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2020's Silver Lining: What's worth Carrying Forward Into 2021

Back in early 2020, much ado was made about the inadvertent and positive effects on the environment when we stopped flying, driving, relentlessly and aimlessly shopping and hurrying to-and-fro. Pollution levels dropped, the skies cleared up and the price of crude oil sank. The temporary shifts in personal behaviors added up to big, noticeable changes in our world.

As soon as we can get back to business-as-usual, we will almost certainly return to our old ways and manners, but there may be some fundamental shifts that could, should and would stick around - if we were open to the idea of taking the best parts of 2020 with us into 2021. Without further ado, here are some great things we learned to appreciate in 2020 that we’ll take with us into the new year.

Women Lead Better

The global disaster showed us all who possessed the grit and determination to look the pandemic in the eyes and say, “We aren’t playing.” Among the heads of state who distinguished themselves in 2020, a disproportionate number of them had something very obvious in common.

Sanna Martin, prime minister of Finland, Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, all set the standards of response and plan, including Ardern’s “hard and early” strategy, often cited as one of the most effective global responses. New Mexico’s and Michigan’s governors, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Gretchen Whitmer, locked down and protected their residents in two of the United States’ most aggressive, state-led strategies.

Work From Home Works – For Some

Let’s be honest. Working from home took a major adjustment. But once we found our ebb and flow, the routine started to feel almost-normal and even efficient. “Oh, you’re going to take your call here? I’ll set up in the garden.” We even found a rhythm for keeping our AirPods charged and ready. We had a reason to splurge on that essential home office item we’d been putting off buying. Larger companies reimbursed purchases specifically for home office setups. Plus, for all of the time-card watchdogs out there, without a commute, many of us added 30-60 workable minutes to our day.

Polo Streaming

We can watch, and even enjoy, polo on TV vis-à-vis global streaming services like Global Polo TV, Chukker TV and PoloLine TV. In addition to chuckers, we downloaded and streamed interviews with players, coaches and celebrities. For us, the heroes of the field are the techs, camera operators and still photographers, limited to restricted media areas but still capturing the footage to bring us into the action.

Much has been said about polo networks that will charge for subscriptions in 2021, but we’ll gladly pay to continue enjoying the premium content. Now, please excuse us; we’re going back to watching the finals live from Aspen of the Snow Polo Championships.

Renewed Appreciation for Literature

A surge of unprecedented sales of minority-penned books didn’t go unnoticed by the world of book editors, who are rushing more similar manuscripts to press. But not so fast; the hashtag #publishingpaidme revealed substantial pay gaps and offers within the minority community, something publishers are working to correct. Here at Polo Lifestyles, we added a monthly book review by our resident copy editor and self-professed book worm, Gregory Bertrand, that delved into some of the hot topics of 2020.

Universal Basic Income is Suddenly Practical

While replacement income varied heavily from country to country in the Western world, the concept went from a wildly progressive pipedream of a little-known presidential candidate in the United States to a highly popular program that seemed, at least at first, in touch with a majority of households during uncertain times. Even though many of us didn’t qualify for the payments, it was still pleasant to hear the stories from families incredibly grateful for the one-time or monthly stimulus checks or subsidized unemployment wages.

Pedestrian-Friendlier Cities

The pandemic forced cities to make shrewd urban land-use discoveries to accommodate social distancing: more outdoor dining in public places. Streets were closed off to cars as parking spaces were reimagined as sidewalk cafes. Arenas were transformed into voting sites. While we’d like our parking spaces and ball games, back we can’t say we don’t enjoy dining al fresco under the stars.

Essential Worker Appreciation

That tireless clerk who smiles at you in the grocery, asking how you’re doing, while risking his or her health to work for minimum wage 40+ hours a week? Yeah, that person is an essential worker, and we can’t but think about how laws and protections need to change going forward. The entire essential worker pool – millions and millions of people – makes our world go round on a daily basis.

At first, it felt good to clap for essential workers at 6 p.m. from the comfort of our front steps, but the hypocrisy wasn’t lost on those actually working 12-hour shifts on the front lines of the pandemic. Worker protections, wages and benefits must change going forward to protect those who protected us.

The Triumph of Science and Medical Renaissance

The pandemic and its fallout are terrible, but the possible side effects could be helpful. As labs around the world pursue, develop and distribute vaccines, scientists are expected to stumble upon other related and unrelated health advances. This sort of rapid research and development could yield extremely beneficial effects to combat other health or climate crises in 2021 and beyond. We’ve also witnessed unprecedented global collaboration in medical, health and engineering fields that should continue long into the future.

By: Josh Jakobitz, Editor-in-Chief


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