A new decade is here, bringing with it new events. But before we look forward, here are the 10 defining news events that have set the stage for the 2020s, in no particular order.
Beginning in December 2010, anti-government protests shook Tunisia and, in 2011, quickly turned into a region-wide uprising referred to as the Arab Spring. This pro-democratic wave of protest that spread across Arabic-speaking countries in Northern Africa and Middle East overthrew the governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. This then led to civil war in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.
Release of information
The 2010s were filled with whistleblowers and leaks. Notably, Edward Snowden worked for the National Security Agency and leaked documents about monitoring American citizens. Then U.S. army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning––then Bradley Manning––leaked thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, a website intended to collect and share confidential information, created by Julian Assange.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, a Black 17-year-old boy was shot by George Zimmerman, who ended up being acquitted for murdering Martin. This acquittal prompted the creation of the Black Lives Matter Movement, an international activist movement against violence and systemic racism towards Black people.
In October 2017, #Metoo went viral, making international news, encouraging women to share their stories of sexual violence and harrassment. The #Metoo movement brought to light sexual predators like Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein.
In 2017, Donald Trump was elected and became the third American president to be impeached. The Trump administration is known for separating migrant families at the border and shutting down the American government for 35 days—the longest in American history—in an attempt to try to force the Democratic party to agree to a deal to build a wall along the Mexican-U.S border.
England held a referendum and voted to exit the European Union in 2016. This created a riff in the country’s political parties, who are unable, to this day, to agree on what may
be one of the biggest decisions in English history in decades.
Rising temperatures throughout the past decade have caused an increase in natural disasters around the world. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global temperature will increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next 10-years, which will cause devastating damage to the planet. In 2015, 195 nations signed the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep the global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius. The inaction of various government have caused people like Greta Thunberg to mobilize millions across the globe in a climate strike.
There have been approximately 180 school shootings in America from 2009-18, and 114 people have been killed. According to an article by CNN, school shootings have increased since the start of the 2010s.
Russian forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in an attempt to stop Ukraine from trading with America. Over 10,000 people were killed in the long-lasting conflict between the two countries from 2014-18.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was born of an offshoot of Al Qaeda in 2013. The group was involved in multiple terrorist attacks across the world, notably the bombing of a Russian airplane, killing 224 people, and a series of attacks in Paris on the night of Nov.13, 2015, killing 130 people.
The only important event of the 2010’s is that DiCaprio won best actor in 2016 for his role in The Revenant. He had been nominated six times prior to his first win.
The last Harry Potter movie came out in 2011, ending the 14-year saga of the Wizarding World. The movie series brought in over $7 billion, and the book series sold over 450 million copies with a similar estimated revenue.
The Higgs field is theorized to be what gives matter mass and is made up of a particle called the Higgs boson. This particle has been theorized since the 1960s, but was only detected in 2012. This helps add to the understanding of the Standard Model, a theory that explains t hree of the four fundamental forces in physics.
The viral phenomenon of people dumping buckets of ice water over themselves to raise awareness for ALS and fundraise for the ALS Foundation took place in 2014. Celebrities like Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. participated in the challenge. The campaign raised over $10 million in 30 days, and funded a number of projects. One of these was Project MinE who, in 2016, were able to identify a gene associated with ALS which could possibly lead to a treatment.
We got to see the first ever photo of a black hole, located more than 50 million lightyears away in the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy. The photo was created by the Event Horizon Telescope project, a global collaboration of more than 200 scientists using observatories around the world, ranging from the South Pole to Hawaii. It took more than two years to assemble all the photos gathered from all observatories to create an actual image of the black hole.
Biologists discovered new species at an incredible rate, averaging approximately 18,000 per year. Some of these include the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey and the Vangunu giant rat. New categories for animals were made to describe newfound fish with “hands” and frogs smaller than a dime. Yet, in 2019, scientists warned that a quarter of plant and animal populations are at risk of extinction.