Looking back at 2020

Daniel Longenecker, Staff Writer

Everyone can agree that 2020 has been a momentous year. However, many events may have fallen under our radar during these trying times. There are always valuable lessons to learn when reflecting back on the year. 

Himalayas appear in the Punjabi skyline during lockdowns

The people of the Punjab region in India reacted with awe at the sudden appearance of the Himalayan Mountain range, which became visible due to a sharp drop in air pollution seen during a lockdown beginning on March 11, 2020. Residents flooded social media with pictures of the spectacular view. For many living in the area, this was the first time they had seen the peaks in 30 years. 

Cities across India saw dramatic reductions in air pollution during the first weeks of the pandemic. In fact, Delhi reportedly saw a 44 percent drop in PM10 air pollution levels during this period. This phenomenon came after restrictions were placed on industries, airlines, and cars. This story was certainly a breath of fresh air for the citizens of India.

The sight of the snow covered peaks revealed an unintended positive result of lockdowns. On the other hand, it also demonstrated the detrimental impact of manmade pollutants. After all those years, clean air finally returned to expose the natural beauty of the Himalayan Mountains.

India’s farmers protest new agriculture policies

In November, the world saw the largest protest in human history. Beginning with a march to the capital, the cause garnered an estimated 250 million people for a massive 24-hour strike. This ongoing movement has undoubtedly placed enormous pressure on the Indian government’s operations.

Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of the country, aimed to modernize the agricultural industry by giving farmers more autonomy. The proposed farm acts are something he believes will make farming more efficient and profitable.

However, the proposed restructuring of the country’s agricultural system stoked unrest across the nation. Fearing that deregulation could leave them vulnerable to the exploitative business practices of larger companies, many have taken to the streets to challenge the new laws. The farmers blocked roads, burned crops, and striked to make their grievances known to the Indian government and the rest of the world. 

A peek at 2020’s active hurricane season

After generating a record-breaking 30 named storms and 12 land falling storms in the United States, the Atlantic hurricane season of 2020 became known as the most active season in known history. It also marks the fifth consecutive year this abnormally powerful activity has been recorded.

The year’s numerous storms caused $37 billion in damages across the eastern coast of the United States. It also ranked as the eighth most damaging season on record. 

In addition, this oddly busy season raises questions about climate change’s impact on the Atlantic Ocean. The effect of rising temperatures on hurricane formation isn’t completely clear. However, scientists agree that it will change storms. Many speculate it’s role in the hyperactivity seen in recent years.