“New year, new me.” Why start the year with this mind-numbing phrase? Within the first few months of a new year, most people forget about the list of New Year’s resolutions that they made. However, there’s a new concept that I think is important for us to consider in this new decade of 2020: “New year, new society.”

From my viewpoint, there are three key themes that should be dominating our headlines in 2020.

Firstly, we haven’t been doing a great job of sustaining the environment in the past decade. Our society needs leaders who are environmentally aware and awake, including principals, mayors, senators and especially the president. Celebrities could also make huge impacts by getting their fans to become aware. Leonardo DiCaprio set up a foundation in 1998, which is “dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants.” We need more popular figures like him to step up to the plate and show that they care about our planet.

Secondly, promoting healthy lifestyles should continue to be a focus for future generations. Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made significant changes to school lunch programs across the nation. The school lunch system needs to keep being focused on. We need to make sure that students of all ages are eating the right foods. Processed foods are another aspect of our diet that has to change. Consumption of processed foods has been proven to increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and more. An alarming amount of teenagers have caved in to the vaping epidemic. Last year, the Eden Prairie City Council decided to increase the age requirement for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21. Eden Prairie needs to continue doing its best to ensure that the numbers don’t rise any further.

Finally, it’s about time we start being kind. Let’s begin the new decade by caring about one another, committing random acts of kindness, and respecting everyone no matter their race, gender, weight, etc. Let’s mark 2020 as the year we made that change. We’ve committed enough hate crimes, we’ve started enough fights, and we’ve certainly body-shamed enough women. Enough is enough.

“Change” by Charlie Puth featuring James Taylor is a song whose lyrics I feel we should keep in mind throughout this new decade.

“But I know that the world will change/The day we know we’re all the same/Why can’t we just get along?/If loving one another’s wrong/Then how are we supposed to/Get close to each other?/We’ve gotta make that change.”

Aspiring journalist Harini Senthilkumar is a ninth-grader at Eden Prairie High School. She enjoys singing and writing.

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