A founding partner’s hopes for 2021
Last week I wrote about how Bolt Burdon has coped during the pandemic. This week I would like to share a few of my personal hopes for the wider world for 2021.
As I write this our national vaccination program is well underway, and there is hope that by the Spring our lives can return to ‘normal’. But how do we want ‘normal’ to look? Surely we can learn some lessons from 2020?
Like so many, I spent much more time in 2020 watching the national news – feeling sad as the death toll from Covid-19 rose. But Covid was not caused by us. The three incidents that brought me to tears were entirely avoidable.
The first was on 20th March when I saw the video of critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough sitting in her car crying after a 48-hour shift and being faced with empty supermarket shelves due to panic buying. Who were those people buying everything in sight and ignoring the government plea to take just what we need so that there would be plenty for everyone? My hope for 2021 is that we all remember the amazing work done by so many people in the UK during this pandemic, not for the money, but because they care. I hope that in 2021 more of us will care more often for those less fortunate than ourselves.
On 20th April the BBC showed footage of the Himalayas once again visible from Delhi for the first time in over 30 years. This was the most visual of reminders of the terrible things we humans are doing to our planet. All over the world people noticed new sights and wildlife thriving as our emissions dropped during lockdown. My hope is that now everyone will reflect on the damage we are causing by our old lifestyle, and that we will all commit to making more contribution to climate improvement in 2021.
On 25th May George Floyd died in Minneapolis when a white police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest after a store clerk alleged he had used a counterfeit $20 bill. The officer refused to remove his knee from his neck for over 8 minutes, despite pleas from Floyd that he could not breathe. Other officers stood by and watched. What was unusual about George Floyd’s death was that the whole thing was filmed and broadcast to the world. I was shocked. How could one human being do this to another? The incident highlighted deep seated racial hatred. My hope for 2021 is that George Floyd did not die in vain, that his very public death will have made many of us question our own prejudices and that that will accelerate the pace of change so that racial, and all other forms of discrimination, are finally put into history where they belong.
If only we could learn these three lessons what a much better world it will be in 2021.
I wish you all a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.