What are we going to do?

March 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Australia, climate change, Destroying nature, Immunisation, Making History, Nature, Religion, Social Responsibility, Ways of Living | 20 Comments
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I have been a regular reader of Apocalyptic & post-apocalyptic novels for many years. And I have always been sure that some sort of world-wide emergency would happen eventually – human nature guaranteed it. Until very recently, we have been destroying our environment with gay abandon and even now that we know our actions are destructive, we don’t stop.

 

Greed and the desire for power have become the dominant motive guiding far too many of our leaders – not just in government, business and every other stratified organisation, but even in our own everyday lives.

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We want more than we have, even though most of us in the First World don’t need more – we are already far more comfortably off than most people in other countries – and we don’t care if we get it at the expense of others. Just look at how workers are paid a pittance in Third World countries to produce the consumables our society thinks important. Look at the response to the COVID-19 pandemic; the panic buying that has been occurring here in Australia, in Great Britain, the United States and other places, as shoppers grab as much as they can, and much more than they need.

 

But now, I believe, Nature is striking back. It is not some god from a fairy tale after-life sending the Four Horses of the Apocalypse. It is the world we have been raping, pillaging and destroying for hundreds of years. It is our lack of moral fibre, our desire for more and more goods, a better lifestyle, higher status, that has driven a natural response from our natural world.

 

The balance of the natural systems that our planet, developed over millions of years, has been overturned.  Just as it became possible for our species to develop, breed and evolve, and come to think we are the masters of the universe, we are finding that we have been changing it drastically. We are creating (have created?) a world that may well become uninhabitable to humanity – and we are taking many other life forms with us.

 

That is why the climate is changing, why there are so many “unprecedented” storms,  heat waves, freezing winters, floods, droughts and other natural events.  We have seen it in the USA, in Europe, in Asia and the sub-continent, as well as at the polar ice caps. We have seen it recently here in Australia – disastrous drought, fire and flood. And now we also have the COVID-19 virus in a pandemic that hasn’t been seen since 1918.

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COVID-19 is a naturally occurring variation of an animal virus – either bat or pangolin – that has crossed into the human population. It is a virulent and opportunistic virus to which we have as yet no resistance, apart from our own naturally developed immune responses to other viruses. And that means many are at risk, not just the old and those with already compromised immune systems, but even to seemingly healthy young people.

 

Our tendency to want to travel the world is spreading the virus more quickly than if we were in smaller, sedentary groups. Our very numbers mean that contact is hard to avoid. The social distance policy strives to overcome that somewhat, but it depends on whether people co-operate. How devastating this pandemic ends up being depends whether we can pull together, not just for humanity’s sake, but for all of our natural world.

 

Although I read of so many theoretical disastrous endings to most of the human race, and although I expected something like this to come, I didn’t think I would be here when it happened. This may not be the end of the world, but it will be the end of the world we knew. And if we don’t do our best to look after it after the pandemic has passed, then I believe it would have been better if it had been the end of humanity.

Will we go the way of the dinosaurs?

 

(c) Linda Visman 20.03.2020

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