Happier New Year. Is that asking too much?

If I could sum up 2021 in one word, I would have to say ‘Stagnant.’ “Having no current or flow and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence.”

I remember this time last year. 2020 had been such a disaster, the worst year ever for many people. And we approached 2021 with such hope. New Year being a time of change and renewal, things would surely get better. And while things are certainly different now, I would be hard pressed to use the word ‘better.’

This time last year: The vaccine rollout had begun. In descending order of age, everyone waited eagerly for their number to come up. Get a shot, then three weeks later, get another. Then the three weeks became six, then eight, then twelve. They were barely giving the vaccine to 20 year olds and suddenly everyone needed a booster. Six months between 2nd and 3rd shot, again descending order of age. Then suddenly, 3 months is fine and it’s open to everyone. The NHS website crashed under the demand. The NHS itself came ever closer to crashing too.

This time last year: We were in lockdown. For the first quarter of the year, we stayed home as much as possible. This year, we’re not in lockdown, the restrictions are minimal. New covid cases are 4 times what they were last year, but generally not as severe. And we’re staying home as much as possible, either because we have covid, and are home sick; we’ve been exposed to covid and have to isolate; or we don’t want to get covid and know all it takes is one idiot who won’t wear a mask.

This time last year: The US nearly lost it’s democracy to mob rule. To be fair, they are prosecuting and convicting the rioters, the underlings, the foot soldiers. But as they try to go after the instigators, to call those in power to account, they are met with “Not gonna testify, You can’t make me, How dare you accuse me, My records are private, Etc, Etc.” A Professor in Canada has said that the US, on it’s current track, could be a right-wing dictatorship by 2030. That seems a reasonable estimate.

I think 2021 has been a year of Exposure. None of the crises started this year, but we’re all coming to grips with how bad things have been for a while.

The Second Job scandal in the UK parliament exposed the level of corruption in government, and more importantly, the level to which MP’s felt entitled to that corruption. Changing the rules to make their greed allowable, even necessary; who could live on £82,000 year, all the while cutting benefits to the poorest by £20 per week.

COP26 happened in September. It did nothing to help the Global Climate Crisis. It did expose how little the world leaders actually care about climate change. Boris Johnson, Chair of the Conference, took a private jet from the conference to have dinner with a climate change denier, then took the jet back to the conference. That really sums up the achievements of COP26.

I think we’re all starting to recognise the importance of the Climate Crisis. The scope of it is daunting. It’s like having to organise a landfill; It’s too big for one person to make a difference.

There was really no unadulterated good new in 2021. Even stories that in earlier years might have been inspiring were met with derision. Three Billionaires went to space, on their own money. Space exploration used to be met with wonder and excitement. Now, honestly, couldn’t they spend their money on something, anything else? They have enough money to end hunger. Easily. With no real effect on their lifestyle. They choose not to. (Deep breath. I will revisit this topic at a later date. The math is both fascinating and infuriating.

So here we are in 2022. The problems of the world have (I hope) been laid bare and it’s not a pretty sight. Climate Crisis, rise of Right wing nationalism, healthcare crisis, wealth gap, growth of extreme poverty, government corruption, corporate corruption. It’s bad. Where do you even start?

Now is the time to look to our leaders for action, guidance, a vision of a better, fairer future.

Oh, Right. Our leaders are almost all old, rich, white men who don’t care about the future as their money will insulate from any consequences of their actions or inactions, and they’ll be dead before these problems come to a head as long as the status quo is maintained.

I think I see a place to start.

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