2014 will be a momentous year for Blue & Green Tomorrow. At its end, we’ll celebrate our fourth birthday with friends old and new. But it will be an even more momentous year for the UK, Europe and wider world. Will sustainability become mainstream in a pivotal year? We fervently hope so.
2014 will be the UN year of both family farming (literally farms owned and run by families) and crystallography (the arrangement of atoms in solids).
The Chinese year of the horse will see Bulgarians and Romanians free to travel to and work in other EU countries. Russia will host the winter Olympics at Sochi near the Black Sea, with recent terrorist activity creating a nervous atmosphere for the games. We’ll watch the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Tour de France in Yorkshire, the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and Youth Olympics in China.
Afghanistan, post-Mandela South Africa, Colombia, the world’s largest democracy India, Brazil, the US (mid-terms) and the 28 countries of the EU will all vote for either their parliaments or presidents. Voter turnout across Europe has fallen from 62% in 1979 to 43% in 2009, allowing non-mainstream parties to secure a greater share of the seats. The make-up of 2014’s European parliament may throw up some very interesting personalities and debates.
Scotland will decide if its future is within or without the United Kingdom it its independence referendum in September. The Better Together campaign seems to have the upper hand, but the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn, aforementioned Commonwealth Games and annual festival might just give the independence/yes team a boost. The dream of a Scandinavian-style social democracy committed to greater equity and sustainability, may end for a generation, but devomax will surely follow. Whatever the Scottish people decide, it will the right decision.
June will see the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which set in train the events leading up to the first world war, with the UK marking its August declaration of war on Germany at the white cliffs of Dover. Another kind of German-related event entirely will be November’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will be published in 2014 and Peru will host the UN’s annual climate change summit at the end of the year. The US and UK will finally end our 13-year involvement in Afghanistan.
2014 matters in another way as well, in that it precedes the pivotal year of 2015. It should be a year of concerted national and international action.
2015 is the year we risk power shortages in the UK, according to Ofgem, and the final international negotiations to replace Kyoto will take place. The hard work in 2014 is to address those two issues before it is too late. 2015 is also the year all UN states committed to meet the eight millennium development goals (MDGs).
Action to address pollution, resource scarcity, energy supply and the MDGs has been uneven and too slow considering the challenges we face. To secure a blue and green tomorrow, where the planet, its people and our economy are sustainable, we need concerted action yesterday. But 2014 is what we have.
We hope political, business, community and campaigning leaders step up to the plate. We hope individuals understanding their responsibility in changing their way they invest, consume and vote. We hope domestic shortsightedness and parochial distractions will not hamper that essential progress.
Happy New Year.
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