And there we were, all breezing along and assuming we could do anything we liked, that the Planet Earth was only there to exploit and provide for whatever humanity wanted, when along comes ‘global heating’ and then Coronavirus!
Governments, and people, around the World mostly managed to ignore the ‘climate crisis’ problem, although it’s tough on people in the countries who are at the nub end of hot weather and lack of rain, and islanders whose homes are being inundated, and locally, those suffering from repeated flooding. However, governments (including ours in the UK) feel they can get away with continuing to tackle global heating with conferences, promises and tinkering at the edges whilst channeling serious investment into what attracts votes.
The Coronavirus pandemic cannot be kicked down the road as it is here now and killing people as it spreads. So governments have been forced to act quickly, imposing draconian controls on peoples’ lives which, it turns out, we are prepared to accept in this case (but not to address global heating).
There is a connection between the two crises, which is that they both emanate from humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources at all levels. Examples of what I mean would include a deluded Chinese paying a lot of money for some powdered keratin derived from rhinoceros horn for its miraculous health benefits at the personal level (or the increasing consumption of ‘bush meat‘), and the destruction of tropical rain forests for profit in Brazil (beef ranching) and Indonesia (palm oil) at the global level. As the forests are destroyed, compromising our planet’s ability to store carbon, exotic animals recovered from the ruins are often sold as bush meat; in fact a butcher in Wuhan is likely to have sold the meat that resulted in the transfer of the Coronavirus to humans. (One current theory is that COVID-19 originated in bats, but was carried by a mammalian host that was slaughtered in the wild to supply the butcher).
In other words, it is not just the decisions and actions of governments and billionaires that are undermining our, and our childrens’ futures, but our personal choices and actions. Will we learn from this awful experience and begin to understand that The Earth’s fragile beauty sustains us?