Opinion

12 things that had us talking in 2020

Kim Treasure1 January 2021

One thing can be said for 2020: it gave us plenty to talk about.

COVID-19 and bushfires certainly dominated the conversation, but lockdown also gave us time to reflect on some of the things that truly make life worthwhile.

For many of us, 2020 was a time for introspection, and our opinion-writers were no exception.

Here are 12 things that had us talking this year. What still resonates with you?

12. Magpies are evil, rotten, malevolent, dead-eyed bastards. Fact check: true

Swooping magpie in suburban street.

“So you’re minding your own business, far away from my nest? Not on my watch, buddy!” Photo: File.

David Murtagh’s satirical piece on magpies ruffled more than a few feathers. While some agreed with his rant against the “rotten, malevolent, dead-eyed bastards” that make his morning cycle a test of survival skills, others were quick to spring to the birds’ defence.

11. Old dogs, children and watermelon wine

Dogs Indie and Henry lying on verandah.

Indie – the dog with two eyes – and his best buddy, Henry. Photo: Kim Treasure.

The isolation resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown was hard on the community but it also provided an opportunity to value and be grateful for the good things in our lives. For Kim Treasure, among other things, that was an old dog and children.

10. Living with people makes parenting easier – so why don’t more of us do it?

Mother walking with two kids on pier.

Parenthood can be a long road on your own. Photo: Supplied.

Having an extra adult around can make parenting for singles and couples so much easier. So why don’t more people live with others, Elka Wood wondered.

9. A note from the coast as you prepare for the summer

Dolphins surfing.

Surf’s up and summer is on its way. Photo: Alex Rea.

This summer is set to be very different along the NSW South Coast, both for residents and visitors to the popular holiday playground. Local Karyn Starmer was quick to lay out the welcome mat, but warned visitors that many people were still struggling with grief and loss.

8. Five pandemic lessons (or why we don’t need any more baristas)

Microscopic view of COVID-19 virus.

The COVID-19 virus is posing lots of questions. Photo: File.

Around the middle of the year, Ian Bushnell reflected on the strange but instructive time since COVID-19 disrupted our lives. He pulled together five lessons from the experience that he hoped would resonate widely.

7. Six months on, bushfire scars remain

House still standing surrounded by burnt bushland.

Surrounded by burnt bushland, Kim Treasure’s house at Malua Bay was still standing following the New Year’s Eve bushfires. Photo: Supplied.

Six months after fire tore through bushland from the mountains to the sea on the NSW South Coast, Kim Treasure looked back on surviving the New Year’s Eve bushfire horror, the aftermath, and what she thought needed to change.

6. The big swing from 1950s to modern parenting – why we need middle ground

Kids playing at Wallagoot Lake.

Reflections at Wallagoot Lake, south of Tathra on the NSW South Coast. Photo: Elka Wood.

Parenting has come a long way since the 1950s, when it was commonplace for children to be ‘seen and not heard’. While expectations on parenting have changed, Elka Wood argued there’s still a need to protect children in the modern world while giving them space to grow.

5. Entering the ‘nightmare-ish’ world of the horse owner

Molly the horse.

Molly the mare – an angel one day, devil the next. Photo: Kim Treasure.

It’s probably fair to say we’ve all made some questionable purchases during 2020. There’s nothing like a lockdown to encourage online binges at Dan Murphy’s, Amazon and eBay, not to mention sneaky trips to Bunnings to buy all manner of household items that suddenly seem crucial. But Kim Treasure took it a step further. Her COVID-19 present to herself was a horse.

4. What I’ve found and what I’ll keep after COVID-19 restrictions end

South Coast beach, with bush in foreground.

A deserted South Coast beach is a tranquil place to find inner peace during COVID-19. Photo: Elka Wood.

On a deserted NSW South Coast beach, Elka Wood discovered the isolation of COVID-19 restrictions could be a liberating experience and pondered whether this is the life we all actually crave.

3. Tough times bring out the best and worst in all of us

Author Kim Treasure with family during Black Summer bushfires.

Kim Treasure’s family battled the Black Summer bushfires together. Now COVID-19 is keeping them apart. Photo: Lucy Cartwright.

The Black Summer bushfires brought out the best in humanity as communities rallied together, but Kim Treasure felt like COVID-19 brought out the worst.

2. Ordinary Australians will continue to suffer because of our venal, shallow leadership

Buildings burning during bushfire in Cobargo.

Cobargo’s main street burning on 31 December, 2019. Photo: Josh Mead.

After years of venal, shallow politics, Genevieve Jacobs believes it’s ordinary Australians who will bear the burden of the bushfire catastrophe for years to come as the mental health toll and the weight of rebuilding shattered communities plays out.

1. Now is not the time to be a Quiet Australian, says Broulee GP

Young girl sitting on Broulee beach.

Broulee beach and island beyond: the impact of the fires is clear along the NSW South Coast. Photo: Supplied.

NSW South Coast GP Dr Michelle Hamrosi believes the Black Summer bushfire disaster shows that the future is here. In the wake of the New Year’s Eve crisis, she said all Australians should be asking for action on climate change.

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