This blog is about the current pandemic and what humans shall learn from it. We have encountered in our ongoing lockdown lives such news as ‘this is the purest air we are breathing right now’, ‘our Earth is healing’, and ‘animals are catching up with human-acquired spaces to those that belong to these creatures as well. This post is about the Earth healing from anthropogenic activities, other species enjoying the absence of humans, and above all, a utopia that all humans shall work towards!
This blog is a little utopian in nature. By utopian biodiversity, I mean all species living in harmony, respecting Mother Earth, and giving more than what humans take from it, respecting boundaries and limits to production in such amounts as are necessary for us to be able to satisfy our needs and dreams whilst living a happy and healthy lives with our family, friends and the people around us. Have you ever wondered why we have lost the chirping of birds, their melodious sound? You might have got up while listening to such sounds in the mornings of your childhood!
This corona crisis, where our busy lives have stopped for a while, forces us to think why we are running, whom we are running for, why we can’t take a moment, take a pause in life, and just admire the beauty of nature, animals, seas, aquatic life and, most importantly, our relationships with our fellow beings. Sometimes, I wonder why we carry so many expectations. What is success? What are our needs? There will be no future for what most of us are working for. Thus, defining success, in simple terms, is being happy, happy with what you do and being who you are.
We humans have the power to think and create, but ironically, we tend to destroy whatever we lay our hands on – forests, wildlife, aquatic life and what not. We are destroyers rather than creators. We know this pandemic disease spreads across borders; did it require any visa? I guess not! It has traveled across seas and is killing thousands to the point where we can’t find enough land for burials. It’s vital for us to reflect on those millions of animals killed in the Australian fire, Amazon fire. And we lost the lungs of our Mother Earth.
If this lockdown wasn’t in your interest, you wouldn’t go for it. There is no Planet B and the colonisation of Mars won’t help us if we can’t take care of what we already have. Here, we shall keep in mind future generational justice. The only religion we need to follow is being more human in nature i.e. humanity. We need to balance this shared world and learn from mistakes we have been doing so far. We have the power of creation as well as of destruction, something which other species don’t have.
We are seeing the poor getting food; the daily wagers, who dig the well every day to satisfy their hunger, are getting food from our contributions, which is not enough. But yes, together we can do more. This disease is not killing as many people as it was earlier. More people have died due to road accidents, murders, rapes and other causes. We must plan according to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). If we just produce as much as is required to eat, it shall satisfy our needs. This way we accomplish our first SDG.
Another answer could be Gandhi’s idea of the oceanic circle that incorporates ideas of power flowing from below and a decentralised economy, where agricultural activities would be at the center of humanity’s concern, and we grow only sufficiently enough to earn our bread and butter.
Give a man food to eat, and he will be able to live for a few days. But teaching him some skills will make him productive. If we only act according to our needs, then we can reduce the gap between rich and poor.
The Rio Declaration of 1992 gave the concept of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and defined the roles of developed, developing and underdeveloped nations. Today, the concept that must be realised is that there are no differentiated responsibilities, but these responsibilities are common in nature. All countries must act now. The countdown has already begun.
However, there’s a technological difference in “sharing is caring”. How will lives be saved in this quarantine? Well, the answer is to take extreme steps and measures, to change and live our lives and fight for survival.
If we ask our grandparents and parents what is that one thing in life that they would do if they were sent back to the past, the answer to this would be, “We will live more, rather than accumulating more wealth. We would work on making our relations with people better, admire the beauty of nature, and make this world a better place to live in.”
Pure air to breathe, clear blue skies, the chirping of birds, the ozone layer healing itself, turtles laying eggs on beaches in absence of humans, and the global air current flowing back to normal and the reducing air pollution are a few of the many good things that are happening. Although, no quarantine, no immune system, and no vaccine can reverse the effects of climate change.
Our homes will be safe in the future, and our species will live. But can we promise the same to those who can’t speak for themselves? We only have a few years left. Was Thanos, the Avengers Endgame character, right? Well, certainly not. A lot of people who vanished or died in his fictional world weren’t guilty, but what if people vanish for real?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not enough to satisfy every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We don’t need a luxurious life; we need a more humane life. Healing beyond borders is healing of nature.
About the author: Hitesh is pursuing MA Political Science from DU, SOL.