Turning points

A special section that explores what critical moments from this year may mean for the year ahead.

William Wegman y un recorte de uno de sus perros, Bobbin, en 2008. Credit Tim Mantoani

Incluso yo, que casi no presto atención a nada, puedo ver que el año pasado fue una pesadilla. Mientras reflexionaba sobre el estado del mundo, me encontré dos antiguas fotografías Polaroid de 50,8 por 61 centímetros tomadas por mí en 2005.

La modelo en ambas fotos es Mazzy, una braco de Weimar que pertenecía a mi asistente, Marlo Kovach. Nunca he conocido un perro al que le guste más que lo fotografíen que a Mazzy, y trabajé con ella muchas veces. Era adicta a la luz brillante, al centelleo de las luces estroboscópicas que la rodeaban en el plató.

La primera fotografía, “Splitting Image”, es una imagen premonitoria de un perro oscuro con ojos luminosos en un interior sombrío, que dirige la mirada por encima de una figura recortada que es una versión miniatura de sí mismo.…  Seguir leyendo »

The professional surfer Maya Gabeira surfed the biggest wave of 2020, measuring 73.5 feet, off the Portuguese coast. Credit José Sarmento Matos for The New York Times

Este es un artículo de Turning Points, una serie especial que ensaya sobre lo que los momentos críticos de este año podrían significar para el próximo.

1. Una mujer surfea la ola más grande del año en la costa de Portugal

La surfista brasileña Maya Gabeira surfeó la ola más alta registrada en 2020, con lo que se convirtió en la primera mujer que logra esa distinción. La ola, que se formó en la costa de Nazaré, Portugal, midió aproximadamente 22,4 metros. La hazaña de Gabeira fue certificada por la Liga Mundial de Surf y Guinness World Records.

2. Funcionarios estadounidenses etiquetan como amenaza global terrorista a un grupo supremacista blanco de Rusia

En abril, el gobierno de Donald Trump designó al grupo ultranacionalista Movimiento Imperial Ruso como una amenaza terrorista global.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un manifestante estrecha la mano de un miembro de la Guardia Nacional de Estados Unidos en Los Ángeles el 31 de mayo de 2020. Credit Bryan Denton para The New York Times

Punto de inflexión: La muerte de George Floyd, un hombre negro que en el mes de mayo fue esposado e inmovilizado bocabajo por un policía blanco en Minneapolis, dio lugar a manifestaciones en todo el mundo.

En 2020 no solo nos golpeó una pandemia global, también nos golpearon las macanas de la policía.

Vimos cómo manifestantes de todo el mundo respiraron el aire cargado del gas lacrimógeno, perdieron la vista por balas de goma, padecieron tortura y, en algunos casos, murieron. Con desesperación, tratamos de encontrar a nuestros seres queridos entre aquellos que fueron detenidos y encarcelados por participar en manifestaciones pacíficas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Naomi Osaka at the 2020 U.S. Open women’s singles final. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Punto de inflexión: A propósito de la presión tanto de los seguidores como de los jugadores, equipos de cuatro de las principales ligas deportivas profesionales de Estados Unidos cancelaron juegos y prácticas en protesta contra el racismo y la brutalidad policial.

“Cállate y dribla”.

Eso fue lo que un presentador de noticias le aconsejó a LeBron James después que habló sobre racismo, política y las dificultades de ser una estrella negra en Estados Unidos durante una entrevista en ESPN en 2018.

No hace falta decir que LeBron no siguió su consejo.

La faceta de activista de LeBron captó mi atención por primera vez en 2012.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cubrebocas encontrados en la isla de Lantau en Hong Kong en la primavera de 2020. Credit Anthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Turning Point: The spread of Covid-19 in 2020 led to dramatic reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions, with one study finding that emissions fell by roughly 1.5 billion metric tons during the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019 — the largest half-year decline in recorded history.

“Sin océanos no hay vida”. Por ser descendiente de la familia Cousteau, este mensaje casi está grabado en mi ADN. A lo largo de mis numerosos años de trabajo en defensa del medioambiente, también he procurado compartirlo con el mundo.

Por desgracia, la precaria condición en que se encuentran nuestros océanos en la actualidad es un indicador de que ese mensaje no le ha llegado a la mayoría de las personas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nuestros paltillos reconfortantes

