Society is a complicated and ever-shifting thing, and it sometimes seems that things move even faster nowadays than they may have before. While we all feel the impact of the most major events of our history, we often do not realize all of the tiny ripples that play out because of them, and how they can change our society even in ways we hadn’t realized for years to come. In this article, we’ll touch on five events that completely changed society as we know it.
1. The Sinking of the Titanic
Though this legendary boat sank in 1912, echoes of the tragedy’s impact can still be seen all around us today. Not only did it lead to the creation of one of the most popular, highest-grossing films of all time, but it led to the complete revamping of maritime laws and emergency procedures at sea. More than 1,500 passengers aboard the Titanic died, and its survivors helped shape the world after in many ways.
What many may not realize is that the Titanic’s sinking had a strong role to play in what modern day radio broadcasting and entertainment looks like. Shoddy, amateur radio systems were in place when the Titanic sank, as well as a lack of 24/7 monitoring of the radios for ships at sea. After the tragedy, the radio giant Marconi company built the world’s first purpose-built radio factory and the overall quality of radio began to improve drastically.
With these improvements came more experimenting, enterprising people who wanted to share their stories and talents over the radio. Those in charge of monitoring 24/7 lines, in particular, liked to share songs to pass the time. Thus the seeds of modern-day radio stations, music, and broadcasting were sown.
Ask almost anyone to name a world-changing event in the last hundred years, and chances are the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be on the top of the lists. The falling of the Twin Towers in New York City ushered in a completely new age to American citizens, a change that was felt the world around. While over 17 years have now passed, no one can deny that the society we live in is still firmly impacted by the event.
Airport travel and security changed almost immediately, and the airport itself became a much more tense and hostile environment to be in, with every unattended bag or wary stranger seeming a potential threat. Security measures tightened and lengthened. Hate crimes against Muslims skyrocketed and continue to plague the country.
Perhaps most notably, America was thrown into a seemingly never ended war, dividing the nation between the most stubborn of patriots and those who see the war as exploitation. More and more Americans have begun to distrust their government, the country continues to take huge financial hits for the continuing wars, and most young adults alive today cannot remember a life where their country was at peace.
3. Global Financial Collapse (2007-2008) – Great Recession (2000s-2010s)
The ball got rolling in 2007 with the collapse of the mortgage market in America, and the direct hit followed when the investment bank, Lehman Brothers, followed suit in September of 2008. Despite back peddling efforts and enormous bailouts, the economy worldwide continued to falter and we entered the Great Recession. This time is known as being the most severe since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
While things have begun to level themselves out once again, there is no doubt that the Financial Collapse and subsequent Great Recession still impact our lives to this day. Investors and consumers are far more resistant to invest in the economy, stunting its growth. Many young adults in America still cannot even afford the bare necessities of living as inequalities grow, and the U.S. is still in over its head with trillions of dollars in debt.
4. Release of Google Home/Amazon Echo
Technology is our greatest aid, but it can also be one of the most sinister. Millions of homes these days have either a Google Home or Amazon Echo device. Along with those also comes the smartphone aids such as Siri, and the Google and Amazon equivalent on their mobile platforms.
While these gadgets provide us with a variety of entertainment, task completion, and overall convenience, there is also the widespread belief that the devices are constantly monitoring and recording our conversations. Companies claim these smart devices are always listening, though they claim it is only so that they can pick up on their activation cues.
Nevertheless, there are many disturbing incidences of entire conversations being recorded, companies admitting they use the information heard to tailor advertisements to us on our internet devices, and more concerns daily. While this has led to some paranoia, it has more curiously led us to see a society that acknowledges and accepts that they are possibly being monitored at all times, but who seemingly don’t shy away from that knowledge.
5. Climate Change
While a choice few still deny the overwhelming evidence surrounding our planet’s climate change, on the whole everyone is onboard and understanding of what is happening to our world. While the seeds of change have taken a while to take root, there are many societal changes taking place because of the increasingly impossible to ignore changes.
Natural disasters have changed the world in overwhelming ways, and they have gone up in severity and frequency as our climate changes. This has left many feeling helpless, as aid efforts are often overwhelmed entirely by simultaneous disasters. There simply is not enough aid or funds to go around into rebuilding every area, leaving many displaced, homeless, and bankrupt.
On a more positive note, society seems to be pushing for and demanding more environmentally friendly practices. Organic, minimally processed groceries have skyrocketed in popularity, as have hybrid and electric car sales. Green architecture, seeking to improve current existing buildings as well as construct new ones, are in high demand to provide sustainable homes and cities. Food, clothes, building materials, transportation, even technology all are being pushed in an Earth-friendly direction.