Top 9 of 2019: Top Events

Sid Ram and Gabriel Ascoli

Image courtesy of Washington Post

9) Fire (Amazon, California, Australia)

In 2019, we saw fires destroy millions of acres across several continents. Wildfires displaced many families from their homes in California. The fires caused millions of dollars worth of damages and came close to destroying historical sites like the Reagan Presidential Library. The Amazon Rainforest on fire also caught the eye of millions of people around the world in 2019. Rather than wildfires, the Amazon was set ablaze on purpose in order to clear land for grazing animals. Brazil received backlash for not cracking down on the farmers who were setting the fires and destroying the rainforest which provides a significant amount of the world’s oxygen. In late 2019, Australia made international headlines for its bushfire. The fires have unfortunately destroyed the natural habitats of a beloved Australian native, the Koala. The bushfire still burns today in early 2020.

Image courtesy of Slash Gear

8) 737 MAX

After two deadly crashes, the new variant of the Boeing 737 dynasty, the 737 MAX, was grounded worldwide. Boeing faced severe blowback for their oversight and alleged negligence when designing the new aircraft models. In an effort to make the planes more fuel-efficient, Boeing decided to add newer and larger engines to an aircraft model that already sits quite low to the ground. To remedy this problem, they moved the engines further up into the wing which would create a change in the way the aircraft handled when compared to its predecessors. Boeing installed software to keep the handling similar, however, the software would on occasion fight the pilot for control of the aircraft. While a simple touch of a button could turn off the software, many pilots weren’t trained to do this because Boeing, in an effort to save training time, didn’t make pilots aware of this change from previous models of the 737. As a result of the 737 MAX groundings, Boeing has lost a lot of money and public trust in the aircraft. In late 2019, Boeing CEO stepped down.

Image courtesy of Axios

7) The Pope visits the Middle East

In what the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called “The Year of Tolerance”, Pope Francis of the holy roman catholic church made a memorable trip to the UAE. The pope brought with him a message of peace and coexistence. Pope Francis is the first pope in history to visit the Arabian Peninsula. The visit shed light on religious intolerance both in the middle east and around the world and demonstrated that everyone can and should exist peacefully with one another.

Image courtesy of Pallet Enterprise

6) US/China Trade war

For the past year and a half, economic relations between the United States and China have been quite fragile, and this is largely due to the trade war that has been waging this past year. As the economies of both countries continue to grow, each country, obviously, wants to sell products made in their country to further boost their economy. The way that the US has been doing this is to impose tariffs, or taxes on imported goods, in order to encourage consumers to buy American made products. The United States has set Tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of chines products, and in response, China has set tariffs on $110 billion on US products. This past year, some compromises have been made to lessen Tariffs on Chinese goods if China agrees to buy more United States products. While tensions are still high, hopefully, they will continue to decrease in the new decade.

Image courtesy of Telegraph UK

5) LGBTQ+ Rights Expanded

2019 was a landmark year for LGBTQ+ rights with Taiwan, Austria, Ecuador making same-sex marriage legal. In addition, several religious institutions worldwide began to recognize same-sex marriage in 2019. While there is still much to be done, much progress was made in 2019.

Image courtesy of Axios

4) Trump Impeachment

Accused of abuse of powers of government office and violating public trust, President Donald J. Trump was impeached this past December. After the transcript was leaked, it was revealed that President Trump held a 15-minute long telephone call with the leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. In this phone call, Trump attempted to bribe Zelensky to investigate the son of his political rival Joe Biden, who’s name is Hunter Biden, who conducts lots of business in Ukraine. Trump suggested that this action would occur “quid pro quo,” meaning that everyone would get something for their actions. While Trump has been impeached, he has not been removed from office, so he is still president. The decision is still up to the Senate as to whether or not remove President Trump from office.

Image courtesy of New Republic

3) Greta Thunberg and climate protests

As the climate crisis becomes more urgent and more and more people are getting involved, a massive movement of youth protesters has swelled up in the fall of 2019. A particular Swedish 17-year-old girl with autism called Greta Thunberg sparked the movement, as she began protesting completely on her own, with her famous quote “Skolstrejk for Klimatet” sign, or Swedish for “school strike for the climate.” The movement, Fridays for Future, involved students and other youth taking off school on Fridays to go protest on the fact that not much is being done by the government to decrease carbon dioxide output and to reduce the impacts of climate change. As Fridays for Future continues to grow, protests will still be held in 2020.

2) Government Shutdown

At the beginning of 2019, the United States experienced the longest government shutdown in US history. When funding legislation to finance the government at the end of 2018 failed to pass, all government agencies were forced to pause until the government re-opened. This included everything from National Parks, to Museums, even to companies like NASA. Furthermore, millions of people who worked for the government were forced to stop working for those several weeks — without getting paid. As you can imagine, this immediately sparked fiery protests for the entire time until the government eventually opened again in late January.

Image courtesy of NPR

1) The United States women’s soccer team wins the World Cup

The States won its fourth win in the world cup of women’s soccer. This particular win is pretty historic, particularly because it happened in the middle of several lawsuits, where many female soccer players were complaining that male soccer players earned much more money, despite the women’s soccer team being much more successful, as shown this year during the World Cup. This has become a large feminist issue this year, and hopefully, it will reach salary equality between men and women for jobs everywhere, not just in sports.