Despite all of the triumphs and success and confidence, we must not lose sight that the world is not perfect. And the 2010s taught that as well.
The barrage of natural disasters that shook the decade, destroying homes, lives, and livelihoods, were a terrible trauma.
Beginning with the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which stole an estimated 100,000 to 316,000 lives in an already decades unstable and poverty-stricken country. With so many lives lost and so much damage accrued to buildings and homes, numerous Haitian relief efforts sprouted from the despair.
Grief raged on with the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which many students may remember watching clips of in class when teachers tried to discuss the horrors. The natural disaster resulted in 15,899 deaths and 2,529 people missing. In response, 116 countries and 28 international organizations sprung to assist the country that would go on to feel after effects of the tsunami even today.
The 2015 Nepal earthquake also destroyed 8,964 lives, leaving 3.5 million Nepal citizens homeless with entire villages flattened after avalanches from Mount Everest and the Langtang Valley. Several organizations, such as the Red Cross and the Médecins Sans Frontières along with countries like the U.S. and India rushed to assist Nepal, aiding in rescue efforts as well as reconstruction.
In 2018, the Sulawesi earthquake resulted in 4,340 dead and 667 missing after the natural disaster triggered a tsunami. Despite the number who passed, nearly 71,000 people were evacuated, saving thousands more lives. Indonesia immediately jumped into action to perform widespread aide to its own citizens.
Among other heartbreaking natural disasters were the events of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Sandy, as well as Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Harvey, that had cost $125 billion in damages; Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico, Dominica, and St Croix, leaving 3,059 fatalities and tens of thousands displaced, without electricity, food, and water; Sandy, an event that resulted in 233 fatalities and rallied the U.S. to provide relief, with countless charitable donations to victims of Hurricane Sandy; and Yolanda, where 6,352 lost their lives and 1,071 went missing.
Acts of terrorism, including public shootings, grew during the 2010s; but so did action against those inflicting such pain on others. Protests rose up in response, and a unanimous feeling has been felt that something must be done.
Elsewhere in the world, Venezuela suffered an economic collapse, with over 10 million percent inflation; a crisis that is still ongoing and has caused over 4 million refugees.
In Hong Kong and elsewhere, civilians are being abused, punished, and killed for protesting and speaking their truths.
Despite all of this terror, all of this grief, all of this anger and sadness–let it stand that people help each other. People are kind.
Let 2020 be a beacon of hope. Let the 2020s be the decade we do something.