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(or at least the past five years or so)
Rioters outside the US Capitol building holding US flags and "Make America Great Again" flags, 6th January, 2021 - Wikipedia
In this crazy world of the 2020s, I wasn’t sure which image to go for. There was the SARS-2 virus (Covid-19), Trumpist rioters storming the American Capitol building,or a knocked out Russian BMP-3 military vehicle in Mariupol, Ukraine. I decided to go with the rioters, because it was the least depressing of the three images, and it represents the strange post-truth conspiracy-theory-ridden world of the 2020s, represented for a while by the cult of personality around Trump, who is now mostly forgotten in the short attention span world of digital media.
The Present, or in this case, since I’m using increments of ten, zooming in on the present moment, the last five or so years, is characterized by ongoing and rapidly changing events, including existential crises such as climate change, political polarization, and economic inequality. This period is marked by ongoing technological innovations and the growing interconnectivity of the global community, as well as increasing speculation about the future of humanity and the world.
As we zero in on the present, events become less historical and more contemporary and current. This timeline begins in 2016, and continues to the present
- Paris Agreement (2016) - A legally binding agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by 195 countries, to combat global warming and adapt to its impacts.
- Brexit (2016) - The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on June 23, 2016, leading to the country's withdrawal from the EU in 2019.
- US Presidential Election (2016) - Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016, defeating Hillary Clinton.
- Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (2017) - Three powerful hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast in the summer of 2017, causing widespread damage and loss of life.
- Syrian Civil War (2011–present) - A civil war in Syria that began in 2011, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, and widespread destruction.
- Covid-19 Pandemic (2019–present) - A global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
- Black Lives Matter Protests (2020) - A global movement to address racial injustice and police brutality, sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
- Capitol Hill Riot (2021) - A riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, in which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election results.
- Tokyo Olympics (2021) - The Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 to August 8, 2021, following a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched (2021) - the largest optical telescope in space, the JWSTwas launched on 25 December. A primarily infrared telescope, it can observe the first stars, the formation of the first galaxies, and detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.
- Russian invasion of Ukraine (2022) - On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and has instigated Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II.
- ChatGPT released (2022). On 30 November, 2022, ChatGPT was released, one of a number of parallel developments in AI, making possible a huge boost in creativity and productivity for those like yours truly who are able to utilise it.
- Earthquake in Turkey (2023) - On 6 February, a 7.8 Richter scale earthquake strikes Gaziantep Province in southeastern Turkey, with an aftershock occuring on the same day in nearby Kahramanmaraş Province. Widespread damage and at least 43,000 deaths are caused in Turkey and Syria, with more than 108,000 injured.
One can also speculate on potential future developments and the future of humanity as a whole.
Here Big History provides a way to gain a greater appreciation for the incredible journey that the universe has taken, and our place within it. We can understand the complex relationships between the different elements of the universe and how they have shaped our world. This knowledge can be used to inform our decision making and help us to build a better future for ourselves and for the planet.
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Page by M Alan Kazlev, 2023