Only in 2020 Part 4: Twenty​-​Twenty Vision

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




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ONLY IN 2020 PART 4: 2020 VISION

It’s official - Sir David, the nation’s grandfather, has spoken and confirmed what we have all been wondering since March: this terrible pandemic that has scorched its way across the earth… have we caused it? “Scientists have linked our destructive relationship with nature with the emergence of COVID-19” - as Sir David talks it becomes clearer and clearer, climate change, coronavirus, species extinction - they are not separate problems, they are all the same problem with the same cause.

I turn the television off, look around the room - every object seems to unfold into its pollutant parts, the TV itself a plastic monster. The IKEA sofa (built as cheaply as possible for my convenience) to be piled onto a landfill mountain whenever I feel like replacing it. The pregnant orange fridge pulsing in the corner reminds me of the bright red river I saw onscreen a few minutes ago, it’s filled with foods farmed into the habitats of creatures that I would adopt in a second if I found them homeless on my doorstep.

My youngest comes down from her bedroom to get a snack and scoops up Billy, our cat, from the arm of the sofa on her way to the kitchen. She has just started an animal care course at Bicton College, and every day she regales us with stories of lessons which might involve taking a lizard and some goats for a walk, ending up chasing them round and round the big tree before finally wrestling their feet into an iodine dip. I imagine her with a rescued pangolin, holding the scaly anteater in her arms in a dejected curled ball, until it forgets its time in captivity and begins to love her as much as Billy, who she is gently lifting onto her shoulder as she climbs back up the stairs with a packet of crisps tucked under her arm.

I get up and shout after her that I am going to the shops, but instead I find myself driving to Dartmoor, painfully aware of what it is to drive: in my mind’s eye the diesel fumes leaving my exhaust merge with the smoke of forest fires and the sounds of screaming and death.

Once I reach the path to Wistmans Woods I’m finally walking on land that has not been touched for hundreds of years. I take off my trainers and hide them in a dry stone wall, then pad through bright green grass, weaving between boulders as I climb the hill. A rolling landscape spreads out in every direction under the bright afternoon sun and as I breathe out I feel as though the land is breathing with me. It’s all an attempt to feel like a natural human, to go back to before all this happened, but my digital watch gives me away as I glance at it by accident - casio not caveman. The sight is sharp and clear, as the sun reflects in the glass of the watch face and as I look back to the hills and tors and crystal blue sky I suddenly have twenty-twenty vision - the vision to see that it is impossible to escape what I now know. Only in 2020 can we see the full 360 of what we are losing and what we have lost and so with 2020 vision we must turn a 180, from crisis to solution.

“This is the moment”. This is the year. I stand on a hill by the Devil’s woods with my bare feet and my digital watch and I wish twenty-twenty vision on every politician, on every businessman, on everyone in the world.



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