Have we not just been given a huge window of opportunity? Has God not just opened up a crack in the “what’s possible” door during lockdown? Have we not just been given another chance to rectify all the things that we have been doing badly that will ultimately destroy life as we know it?
Many factors point this way during the necessary and almost worldwide lockdown to curb the pandemic:
- Satellite footage shows Italy’s Venice canals crystal clear now that no tourists are moving around the city
- Milan, also in Italy, is virtually unrecognisable with hardly any smog
- In India, people are seeing the Himalayas from a distance for the first time in three decades and the most polluted city in the world, Delhi, is revealing blue skies
- The smoke city, Los Angeles, has now a lot less smoke and the world as a whole seems to be undergoing an incredible transformation
- In South Africa, lions have even been photographed sleeping on what were previously busy roads
Tom Foolery published this beautiful poem in video format – the words of which are of a father speaking to his young son before the boy goes to sleep:
“Tell me the one about the virus again, then I’ll go to bed”.
“But, my boy, you’re growing weary, sleepy thoughts about your head”.
“That one’s my favourite. Please, I promise, just once more”.
“Okay, snuggle down, my boy, but I know you all too well.
This story starts before then in a world I once would dwell”.
“It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,
Back before we understood why hindsight’s 2020
You see, the people came up with companies to trade across all lands
But they swelled and got much bigger than we ever could have planned
We always had our wants, but now, it got so quick
You could have anything you dreamed of, in a day and with a click
We noticed families had stopped talking, that’s not to say they never spoke
But the meaning must have melted and the work life balance broke
And the children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone
They filtered out the imperfections, but amidst the noise, they felt alone.
And every day the skies grew thicker, ‘till you couldn’t see the stars,
So, we flew in planes to find them, while down below we filled our cars.
We drove around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run
We swopped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks ‘till there were none
We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped
Until, each day when you went fishing, you’d pull them out already wrapped
And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us why
It’s best to not upset the lobbies, more convenient to die
But then in 2020, a new virus came our way,
The governments reacted and told us all to hide away
But while we were all hidden, amidst the fear and all the while,
The people dusted off their instincts, they remembered how to smile
They started clapping to say thank you and calling up their mums
And while the car keys gathered dust, they would look forward to their runs
And with the skies less full of voyagers, the earth began to breathe
And the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off into the seas
Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking
We’d grown so used to bad news, but some good news was in the making
And so when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside
We all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind
Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new
And every simple act of kindness was now given its due”
“But why did it take us so long to bring the people back together?”
“Well, sometimes you’ve got to get sick, my boy, before you start feeling better
Now, lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that we can do
And who knows, if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true
We now call it The Great Realisation and yes, since then, there have been many
But that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight’s 2020”
An important question – can human beings and more specifically, governments, see the signs and understand the signals that the earth is giving us and will they change attitudes and behaviour accordingly? The pandemic has become a teacher, but not everyone listens to the teacher. I long for the day when decisions are made selflessly and with the principles of sustainability in mind.
The earth, sky and water are fine without humans – they carry on living and even prosper whilst we are locked down. Maybe when we come back from lockdown, we need to hear the earth whispering: “Remember, you are my guests”.