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Five movements that will change life as we know it in 2019 – hopefully!

It’s official, 2018 was one of the worst years ever but will 2019 be any better?

Now that the much needed break is well and truly over, a lot is riding on the next few weeks.  If MPs support the PM’s Brexit deal, we’ll be released from the current paralysis and saying ‘cheerio’ to the EU on the 29th March.  If not, all bets are off and difficulty and disruption seems likely.

That aside (and because we’ve heard quite enough of Brexit), here’s five key trends we’re predicting for the year ahead:

  1. Privacy and the pernicious nature of the net.

For all the fanfare of GDPR in 2018, much more needs to happen in 2019 to protect people from the increasingly pernicious nature of the net.   Expect a privacy showdown at the O.K. Corral this year focused on making tech giants and social networks more accountable, finding solutions to counter dangerous disinformation and remove illegal content more promptly.

If only people could be a bit more courteous in their civic discourse … but that might be too much to hope for in the year ahead.

  1. Environment matters

We all saw the great garbage (plastics) islands in the oceans last year and the heroic endeavours to clean it up.  We think the discourse will transmogrify from recycling – especially with tons of waste apparently ending in landfill – towards reduction and a change in mindset. Do we really need so much packaging, so much stuff?  Trends for curbing our consumptive excesses and ‘buying for life’ (BFL) we believe, will build in 2019 – a mindset that feels quite liberating.  Expect more enterprising people to pick up on this and BFL communities to build, encouraging more sustainable buying and living.  Please!

  1. Where our heads are at

Despite all the ongoing publicity and epidemic of mental health issues, there continues to be a massive stigma around showing weakness.  People are crying out for more to be done.  Children are experiencing anxiety and negative feelings and pressure all round.  A recent study by University College London finds that almost half of girls aged 11 – 18 have experienced some form of abuse on social media.  And it’s not just children, as the malicious exploitation of vulnerable people online is emerging.

While employers are taking many laudable steps in the right direction, work-related stress or depression accounted for over half of working days lost to ill health for the first time last year. Mental health remains a taboo subject in the workplace.

Will the NHS 10-year plan do enough to help those experiencing mental health problems? Let’s hope so.

  1. Sweet enough already

We’ve all done it… Over indulged with sugar that is. Constantly dipping into the tin of chocolates over the festive period and perhaps now regretting the extra pounds. Seriously though, it can’t be right that the average 10-year-old has consumed as much sugar in their lifetime as the recommended limit for an 18-year-old according to Public Health England.  That’s a lot of sugar and seriously shocking.  Think about that for a moment and it’s easy to see how sugar has become all too pervasive in daily lives.

Wills are weakened after a hard day’s labour and a quick sugary fix is too easy a trap to fall into rather than providing ‘tough love’ to children.  Fizzy drinks, once an occasional treat, too easily become part of a daily diet when stocked up in bulk from the cash and carry.  We see an increasing demonisation of sugar as it rapidly becomes the new tobacco in 2019.

  1. Get a group

Walled online behaviours will increase as people seek out places where they are free to speak.  A good thing if you are thinking like Conde Nast and spearheading building positive communities around a niche passion – where members can engage more deeply with their subject, ‘Women who travel’ for example.

This may not necessarily be the best or safest outcome, however, if these impenetrable communities are more subversive or hold extreme views.  Ultimately where does this end?  Electronic passports to engage online, removal of anonymous accounts or even AI as gatekeepers?  Watch this space for needed developments this year.

Will we be seeing another motion of no confidence (yawn), another referendum or a general election; Corbyn or a new centrist party should the government collapse? Any of which would be disruptive.  However, the cookie crumbles in 2019 be it in politics, business or community, ordinary people want greater transparency and those in privileged positions to live up to their promises.

Without that, we say fasten your seatbelts as 2019 looks set for a bumpy ride.

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