20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

 I know what you're thinking: '20 Good Things That Happened in 2020' sounds like an unlikely choice of title  - after all, this year hasn't exactly been synonymous with positivity. In fact, there has arguably not been any other year in history so notorious for producing disastrous event after disastrous event (doesn't it feel like a lifetime ago that the Australian wildfires shocked the world into a frenzy of climate anxiety?). But, that's not we're here to talk about today. Just as much as this year has seen the world and its people divided, it has also witnessed many events of unity and positivity.

So, before we wave a final goodbye to this year, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of 20 wonderful things that happened in 2020.

1. BLM Protests.

Credit: AFP via Getty Images

2. Goodbye Trump, Hello Biden.

Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

3. Appreciation of the NHS (and other key workers).

Photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth

4. Kamala Harris as the first female, first Black and first South Asian US Vice president.

Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

A Moment for nature recovery.

Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

6. Carbon dioxide emissions declined (partly due to lockdown, partly due to the cost of renewable energy sources declining quicker than experts predicted).

Photograph: David C Tomlinson/Getty Images

7. The U.S to join the Paris Climate agreement (marking an end to Trump's damaging climate change denial).

Photograph: David C Tomlinson/Getty Images

8. A newfound appreciation for nature and desire for a sustainable future (thanks to lockdown walks and - obviously - Sir David Attenborough's emotional and thought-provoking 'A life on our planet').

10. The approval of the Coronavirus Vaccine. And hope for the future.

 Illustration: James Melaugh/The Observer

11. More Free time to practice self-care.

Image credit: selflovecircle.co.uk/

12. And Time for self-reflection (what has this year taught me? which lessons should I take with me into 2021? What made me happiest this year?) 

Source: healthline.com

13. A surge in at-home Fitness.

14. Connecting with loved ones (and learning to appreciate the time we have with them).

(Kay Scanlon / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

15. New music releases really brightened up our isolation - Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and many more released albums in 2020.

16. Some 10/10 Entertainment (a particular shoutout to Selling Sunset, Outer Banks and, of course, Tik Tok).

17. Marcus Rashford's Campaign for Free School Meals, encouraging government U-turn.

18. Africa was declared free of wild polio after four years without a reported case.


19. Restaurants shared their secret recipes so that we could have a go at home.


20. Drive-in cinemas made a comeback. 



How To Throw The perfect Christmas Zoom Party

I bring good news: Christmas is not 'cancelled' (even if the U.K has understandably come to that conclusion after tuning into the government's announcement earlier this evening). Christmas still remains, and this year, we get to experience it virtually with our family and friends on Zoom. Yes, Christmas for the majority of us this year will indisputably look different. However, who's to say that different has to be bad? With a little effort, preparation and - most certainly - some holiday spirit, we can experience Christmas as we know and love it. 

To throw a virtual Christmas party for the history books, just implement these six, simple steps.

Image credit: Shutterstock / ST.art

Dress code: strictly festive

No Christmas party would be complete without its guests wearing an array of outfits that look as if Santa himself has thrown up on them. Throw on your cheesiest Christmas jumper, dig out your glitziest dress, or stay all day in your festive loungewear. However, ensure one rule's clear: no grinches are allowed (yes, the host will kick you out).

Decorate your room

Whether you plan on hosting your Christmas Zoom party in your kitchen, dining room or living room, deck out the room in fairy lights and tinsel. Decorate your tablespace with festive candles (different heights add extra warmth and atmosphere) and festive tablecloths for the most aesthetically pleasing virtual party going.

Plan a virtual Secret Santa

Head over to a random name generator, and order a present online to be delivered to your secret Santa's address. To get all your friends and family involved, unbox your presents at the same time and share your guesses!

Watch your favourite Christmas film 

Just because you can't be together in person, there's no reason why you can't have a virtual movie night and keep everyone on Zoom whilst you watch. Whether it's your Christmas tradition to sit down and watch a cheesy Christmas rom-com or to snuggle up by the fire and watch a nostalgic favourite like The Snowman, let's do it with the company of our loved-ones on Zoom.

Organize a competitive activity

There's nothing like a competitive activity to bring the family together at Christmas time. How about buying some ingredients in advance and hosting a timed Christmas bakeoff? Perhaps organize a game of 'Name that Holiday tune' or 'Never Have I Ever: Christmas Edition'. Or for the braver of you, karaoke could call for some great Christmas Day entertainment.

Christmas Zoom quiz

Why not embrace this year's festivities in true 2020 style, with a Christmas themed Zoom Quiz? Browse the internet for your quiz of choice, get the pen and paper at the ready and prepare to engage yourself and your family in an hour of virtual fun. Plus, with cameras everywhere, cheating is less likely to go unnoticed!

Will you be hosting a Christmas Party online this year? If so, let me know your plans for it in the comments!


The Problem with Greenwashing

 Companies have a history of spending more money advertising their products as 'green' than on actually implementing sustainable materials and ethical practices into making them. This is called greenwashing, and it's a problem.

Source: Eluxemagazine.com

Why? Because consumers are tricked by misleading information and vague terms into thinking that they are making a conscious purchase. We see greenwashing everywhere as businesses know that being green sells (research shows that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they know it comes from a sustainable brand), however, it is not often reported.

Greenwashing can also be executed more subtly - making it harder to be called out for. For instance, you may see products in earthy tones (e.g green and brown) or with pictures of nature on them, and come to the conclusion that they are natural and sustainable.

How to avoid greenwashing?

  • Trust your intuition: If you’re questioning if a product claim is ‘too good to be true’, or seems unbelievable, steer clear for the time being and do research into the credentials.
  • Research: Invest time in doing your homework on certain products and their manufacturer. Dig deep and you'll find every statistic you could need to assess a company's carbon footprint and ingredients. Note: if you're struggling to find a lot of information easily, what you're looking for probably isn't sustainable (if it was, the company would be more eager to display their sustainability efforts with customers).
  • Be selective: Get to know and create a list of individual retailers that you know you can trust.

Checking Legitimacy

If a product is marketed as sustainable, then this is relatively easy to confirm and fact check yourself. Just lookout for the following:

  • Packaging: Less packaging and no plastics.
  • Materials: recycled/renewable materials e.g. fast-growing bamboo.
  • Longevity: designed to last, be reused, or recycled.
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