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.