…Earth isn’t a resource for us to use, it’s an ecosystem we’re part of, so maybe we’re being given an opportunity to evaluate how we’re living in it.
-Dr. John Amaral, referring to the Covid-19 pandemic-
Is this it? Is this the tipping point that people say will change the way we do things? Will the flu pandemic make us realize that we can shift our lifestyles to take better care of each other and of the planet? (See this previous article) Or will it be back to business—business as usual, that is—as soon as the pandemic loosens its grip on us? If preserving life is the motivation for all that has been set into motion in the past few weeks, shouldn’t we be doing just as much to ensure that our young people not have to bear multitudinous pandemics and natural disasters in their lifetimes? Can we use the momentum created by the pandemic as a bridge, one that will help us heal the damage done to the natural world?
Connecting for a Common Cause Makes Us Feel Good
Many are going through very difficult times right now. Some have lost loved ones, others have lost their source of income. And if we haven’t yet lost either, we are worried that we will. On TV, we are seeing people walking hundreds of kilometers with young children just to be able to isolate with family. Amid this suffering though, we are also seeing so much courage. And solidarity. And generosity. And creativity. It really has brought out the best in many of us.
It’s been interesting and so, so heartening to see how we’ve been able to come together in a massive way during this crisis. People are staying home, taking care of families, friends and neighbors. They are making noise to thank and support our health workers. There is a lot of optimism to be had on social media in the form of funny memes, messages, songs and videos. So many are stepping up to entertain and encourage others who may be having a hard time right now.
Have you been experiencing any silver linings? If you have extra time on your hands, have you used it for creativity and connection? Has your focus shifted? It feels like we are stronger than we realize. And that we don’t need as much fluff as we think we do. We are getting back to the basics.
Rethinking Business As Usual
There is no question that our efforts to minimize the damage done by this flu virus is helping the planet. We’ve seen the satellite images showing much less air pollution, and clearer waters in places like Venice. Travel restrictions everywhere have lessened traffic and cleaned the atmosphere. Many, anticipating that our food supplies might dwindle, are planning to grow their own food. Others have vowed to shop locally to keep small businesses from going under. Now that we are in this process, will we make the necessary changes to our lifestyles?
We have some genuine momentum going on here! If we go back to an economy where overconsumption is advocated and sanctioned, the Earth and its future inhabitants will surely suffer. Will our Covid-19 experience help us transition into a lifestyle where we step a little more lightly on the Earth? Based on our present experience of solidarity against the virus, shouldn’t we consider extending this global movement to help deal with the environmental crisis? Soon, while we still have the choice?