The end of the year is traditionally a time to look back at the pluses and minuses of the old year and look ahead at what we are hoping for in the new one. As we get older there are plenty of past years to think about!

The event in 2015 which impressed me most was a government world wide determination to work together to save the world’s climate. I don’t remember a previous occasion when the nations of the world got together to work as one to save the planet we all share and depend on. My only concern is that it seems to have been an issue for governments only, without any recognition that they have limited ability to control pollution. The main polluters are the human inhabitants of the world. Some of the damage each of us does is inevitable but what a difference it would make if every inhabitant made a conscious effort to control our individual contribution beyond this, particularly in the developed world. I was made aware of this one day when a colleague talked about where she and her husband would go for their overseas holiday this year, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that the flight alone would add enormously to their personal pollution contribution.

My concern for 2016 is also the lack of recognition of ageism which seems to be part of government unwritten policy in at least 2 countries. In Australia, many pensioners are getting letters informing them that their pensions have been reduced. No explanation is given nor are the way pensions are calculated transparent. This does not happen in other areas of society; indeed in the workplace each item is carefully listed and legally addressed. Worse still, media reporters have discovered that many of the private superannuation companies are run by the highly profitable top banks who are taking up to 25% in fees.

Whilst this to me is completely unacceptable the situation in the UK is even worse. One elderly lady waiting for a heart operation has realised that she seems to have been dropped off the waiting list, something that has happened to her twice before. The thinking is apparently that old people are going to die anyway so health money is better spent on younger people. Apparently those who make these policies are incapable of figuring out that  this way health costs are likely to rise with the additional care required, as well as the increase in human suffering. They can only reason that it looks better for them if waiting lists are reduced. I’m sure that there are similar stories to these from other countries.

These are some of the battles we face in the year ahead. We need to be vigilant and speak out when we see a wrong in any area. That way at the end of the year we will be able to look back with pride and satisfaction. I hope we can also have an enjoyable year, buoyed by our successes in making the world a better place.