The origins of New Year’s traditions can be difficult to determine. There’s the celebration in Times Square, the fireworks in Hong Kong and the traditional dances of Samoa (the first country to celebrate 2018). No matter the nation, one tradition recognized around the globe is the making of New Year’s resolutions.
Historians believe it was the ancient Babylonians who some 4,000 years ago were the first to recognize the new year, and their celebration was a bit more extravagant than today’s. The recorded year for the Babylonians began in mid-March and involved a 12-day celebration that would include dances, feasts and making resolutions or promises to the gods. The resolutions, like today, could be anything from paying debts to being more kind to neighbors.
While people no longer make resolutions to pagan gods, many still participate in the tradition of attempting to better themselves in the new year. Whether that betterment is financial, physical or emotional, New Year’s resolutions give people something for which they can strive and the optimism that a new year will bring new opportunities.
In keeping with this 4,000-year-old tradition, here are some New Year’s resolutions for the world.
The past year of 2017 was the deadliest year for mass shootings in modern U.S. history. According to records kept by the Gun Violence Archive, 345 mass shootings were carried out in America, and upward of 11,000 people were killed.
A suggested resolution for politicians and lawmakers—do something about it. After the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people, there was bipartisan support for the banning of bump stocks, a device used by the Las Vegas shooter in October that increases a gun’s rate of fire. Four months later, and the ban is still being debated.
Another American epidemic is the increase in opioid drug overdoses. The number of adults in the U.S. addicted to prescription pain killers exceeded 2 million last year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every day more than 90 Americans die due to opioid overdose.
A recent report by the “Washington Post” and “60 Minutes” found that in April, Congress weakened the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) ability to target drug distributors. The report has led Rep. Tom Marino to withdraw his name from consideration as America’s drug czar, the person who directs drug control policies in the U.S. Marino was President Donald Trump’s first pick.
Besides finding a new drug czar, the administration will have to fill multiple roles, including director of the DEA and secretary of Health and Human Services. There is no simple solution to the opioid epidemic, but the Trump administration should resolve to hold the biggest opioid distributors responsible—even if the culprits are among the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
A third and final resolution for the world, move into 2018 with empathy.
Hate crimes, defined as a violent crime motivated by hate based on race, color or national origin, increased by nearly 20 percent in 2017.
More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees fled persecution in Myanmar as the Buddhist-majority country has deployed tactics many world leaders denounce as genocide.
Terror attacks spread tragedy and fear throughout the world, from the Aleppo suicide car bombing, to the attack in New York where a vehicle was used to run down pedestrians, there were 1,134 global terror attacks in 2017.
2017 was a challenging year for many people, but 2018 is an opportunity for the world to move forward.