On the eve of each new year I tend to start reflecting on how the year has progressed and I start to make plans and targets for the year ahead, but the urge this year has been much more powerful. The last few days I have spent my time watching the series by Professor Brian Cox called Human Universe, which explores human existence, Space and the possible future that lies ahead of our species. The last episode called “A Place in Space and Time” was particularly interesting and motivated me to write this New Year Eve blog post.
First let’s briefly reflect on how I feel this 2019 year has gone. Much of the first part of the year was the same as previous years and I welcomed new business degree students at my work to their studies and counted the days until the weather improved. The first few months of 2019 also orientated around helping plan my mother’s 60th surprise birthday party in London with my brothers. The party turned out to be a huge success and it was great to be around family and distant family friends, although the evening went like a flash. Before long the summer quickly returned and after the Easter break I started a long vacation, part of it spent in Alicante and short trips around the UK staying at various locations such as Highcliffe in Southern England and Ramsbottom in Northern England. Summer for me is always a chance to see something new, try new experiences but also a chance to visit family and close friends in the UK. Living in Finland is very secure and stable for me and my family, but as the summers are so short, we usually try to make the most of things by enjoying the nicer weather in Finland from late April and then breaks away from late June to August. The later part of this year focused much in staying in Finland and we decided as a family to have our first Christmas at home in Järvenpää with just my wife and two children. The Christmas went extremely well, and it was relaxing to enjoy the company of my wife and kids without the hassle of traveling around anywhere.
Looking ahead to 2020, a new decade, I have much the same basic plans as in 2019 - get started with new degree students at work and make plans for the summer 2020. However, next year there are bigger things happening that I feel I must briefly highlight in my New Year’s Eve blog. Firstly, there are huge milestone events planned for one of my big passions in the field of space exploration. In the summer of 2019 celebrations were held around the world for the 50yr moon landings, and I celebrated this milestone with mixed views as no man has been back to the moon since 1974. The year of 2020 could possibly see a huge advancement of human spaceflight if Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, NASA and Blue Origin get their way.
Secondly, the impact of climate change has been a topic frequently mentioned in the news, but very little concrete steps have been taken by governments to address these concerns. The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, will be held in Glasgow in November is most probably the last chance we have as a species to agree concrete practical steps for slowing down the effects of climate change. However, many do not want to hear this worrying statement - even many of you who are reading this blog post right now! How we as individuals can influence a big summit such as COP26, is very little, but what we can do is put greater pressure in big global companies and governments to take the matter more seriously. In the Brain Cox Human Universe series, extinction was highlighted as a natural process of evolution that enables another species to evolve, but humans have the potential to do something about their future unlike many other species. Newer technologies such as Fusion power and cleaner sustainable energies offer the potential to make some kind of positive impact, but greater investment is heavily needed now to advance these technologies quick enough to make the transition off fossil fuels. Therefore, the COP26 summit in November next year is a crucial moment for all of us and I really do hope something can be agreed by all governments to collaborate together. If there is no agreement, then I really do fear the worst, which in many cases will first lead to poorer nations suffering environmental catastrophe beyond repair and then onto the more richer nations affecting billions of people.
Although my thoughts sound a little negative there is still time for an international agreement to make the positive changes required and it is on that note I am going to end this blog post and stay optimistic for 2020.
I wish everyone a prosperous New Year.
Curious about the impact of space tourism in tourism studies? Read my recent e-signals blog post about the topic here: https://esignals.haaga-helia.fi/en/2019/04/08/the-benefits-of-space-tourism-in-tourism-degree-studies/
Credits: By News Now Staff February 18, 2019
“If there is a startup company and they’re thinking of starting in Porvoo, the costs are much cheaper, and there’s a cost advantage compared to Helsinki and Espoo” says Darren Trofimczuk, who lectures on international business, aviation and tourism courses at Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo campus.
Another advantage Trofimczuk explains, is that with a growing number of students from Asia, Finnish companies have local expertise on hand when they want to look at strategies for breaking new markets in China, South Korea or Japan. Expertise that comes at a fraction of the cost of big name consulting firms.
But one “game changer” he says, would be a train link from Provoo to the capital city region. It’s lacking right now, and although the motorway is fast – Trofimczuk drives it every day to and from work – he thinks better transport options would bring even more international companies, startups and students to the town. “If they had a train link it would change instantly. Porvoo is a very nice place, it’s one of the most beautiful places in southern Finland and there’s lots of tourists who go there just to see the old town. It’s just that getting there is a bit of a disadvantage compared to Helsinki and Espoo. It will always be seen as a negative” he tells News Now Finland.
Full article by News Now Finland can be found here: newsnowfinland.fi/startups-tech/porvoo-carves-a-space-in-the-crowded-startup-market
Before the UK 2016 EU referendum I debated with some family and friends living in the UK my reasons why I strongly believed the UK should remain in the EU, but after returning back to Finland from my holiday, I already had a strong sense that the referendum result was highly likely to vote leave. My worse nightmares and predictions came true on 24th June at 04:40 when the result was announced on BBC News. The result ruined the rest of my summer holiday and I struggled to process why many of my country men and women voted to leave-my nightmare had come true!
Over two years later I think I have finally accepted the result and I have now concluded a hard Brexit is most probably required to reset the mindset of the British nation. In my opinion the political system (class system) in the UK needs to be removed and measures put in place to help reduce the many people that live in poverty. In a recent Finnish Yle news article published on 26.01.2019 the title read "Broken Britain." The article is only in Finnish but in summary it stated “The UK is the 5th biggest economy in the world but one fifth of its people live in poverty including 4.5 million children! The Conservative government continue to deny the facts even when a recent UN report highlighted these truths.” https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10606354?fbclid=IwAR1-o7F-u-A57xydBHROu7pQfwjp49pomodO9kf67jqSGIGlj0yFcqOD8A8
In my opinion the constant denial by previous and current governments about these sad facts is so they can fill their pockets and support the elite. Many of the main campaigners supporting the leave campaign were from an elite group in UK society such as Jacob Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage. I have said this once before to those close around me but I really do feel the whole UK political system needs to change and move away from a system of unelected elites (House of Lords and Royal family etc), to a type of a republic/presidential style system. However, this can only happen when people have faced the realities of how these elite have no better solutions compared to what the EU actually offered the working class areas around the UK.
Therefore, maybe Brexit isn't such a bad thing if it does finally wake the working class people up to the reality of the small elite that have suppressed them all these centuries? Yes there will pain, increased poverty and possible public disturbances in cities around the UK, but in the long term the whole UK system might rebalance to a more fairer society? It is even possible if the EU political institutions in Brussels reform their bureaucracy, properly deal with migration issues and the big differences in fiscal policies between the northern and southern EU members, the UK may even one day rejoin back. There is a possibility Theresa May might get her withdrawal agreement passed before the March 29th Brexit deadline, but even this would still just delay the Brexit process until 2020. Brexit is therefore going to happen and possibly change the UK for good, but it will likely take a generation or two to fully go through the necessary changes to bare fruit. Nobody really knows what will happen, but I guess I hope something good will come out of this mess.