“May you live in interesting times!” is an old Chinese curse. It’s certainly been an interesting year, and now nothing will ever be the same again!
We’ve seen the departure of both Putin and Trump, in the same year, and although their replacements are still populists, they are ‘youngsters’ with a different political perspective. Perhaps liberalism is going to make a spectacular comeback in two of the most influential states on the global stage.
The opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics last summer was marred by Green protestors attempting to disrupt the Eiffel Tower light show, claiming that the event was 100% powered by “dirty nuclear energy” and condemning France for exploiting their EU neighbours by exporting “toxic power.”
Climate change is still an ever-present concern, but since the ‘new pause’ in the warming trend, the focus has moved from temperature targets to adaptation and mitigation. Carbon emissions are still rising globally, despite the solar power boom, and hopes of achieving net zero by 2030 are fading fast. Water scarcity is the new alarm call, and water-from-air technology (WFAT) the new investment craze.
Starlink has reached full capacity with over 10,000 internet satellites, and broadband connectivity has never been so affordable or ubiquitous. Literally billions of people have joined the online digital community in the last five years. It’s a new global consciousness, as well as the biggest market.
But perhaps the most memorable singular event of 2024 was the launch of the first Starship to Mars. Although there are no humans on board, Starship is carrying pre-settlement robots, 3D printers and fuel factories, to prepare the ground for future human missions. Also onboard is a new version of the social robot Sophia, loaded with sensors and programmed to simulate the experience of live Mars travel. May she land safely, and send back selfies!
Like 1969 and 1989, history will remember 2024 as the ‘year that changed everything’.