One of the main things that 2020 taught us is that even when things get tough, it’s still possible to find small victories in every day. Since the pandemic began, many of us adopted daily gratitude practices, and become more appreciative of the little things we might often take for granted; such as a hug with a loved one, the safety and comfort of a warm home, and good health.
While 2021 didn’t get off to the start that we were all hoping for, this doesn’t mean that it won’t lend way to brighter days, and the sense of normality that we’ve all been craving. But in the meantime, if you could use a bit of a pick-me-up, and something to give you some hope, then have a read of these 12 things to look forward to in the coming year.
1. Millions of trees are due to be planted in the UK
In a bid to tackle climate change, certain organisations across the UK are on a mission to plant more trees this year. The largest national campaign taking place has been set up by the Woodland Trust. They’ve launched The Big Climate Fightback campaign, which aims to have planted 50 million trees by 2025.
There are also plenty of local tree planting efforts going on around the UK, run by local councils, organisations and community groups. For example, HS2 is set to have planted 730,000 trees by the Spring, Leicester Council has been granted funding for 5000 new trees, and Bradford Estates will plant 14,000 in Telford.
Trees promote a healthier environment by providing oxygen, cleaning the air, and supporting wildlife – so this work is incredibly important!
2. The coronavirus vaccination program is well underway in the UK and around the world
More than 12 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and infection rates are beginning to drop.
Whilst this is still a worrying time and we’re not out of the woods yet, this vaccine news has provided us with some light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi recently told the BBC that “the UK is getting safer everyday”.
3. Spring is on the way, and summer won’t be far behind
After a cold, harsh winter; during which the majority of us have been hunkered down at home, we can finally start to look towards the Spring! The days are already getting noticeably longer, and we’re now only a few short weeks away from the clocks going forward again.
Regardless of the level of restrictions we have in place by the Spring and Summer, everything tends to feel more manageable when we have lighter, warmer days, and can enjoy feeling the Sun on our skin again! If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then the Spring is also a great time to start really making the most of your outdoor space. And whether you have a garden or not, as the weather warms up, you can still look forward to leaving your coat at home, packing a cold drink, and going for a long walk in the Sun – something which sounds like heaven to think about on a cold winter afternoon!
4. Some major sporting events are scheduled to take place
Many major sporting events were cancelled in 2020, and lots of them have been rescheduled for 2021 (with no talk of any further cancellations or schedule changes just yet). Events won’t look the same as they have in previous years, as it’s highly likely social distancing rules will still need to be in place. But should all go well, we’ll be getting some world-class athletic performances delivered to our TV screens this summer.
Events due to take place this year include:
- Tokyo Olympic Games – begins July 2021
- UEFA Euro Championships – begins July 2021
- Wimbledon – June/July 2021
- ICC Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup (India) – October/November 2021
5. Britain’s favourite animal might receive greater protection this year
We might not always notice them, but the Hedgehog has always been well loved in the UK. These small, charismatic creatures were even voted the UK’s Favourite Mammal in an RSPB poll in 2016. But sadly, a 2018 report suggests that hedgehog numbers have halved across the nation since the year 2000. It’s thought this drop is largely due to a loss of hedgerows and field margins being lost due to intensive farming.
Now, a group of MPs led by former Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling are calling for greater protection for hedgehog nesting sites. Grayling has proposed an amendment to the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which would add hedgehogs to the list of protected animals – giving them the same level of protection that bats and badgers have.
Grayling told the BBC, “It seems wrong to me, for example, that whenever a developer has to carry out a wildlife survey before starting work on a project that the hedgehog is not on anyone’s radar. It is Britain’s favourite animal, its numbers are declining and it should be as well protected as any other popular but threatened British animal.”
Let’s hope 2021 is the year for change for these beautiful creatures!
6. NASA will land on Mars
While much of the world might have ground to a halt since the pandemic began; for NASA, 2020 was historic. Highlights include launching humans to the International Space Station from America again, and progressing plans for new missions to the Moon and Mars. If you’d be interested in seeing what else NASA achieved last year, then you might want to check out this short video on YouTube.
