2020 reminded us that we are merely passengers on planet Earth, not
Revelling in the outdoors and the elements, I’m a grateful beneficiary
of the fact that humans have won the evolutionary lottery. Living in a
western society, cocooned from the worst of the weather and climate,
benefitting from on-tap medical care and the protection of scientific
advances, I mostly avoid nature’s challenge of surviving or thriving.
Nearly all other species tread this same knife edge line, but their daily
struggle is made all the more tenuous by the impact of human activity
on the planet - something that has always deeply troubled and fuelled
me to advocate for change leading to a career in conservation and
Pre-pandemic in 2019 and early 2020 I was buoyed by the call for
urgent action to address climate change and the biodiversity crisis.
Momentum gained as ‘climate emergencies’ were declared and it felt
like a sea change bringing hope that we might redress our relationship
with nature to secure a different future.
But, as we grappled locally with this vast challenge, events overtook
us. Far away, the disruption of food chains and natural spaces forced
an unnatural collision between animals, the environment and human
populations. This silently created the conditions for a new coronavirus
to evolve and jump species, this time infecting us.
We watched in horror, as a new virus rapidly spread untempered by
our medical safety nets. The irony being that the connected global
society we had enjoyed was now our Achilles heel. Attempting to slow
the pandemic, we isolated ourselves from one another, the antithesis
of our highly developed social structures - until now, the very behaviour
upon which human society has built its success.
Playing a small part in the unfolding crisis, I worked within Jersey’s
Government in a Herculean effort to maintain a lockdown, move
through a ‘safe exit’ and find to a new normal whilst we await
a vaccine. I was privileged and proud to work with dedicated
people who tirelessly battled with the impacts of this ongoing and
unprecedented crisis that is taking its toll on our health, mental
wellbeing and the economy.
Despite the hubris and achievements of the human race, 2020 harshly
reminds me that we’re a small cog in a vast and connected ecosystem.
Our impacts on the climate and natural systems are sadly not without