Cuando la pandemia de coronavirus nos lanzó a lo desconocido y nos confinó en nuestros hogares, el tiempo que muchos de nosotros pasábamos en la cocina fue creciendo de manera exponencial. Horneamos pan de masa madre y panqués de plátano, pusimos a prueba la capacidad de nuestros hornos holandeses y confeccionamos platillos elaborados, todo en aras de la distracción, el consuelo y una sensación de normalidad. Nuestras acciones eran una manifestación de una verdad elemental: la comida nutre nuestra alma tanto como nuestro cuerpo. Después de todo, ¿a quién no se le ha antojado un pastel cuando está triste o no le ha alegrado el día su platillo favorito en alguna ocasión?…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente electo de Estados Unidos, Joseph R. Biden Jr., se dirigió a la nación desde Wilmington, Delaware, el 7 de noviembre. “Es hora de dejar de lado la retórica draconiana, bajar la temperatura, volver a verse, escuchar a los demás”, dijo. Credit Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Aunque el presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, todavía no se ha ido, al menos está en silencio, marginalizado y moribundo. A pesar de que Trump atacó el respeto por la verdad, que es el núcleo central de la democracia, esta resistió el embate. Cuando Joe Biden asuma la presidencia en enero, se convertirá en el presidente número 46 de Estados Unidos. Entonces, la decencia volverá a la Casa Blanca y experimentaremos un cambio moral fundamental. Los dictadores de todo el mundo ya no tendrán carta blanca para hacer de las suyas sin oposición alguna.

Joe Biden ganó con cierto margen, con 306 votos del Colegio Electoral, el mismo número que Trump obtuvo en 2016, cuando describió su victoria como un “triunfo aplastante”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Naomi Osaka at the 2020 U.S. Open women’s singles final. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Turning Point: Under pressure from both their fans and their players, teams from the United States’ four major sports leagues canceled games and practices to protest racism and police brutality.

“Shut up and dribble.”

That’s what a news anchor suggested LeBron James do after he discussed racism, politics and the difficulties of being a Black public figure in America during an ESPN interview in 2018.

Needless to say, he didn’t take her advice.

LeBron, the activist, first caught my eye in 2012. He and his Miami Heat teammates posted photos of themselves in hoodies to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Florida who was wearing a hoodie when he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vivienne Westwood con el atuendo que usó para dar un discurso para su serie de videos “Save the World: The Big Picture” en agosto. Credit Andreas Kronthaler

Sobre la COVID y el consuelo que brinda el arte

Lo que más extrañé durante el confinamiento fueron los museos, las galerías de arte y el teatro; son el culmen de la existencia.

El invierno pasado hice una visita especial a Viena y vi tres exposiciones de arte en las que se exhibían obras de tres grandes maestros: Jan van Eyck, Caravaggio y Alberto Durero. Con todos y cada uno de los cuadros, sentí el impacto de que nunca antes había visto algo así.

La pintura que Caravaggio hizo en 1607 de David sosteniendo la cabeza de Goliat: la espontaneidad, la fuerza vital.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un miembro del personal de la Conferencia Mundial de Inteligencia Artificial, celebrada en julio de 2020 en Shanghai, interactúa con un robot. Credit Aly Song/Reuters

Punto de inflexión: La pandemia del coronavirus inspiró una oleada de interacciones sin contacto y sin tacto, desde entregas de comida hasta servicios médicos, y provocó el remplazo de trabajadores humanos por computadoras y otro tipo de tecnología.

Desde hace años, les hemos ido dejando las tareas rutinarias a las tecnologías de automatización, robótica e inteligencia artificial. La pandemia de la COVID-19 aceleró esa tendencia, impulsada por tres necesidades: mayor productividad, menores costos y seguridad humana. En un giro repentino, el contacto humano ha dejado de ser recomendable, pero al mismo tiempo es más ansiado que nunca. Las empresas de entregas a domicilio, los plomeros e incluso algunos proveedores de equipo médico ahora alardean sobre su servicio “sin contacto”, pero todos disfrutamos cada oportunidad que se nos presenta para compartir una comida en vivo y en directo o una reunión en persona.…  Seguir leyendo »

A staff member and a robot at the 2020 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in July. Credit Aly Song/Reuters

Turning Point: The coronavirus pandemic inspired a wave of touchless, contactless interactions — including food delivery and medical care — and the replacement of human workers by computers and other technology.

Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence technologies have been taking over routine tasks for years. The Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly increased that trend, driven by the triple necessities of increased productivity, lower costs and human safety. Suddenly, human contact is both undesirable and more longed for than ever. Delivery companies, plumbers and even some medical providers now boast about their “zero contact” service, but we relish any chance we get to have an in-person meal or a face-to-face meeting.…  Seguir leyendo »

Garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, blocked a highway in April at a protest demanding their wages, which went unpaid during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown that forced most factories to suspend operations. Credit Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

Turning Point: The coronavirus pandemic plunged the $2.5 trillion worldwide fashion industry into a crisis, prompting store closures, layoffs and bankruptcy filings in the West and threatening the livelihoods of millions of garment workers around the world.

This year the world has had to confront two monumental challenges: Covid-19 and the economic catastrophe the disease has caused. Both have taken a heavy toll on economically vulnerable workers, who already had to contend with low wages and few social protections. Their plight has exposed the rampant inequality pervading many corners of the globalized world, including the fashion industry.

The economic pressures created by the pandemic have demonstrated just how dependent fashion is on the exploitation of cheap labor and how devastating this interdependence can be in times of calamity.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester shakes the hand of a member of the U.S. National Guard in Los Angeles on May 31, 2020, amid turmoil following the death of George Floyd. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Turning Point: The death of George Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed and pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, sparked demonstrations around the world.

