“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have rather talked.” – Mark Twain
“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” – Will Rogers
Another year has come and gone, in what feels like the blink of an eye. 2018 was a challenging year, and while it may be easy to remember the hard times, Nurses With Heart would like to highlight some of the good things that came out of year past. One of our favorite New Year’s videos is always the Google – Year In Search – seriously, check it out – it is well worth the two minutes of your time. All of our favorites are stories about efforts made to improve the lives of others – whether it was an individual or communities or organizations, groups took pause and listened to the needs of those around them. When it felt like the loudest voices were those of hatred and negativity, there were still ears taking note of the quieter pleas to make our world a better place.
When it came to global health, there were quite a few positive events that happened, which will continue to develop in 2019 (and hopefully beyond!). According to UNICEF, 25 million doses of a new cholera vaccine were administered globally, and preparations began for the largest vaccination drive in history. This acute diarrheal disease can kill within hours if left untreated and results in up to 4 million cases worldwide each year. The ongoing success of this program further highlights the positive global impact and need for vaccines, with promising results being shown for inoculations for other life-threatening diseases. Additionally, since 2010, global HIV/AIDS infection rates have fallen by 16% in adults and 35% in children, with most countries being on track to eliminate infections by 2030.
Favoring the Future
2019 may feel like the future for even more of the world’s population. The International Energy Agency reported that since 2018, 120 million people gained access to electricity, resulting in less than a billion of the world’s population left without electric lights. Traveling outside of our world, SpaceX made 21 launches this year, reusing one booster three times, showing promise for decreasing materials and costs for future adventures into space. Speaking of adventures, a galactic trip 56 years in the making resulted in the successful touchdown of the Insight lander on Mars, which will study the interior of the red planet – if you missed the ecstatic celebrations of all those involved, you should definitely check it out here.
Protecting the Planet
Not to disregard making life on Earth a better place, 250 major brands worldwide, including Coca-Cola, Kellogs, and Nestle, agreed to ensure that 100% of their plastic packaging will be reused, recycled, or composted by 2025. Equal rights for all humans came to a forefront in 2018, and from marches to speeches to an unmatched level of increased diversity in popular media, great steps forward were made. This will hopefully continue in 2019 for more (and much needed) equality and representation of the massive numbers of unique realities and experiences for all those on this little rock we call home.
Learning from Those We Lost
It was hard to ignore the difficult events in 2018, including those of individuals we lost. While we mourned these individuals, it is also important to continue to draw from their greatness: to continue to learn about the world around and beyond us, like Stephen Hawking, to listen to the stories of global heritage, like Anthony Bourdain, and to create the next unlikely superhero, like Stan Lee. As the late William Goldman said, “Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”
Reaching Our Resolution
It is incredible that we may soon be living in a world where parents may no longer have to fear their children dying of cholera and who may grow up in a world without HIV. That we may travel to space with the ease of getting on an airplane. That we approach a worldwide goal of making the planet better, both for ourselves and for all of the organisms with which we share it. But this starts with listening to those around us, talking a little less, being a little more empathetic, and persisting in being open to learning the realities of those around us. Make 2019 your year to listen – this small act may seem simple, but it also may prove to be your most challenging resolution ever made.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill