You would like to think that 2020 is some sort of training year, an obstacle course designed to test our resilience, to throw all sorts of misfortune our way to see how we deal with it. Maybe Fate Inc decided that we were too fragile, had become too used to a world without global fear. That we needed to know the sort of life that our parents did, and their parents — all generations who had lived through wars and recessions and famine.
You would like to think that this would show us the error of our ways; that global warming might be a myth, that the polluting of the seas is just a hoax; that the best attribute for a populace is hate and fear so that there is a constant angst to keep humanity on edge.
That it might be a lesson for electing the world leaders that have been elected; that this year is a warning that things can really happen if we don’t change the way we behave. To each other, and to the planet on which we plant our feet as if it is our own.
Which it’s not.
And then, you have a year like this when everything is being thrown at us. When not alone have we been forced to change our entire behaviour, but that we have been made to think about why were are doing this?
It as if this is the year when nature has said Enough. No more. If you want to see what can really happen when you mess with me... It’s no coincidence anymore that floods happen, that gales blow when the trees are full; that your fish are choking on plastic beads. Many of these things happened across the globe, so like most things, we ignore it.
But then it comes home.
Yesterday morning, the lives of many in Clifden were disrupted when water rushed through the town. Our city goes on alert more often than ever before as storms arrive with greater regularity.
Back at the start of this year, the farmers of South Galway went to bed waiting for the drip drop of rain on their roofs to know that heavy rain was on the way, and that they would probably wake up in the morning to find their fields, their yards, their houses and their entire being under several feet of water.
If there is anything to be learned from this year, it is that we can improve the way we live by being more respectful to each other, and by being more cognisant of the ability of nature and medicine to negatively impact our lives through our poor standards and practices.