Only in 2020 Part 3: Extinction Rebellion

from Today's Calls: Pandemic Pieces on BBC Radio Devon by Kimwei

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Today I am standing in front of a journalist with a camera, the blue-green glass of the Met Office building gleaming behind me like a waterfall, or is it a mountain, or the sea or perhaps the sky? Fellow protesters wearing masks surround me, some carrying banners larger than themselves, some holding up a huge cardboard pink boat to remind us that the water is rising.

I am trying to remember my script under the hard gaze of the camera lens (we are Extinction Rebellion and we are here to support the science on Climate Change) when the reporter cues me - “we’re recording in 3, 2, 1” - he asks a first question. I open my mouth and say “I am here to represent…” and all of a sudden I feel as though that glassy mountain of the Met Office building is sliding into my body, bringing a whole world of weather with it: storms and floods and droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes and all of the things that 500 scientists who work inside are warning us will come to pass if nothing changes. Facts and fears and truths jump into my throat and I speak for the planet: “Things have to change” I say “the science is clear”.

The second question comes and this time when I answer it is my friends who seem to jump into my voice and take over my body. Some are standing beside me as I speak and some are in London, having already travelled from Devon with banners and drums, calling for The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill to be accepted. Yesterday it was presented to parliament, whilst my friends sat outside with one simple message:

Listen to the science
The science has the answer: We must act now.

Because we do not really have what we own
Nor do we have what we buy.
We only truly have what we take care of.

We do not have what belongs to us.
We only truly have what we belong to.
We only truly have what we take care of.

The reporter asks me a third question and I feel like the whole world is inside my body as I speak. The feeling is familiar because during lockdown I have gotten used to carrying everyone to whom I am connected in my heart - everyone my choices could affect. “Only in 2020 can we look at the climate crisis with the bitter taste of the pandemic fresh on our tongues. We know what it is to face a planetary crisis that affects all of us and everything we love. 2020 has taught us to lose and to care like never before. So let’s do more. Let’s do more.”

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