Major world news stories of 2017 and how they are related

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New crises in the past twelve months have propelled this trend.  Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya by the Burmese government, led by Aung San Suu Ki—the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former darling of the West—has sent 655,000 people across the border to Bangladesh since August, over half of whom are believed to be children.

 

In Yemen, where the Canadian-backed Saudi Arabian military smashes villages, over 2 million people are currently displaced.

 

Meanwhile, ongoing conflicts around the world continue to propel migration.  Asylum seekers from Africa and Asia escaping persecution are still arriving by sea in Europe.  Numbers may be down, but still more than 170,000 survived the perilous ocean journeys this past year.

 

Here in Canada, almost 46,000 asylum claims were made as of November 2017.

 

While Canada has largely been buffered from migrant crises in the past, it would appear that as more and more people flee their homes for a better future, the social geography of all rich countries faces a radical reset, whether we like—or are prepared—for it or not.

 

3) Climate change

 

Crazy wildfires in BC and California.  The most expensive hurricane season ever faced by the US, the same storms which levelled several Caribbean nations.   Ongoing droughts in Africa, Oceania, and North America.  Amidst it all, the world got hotter again.

 

This past year is one of the top three highest temperature years recorded.  This should be frightening to us all.  There is a tipping point.  Some argue that we have already surpassed it.  At some point—perhaps pragmatically, perhaps terrifyingly—the conversation will have to shift from prevention to mitigation.

 

NASA predicts that warming will produce still worsening droughts and wildfires, more severe storms, and rising sea levels.

 

The chain reaction at that juncture becomes obvious, an effect we already see in parts of the world:  increased food and water shortages; destruction of housing, communities, and agricultural land; and, worsening heath impacts, especially for children and the elderly.

 

The consequences go far beyond “environmental” concerns, to put it mildly.

 

4) #MeToo

 

The #MeToo movement confronted head-on the uncontested access by powerful men to women’s bodies throughout much of North America and Europe.   High priest after high priest fell in 2017—starting with Hollywood Grand Mullah, Harvey Weinstein.  Following Weinstein, the impact quickly and persistently spread outwards.

 

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