On 18th February of this year, NASA’s Perseverance rover is due to land on Mars, where it will carry out the most extensive search for past life on Mars to date. Then in April, it will be joined by China’s Tianwen-1 rover (which will actually arrive in February, but will remain in orbit until it attempts to land a couple of months later). Also entering orbit in February will be the United Arab Emirates’ Mars probe, which will study the Red Planet’s climate and weather, among other things.
So, even if nothing else, 2021 will be an exciting year for science, and could lend way to some exciting discoveries.
7. Some big movies are due for release
The release of some of 2020’s biggest blockbusters was postponed last year, and are set to be aired in 2021 instead. Daniel Craig will star as 007 for the final time in ‘No Time to Die’, and we’ll also be treated to a remake of the beloved 1986 classic; Top Gun. Tom Cruise will try to capture the magic of the 80s version in Topgun: Maverick.
Other headliners include Marvel’s Black Widow, The Matrix 4 and The Many Saints of Newark. You can find out what other movies to look out for by having a read of this article from Wired.
8. This year could be a turning point for climate change
There’s a lot that needs to be done to combat the issue of climate change, and it’s been suggested that 2021 could be the turning point for this.
Countries around the world are making efforts to cut carbon emissions; and go carbon neutral. China – who is responsible for 28% of the World’s carbon emissions – has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060; while Japan, South Korea and Canada have also made similar plans to use less fossil fuels.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, recently told the BBC, that 2021 will be a “make or break” year for tackling climate change. In November, all eyes will be on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, when world leaders come together to work on solutions for the growing problem of climate change. It’s expected that this will result in some new climate policies, and restore some hope surrounding the future of our planet.
9. A new standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well-behaved dogs has been released
Good news! On the 28th January 2021, the Government announced that responsible dog owners with well behaved pets will be able to secure a lease more easily. The new Model Tenancy Agreement will mean that landlords will no longer be able to issue a blanket ban on pets.
This will be a huge relief for many dog lovers! To find out more about this new agreement, you might want to have a read of this page on GOV.UK.
10. Pancake Day is just around the corner
One thing that is definitely still happening this year is pancake day! Get your lemon juice, sugar and batter at the ready for Tuesday 16th February! Whether you live alone, or with others, pancake day can be a great chance to get creative in the kitchen, and indulge in a tasty treat.
If you prefer sweet pancakes, then check out this coconut and pomegranate pancake recipe from Jamie Oliver, this chocolate pancake recipe from BBC Good Food, or these strawberries and cream pancakes from Betty Crocker.
Or, if you’d rather enjoy some savoury flavours, then you could try these super spinach pancakes from Jamie Oliver, these feta, sweetcorn and spring onion pancakes from Olive magazine, or this pulled pork with okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) recipe from Delicious Magazine.
11. The Queen turns 95, and is the first British monarch to do so
On April 21st 2021, the Queen will celebrate her 95th birthday. In celebration of the special day, the UK will release a £5 coin. This coin is said to feature a floral tribute and the Queen’s own words “my heart and my devotion” – which she used in the first British Christmas TV broadcast in 1957.
The Queen will be the first British monarch to reach the age of 95, while Prince Philip will become the first male member of the royal family to reach the age of 100 on 10th June 2021.
12. Some of the most anticipated TV dramas are returning to our screens
Along with some big blockbuster movies, a host of exciting new TV dramas are also set to be released this year; such as BBC’s The Pursuit of Love, and ITV’s Grace. BBC’s Line of Duty (series 6), Call the Midwife (series 10), and Gentleman Jack (series 2) are also scheduled to return to our screens this year.
To see the full list of what’s coming up, check out this guide to the Most anticipated TV dramas coming in 2021, from the Radio Times.
While it’s difficult to know the full extent of what 2021 will hold, there’s still plenty of things we can do to look after ourselves in the meantime. Staying optimistic, and holding onto hope, even when things feel bleak, is an important part of this; because it can affect how well we are able to move forward with daily life.
Hopefully, at least one of the things in this list will make you feel a bit more positive about the year ahead. It’s possible to find silver linings, even in the darkest places, if we look hard enough.
For some more feel-good facts, you might want to have a read of our article; 14 positive things that happened in the world in 2020.