In 2020 we were not only hit by a global pandemic, but also by police batons. We watched as protesters around the world breathed in air thick with tear gas, lost their eyesight from rubber bullets and endured torture and, in some cases, death. We desperately tried to find our loved ones among those arrested and imprisoned for participating in peaceful protests.

This was a year of radical political imagination: 2020 invited us to take our dreams seriously and inspired us to envision a better, alternative future.…  Seguir leyendo »

Discarded face masks found on Lantau Island in Hong Kong in the spring of 2020. Credit Anthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Turning Point: The spread of Covid-19 in 2020 led to dramatic reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions, with one study finding that emissions fell by roughly 1.5 billion metric tons during the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019 — the largest half-year decline in recorded history.

“No ocean, no life.” Being a Cousteau, this message was practically written into my DNA. And it’s one I’ve tried to share with the world through my many years of work as an environmental advocate.

Unfortunately, given the dire state of our oceans today, it’s clear that the message hasn’t gotten through to most people.…  Seguir leyendo »

We Need a Secretary of Food

Turning Point: The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated an already troubled food industry, leading to widespread hunger and food shortages in some populations.

I am a chef who believes in feeding the many, not just the few. So when quarantines were first introduced around the United States earlier this year, my team at World Central Kitchen, a network of chefs and community organizers stationed around the globe, looked for places where we could feed the masses affected by the combined crises of the pandemic and the recession that it has caused.

You didn’t need to be a genius to find them. The communities suffering most from the effects of Covid-19 are those suffering most from the effects of poverty and economic injustice — places like the Navajo Nation in the American West, which is larger in area than 10 of our states but often remains forgotten when we tell the American story.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lightning streaked the sky as President Trump descended from Air Force One in August following a campaign rally in New Hampshire. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Turning Point: Amid a worsening pandemic, a record number of voters in the United States elected Joseph R. Biden Jr. president, marking an end to the administration of Donald J. Trump. But President Trump had refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of presidential power even before he lost his bid for re-election.

Like many of my fellow Americans, I was aghast when President Trump refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of presidential power if he were to lose in the Nov. 3 election. And he revealed this in October, while consistently trailing the eventual victor, former Vice President Joseph R.…  Seguir leyendo »

With many women stretched between careers and personal responsibilities like helping children learn remotely, improvements in gender equality in the workplace may be another casualty of the coronavirus. Credit Maggie Shannon for The New York Times

Turning Point: Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses around the world shifted to mandatory remote-working arrangements. By June, some 40 percent of the American work force was working from home.

That working women have been pulling double and triple duty during the pandemic is, by now, old news. When women have to juggle their corporate day jobs along with a disproportionate share of family caregiving and housekeeping — as way too many of us do — the situation gets grim fast. Study after study tells the tale.

An annual report on women in the workplace from McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, and LeanIn.org,…  Seguir leyendo »

A man in funeral attire carried a European Union wreath on Jan. 31, the day Britain formally withdrew from the bloc. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Turning Point: On Jan. 31, Britain formally left the European Union after nearly 50 years as a member.

Four years after the Brexit referendum, do we yet understand the meaning of this pleasing portmanteau? The exit of Britain from the European Union, which finally occurred on Jan. 31 of this year, has been characterized as a backward lurch into nationalism, a Luddite assault on the progressive dream of globalism. How, then, are we to regard the ideals of centralization and federalism when the world has been altered forever by the coronavirus — a truly global force, somehow both arcane and futuristic, universal and microbial?…  Seguir leyendo »

Tokyo will host the first postponed Olympic Games in modern history from July 23 to Aug. 8. Credit Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times

Last year’s global itinerary, published in December 2019, looked forward to sundry worldwide events that were expected to shape 2020: in Tokyo, the most costly Summer Olympics in history; in Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East; in Brussels, a 75-meter-long “flower carpet” made with over 500,000 blossoms.

Boy, did we get it wrong. As the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, health regulations and travel restrictions prohibited large group gatherings in most countries, forcing many events to be canceled or postponed until 2021.

And yet we showed a remarkable resilience in our isolation. Take, for instance, the protests against police brutality that erupted around the world after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vivienne Westwood in an outfit she wore to give a speech for her “Save the World: The Big Picture” video series in August. Credit Andreas Kronthaler

On the pandemic and finding solace in art

The thing I missed the most while in lockdown were the museums, the art galleries and the theater — they are the high point of existence.

Last winter, I went on a special visit to Vienna and saw three art exhibitions, showcasing works by three great masters: Jan van Eyck, Caravaggio and Albrecht Dürer. With each and every painting, I felt the shock that I had never seen anything like it before.

Caravaggio’s 1607 painting of David holding out Goliath’s head: the spontaneity, the life force. From the Dürer exhibition, black ink on green paper: the German painter’s “Self-Portrait in the Nude,” nude as he saw himself in the mirror — the naked truth!…  Seguir leyendo »