a massive understatement. When the world turned upside down back in March, millions of us had to reorganize, rebudget and rethink everything. Amid the chaos and uncertainty, though, there have been countless uplifting stories of resilience, adaptability and positive change. Scores of businesses and educational organizations have shown incredible ingenuity in pivoting to find new ways of retaining customers and keeping students engaged. At the same time, people have slowed down to read and relax or discovered new activities and pursuits to get healthy, feel upbeat and remain occupied or get to the “honey-do” list of chores they'd been putting off.
Meanwhile, the internet is buzzing with guides for upgrading skills, from home improvements, languages and musical instruments to dance, crafts and online courses. People are changing their shopping habits too, buying locally and trying out new recipes, as well as exercising in their homes and local parks. What's helped many of us cope is the rapid rise of video collaboration.
Better connection than ever
As demand for staying connected became greater than ever this year, video went stratospheric, giving people the freedom to continue working, studying and being socially active in the face of unprecedented disruption caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Our children have also benefited due to video offering teachers the tools to provide online lessons to those learning remotely. Consequently, numerous schools can now maintain their curriculums uninterrupted and keep their classroom communities vibrant, contributing to safeguarding the professional future of the next generation.
Throughout history, several world-shattering events have ended up helping unite and shape all of us, regardless of who we are or where we live. Although we're not all equal in terms of material wealth or social status, for the first time possibly ever, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in everyone experiencing a shared commonality. It's opened people's eyes to various situations, circumstances and conditions they may not have ordinarily noticed, acted on or imagined previously. The lockdowns have prompted many of us to pause for thought and gain a greater perspective on our lives, jobs and fellow human beings. People have, therefore, not only used this unparalleled period to reach out and reconnect with others but also enjoy time in beautiful locations or relish just walking around their neighborhood or community.
More family time together
For families, it's brought about increased interaction by allowing them to spend more precious time with each other. Whether that's sitting down to eat lunch, bake or play games together on a weekday morning or afternoon, people have been able to partake in things they wouldn't typically do then due to work, school or additional commitments.
Many people have found that video has enabled them to engage with family and friends much further afield too. Nowadays, it doesn't matter how far away anyone is thanks to video collaboration making it super easy to connect and chat. Hence, regardless of geographical location, relatives of all kinds have been able to meet – some for perhaps the first time in ages – to catch up, reminisce or hold quizzes, etc., over Zoom.
Positive planetary impact
Environmentally, the effects of people either not being able to travel as much in 2020 or that video collaboration has meant they didn't need to have had a hugely positive impact on our planet. As governments try to contain the extra spread of Covid-19 by relocking down cities and countries, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions continue to decrease. Our oceans, rivers and waterways look cleaner, the air fresher, the smog gone, the haze dispersed, and wildlife is filling our open spaces.
There have been accounts of coyotes roaming the deserted streets of LA, herds of elephants grazing near what were once busy roads in India and dolphins reappearing in the canals of Venice, Italy. After years of failed attempts, there was even the successful mating of Le Le and Ying Ying, two giant pandas who naturally bred when their zoo in Hong Kong was closed to the public. With flights and all other forms of transport suspended or severely reduced, our carbon footprint, besides our invasion of natural habitat, is lessening each day we remain housebound.
Like we're witnessing, our absence is something the natural world seems to be relishing, which is undoubtedly a valuable lesson to society as a whole when it comes to dealing with climate change and discussions about how we can all be more sustainably responsible.
Do you have any silver linings?
Obviously, we recognize that 2020 has been a devastating year of loss for many, with masses of others struggling to make ends meet due to markets collapsing or people experiencing a huge dip in their income. Still, as we said, there have also been plenty of uplifting stories, so we hope sharing them with you will bring some cheer.
What are this year's silver linings for you? If you have any positive stories you'd like to share, why not tag us @neat_no on social media and tell us. We'd love to hear them!