Annus Horribilis? Looking on the brighter side of 2020

Photo by UN-aligned design team

2020 has certainly been an Annus Horribilis, with plagues, floods, fires, terrorist attacks and wars, but it wasn’t all bad… In the sciences for instance, vaccines to fight the coronavirus were created in record time. In business, SpaceX ferried astronauts to the International Space Station in the first commercial flight of its kind. Here are some of the success stories from 2020 with regards to human rights and animal welfare.

Human Rights

True, there is not much to write home about here, but there have been some really positive and ground-breaking moments, nonetheless. In the US, President Trump was voted out and despite his frantic attempts to undermine democratic processes, he failed. President-Elect Biden, has already made his commitment to human rights and the environment abundantly clear and his appointments to strategic posts testifies to his resolve. These include Deb Haaland, the first Native American to lead a Cabinet-level agency (the Interior Department) and Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet secretary to be approved by the Senate (Transportation Department). Moreover, Biden’s running mate, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, will be the first woman, the first African American and the first Asian American to hold the post.

LGBTQ rights reached other milestones in several parts of the world. Same-sex civil partnerships or marriage were legalised in a number of countries and states, including Costa Rica, Montenegro and Switzerland, while some banned forced conversion therapy, including Germany and Albania. Also, the film industry continued its trend of openness with regards to LGBTQ characters and plots. Marvel and Disney, for instance, recently announced that two of their protagonists (Guardian of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord, Peter Quill, and Loki in the Disney+ seies) are going to be cast as bisexual. On a more sombre note, homosexuality was decriminalised in Gabon and Bhutan, while Sudan lifted the death penalty for homosexual acts. Finally, Pope Frances surprised the world by stating that he too supported same-sex civil partnerships!

Animal Rights

2020 has actually been a good year for animal rights. The coronavirus brought a mixed bag of good and bad results. On the one hand, lockdowns around the world gave animals and their habitats a welcome break from detrimental human activity, but on the other the pandemic meant that animal welfare and environmental protection were pushed at the back of the queue when it came to funding and national priorities. Still, many of the amazing images shared by news agencies and social media of animals spilling into urban areas and waterways will stay with us for a long time and may jog us (one can but hope) to do more with regards to habitat and environmental protection. However, 2020 did a lot more for animals than just that, with a wave of animal friendly achievements. These included:

  • A rise in cruelty-free diets. A UK survey conducted by Applewood, for instance, found that 20% of respondents were committed to a vegan Christmas dinner
  • The opening of the first vegan butcher in London, which was so popular that it struggled to keep up with demand
  • The first commercially available lab-produced cruelty-free meat which hit the market in Singapore
  • The multiplying of vegan alternatives to meat and dairy and their availability in leading supermarkets
  • The commitment of more and more fashion brands, including Prada, to stop using animal fur
  • The rediscovery of the elephant shrew that had been considered extinct as it had not been spotted for 50 years.

Of course, there was a lot more to cry about! Still, 2021 is here and with it the hope of better times to come…

Take ownership of UN-aligned

Unlike most organisations, UN-aligned is, primarily, its members. We are the New United Nations and though just a drop in the ocean, for now, we will carry on growing until we will become a force to be reckoned with!The more of us there are, the more chance we have of achieving our aims. Help us by promoting membership to you friends or to people you think have similar values. If every member added another, membership would snowball and we would be unstoppable!We also need active members: people who roll up their sleeves and contribute to the work of the organisation. Some already have, for instance, by writing articles for The Gordian, or offering to help with proofreading.

No matter what you can do, we want you. Write to us with your talents and we’ll make it work. 
The Gordian

Fair’s Fair: Entitlements Are Not Charity

No one needs to be poor. There is plenty for all of us! This is not utopia; this is a fact. In this second issue of our new Utopia series, we will be focusing on poverty and its elimination. Of course, our coverage does not end here. The March issue offers a wide range of insightful pieces by Partho Pratim Chatterjee, Pradeep Kumar Chatterjee, Elvira Ineza, Atika Harba, Carla Pietrobattista, Alex Liberto, Dinojah Patkunarajah, Dawn Roy, and Omar Alansari-Kreger. The editors are Adrian Liberto and Ariana Yekrangi.

Read The Gordian for free

The Gordian Magazine is a community-supported magazine that shares YOUR revolutionary ideas in regards to human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. Every issue contains global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography and insightful companion pieces.

We promise not to spam your inbox. Find how we use your information.

Or become a free member.

Subscribe to The Gordian Magazine
The Gordian Magazine is a community supported magazine that shares YOUR revolutionary ideas in regards to human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. Every issue contains global news, opinions and long reads accompanied by striking photography and insightful companion pieces.

UN-aligned uses cookies to make this website better.