We should stop these if we want to overcome the COVID pandemic and more like it in the future.
Everyone has already said something about COVID-19 and what it has taught us. Even though you’re saturated with advice and roadmaps to deal with the pandemic, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to listen to yet another layman’s perspective on it.
So, let’s get straight to it!
The grim realities that COVID-19 exposed
There’s a martial arts technique where you weaken the stance of your opponent with a series of blows, after which you can bring him/her down with one final blow. (I saw this in a children’s anime show, btw.)
COVID-19 is the blow on the head that brought humanity to its knees while exposing the weak points in our existence which we ignored for so long. Be it poor health systems of countries, hunger, religious conservatism, or incompetent rulers and administrative systems, these latent dysfunctions have become the breeding ground of the disease worldwide.
It has also shown us some of the most astonishing contradictions. America, a country acclaimed for high living standards and the most effective health system, has done a deplorable job in dealing with the pandemic. Asian countries, on the other hand, have done exceptionally well in the same.
Similarly, Western and urbanized cities all over the world, where everything goes superbly fine, have been the hardest hit, bringing the global political-economic superstructure to a standstill.
The lives lost due to the pandemic also show an underlying issue: the diabetic, the obese, and the people marred by lifestyle diseases or respiratory disorders have become the greatest casualty in it.
In all this, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that all the Corona pandemics, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), have not broken out due to poor nutrition, poor sanitation, conflicts, or war. Rather, these are caused directly by modern human growth, encroachment into nature, and cruelty towards animals.
Need for introspection
When most of the countries were at full lockdown, some were talking about introspection and the need to change human ways. But now that our governments have decided that lockdown can’t be the viable solution, the call for reform has also died away. Yet, can we go forward without introspection and reform?
Change is inevitable
It goes without saying that humans have thrown off the balance in nature. We’re paying the price for the imbalance we’ve caused. Few will deny that we should change lest humanity will be in crisis. Meaning, humanity cannot have comfortable living conditions or security in the disharmonious environment we’ve created.
But what are the immediate reforms needed? Where do we start?
I’ll try and explore this in the article. If you feel that my analysis wasn’t complete or exhaustive, please tell me in the comments sections.
- Environmental laws that don’t matter:
This is a no-brainer. The last international protocol on climate change, the Paris Agreement has been negotiated by 196 countries. How many of them are following it? The answer is also a no-brainer. All democratic republics have very solid environmental laws, but that’s not doing anything at all.
The most crucial factors in this pandemic are habitat destruction and cruelty towards animals.
As the video suggests, when you encroach into forests and self-sustaining ecosystems, usurp them and drive out the organisms, we’re inviting horrible karma on us. Believe me, animals cannot be treated like modern slaves or barbaric populations that have no significance but to be killed by our weapons! It’s just as bad as killing human populations and taking them slaves as in Industrial, colonial, and post-colonial times!
- Protection of indigenous tribes:
Coming to the point of human populations driven out of their ecosystems; they were the natural custodians of the numerous regions now threatened. Therefore, the protection of indigenous tribes and human custodians of natural ecosystems is pivotal to the survival of the human species!
Think about it. Adivasis, Native Americans, Indigenous tribes in Amazon forests, early African tribes like Maasai have survived through millenniums as populations.
No, they don’t have smartphones, automobiles, ceramic and silver wares, but they’ve, without expectation, cracked the secret to human survival and passed on that knowledge through generations. We must respect, preserve, and learn from them how to conserve Mother Earth. (If someone’s ego is experiencing shock, hilarity or anger, I’m sorry about that).
- Corruption and state sponsored destruction of environment:
The infamous wet markets in China are said to be the cradle of many global pandemics, COVID-19 only being the latest. Do you know why wet markets were necessary?
The Great Famine (1959–1961) following Mao Zedong’s Four Pests Campaign became the cause of cannibalism and animal hunting for food in China. Consequently, the CCP legalized this horrible human adaptation which caused unspeakable tragedies that have now resulted in the death of millions of people (how many animals?). Now China has made the dog meat trade illegal. But that won’t change anything as black markets are sprawling in the country.
While it was an administrative blunder in China, African and Middle Eastern countries have no such laws allowing the killing and poaching of animals. Yet, the wildlife in both regions is threatened in a disproportionate magnitude. In fact, every nation turns a blind eye toward animal cruelty and environmental degradation, until there is a mass death toll of humans, not animals!
- Consumerism and overuse of technology:
Why do humans exploit the environment in this manner? Why do we break every law and find loopholes to destroy ecosystems? Why do MNCs and corporations find unsuspecting populations in poorer countries to exploit? The answer is greed, consumerism, and egoistic pursuits.
A lot has been said about this; I won’t go into more detail. I just want to say two things here: greed, obsession, and endless competition won’t solve anything. The agro-industrial boom in the West didn’t solve hunger or food problem. Dams, irrigation projects never solved the water problem. Agricultural revolutions all over the world didn’t feed everyone. The meat industry never added nutrition into our food, only toxins. I shouldn’t even mention the fashion and cosmetic industries here! It’s about time we stopped lying.
Moreover, it’s understandable that humans have the technology to redesign any piece of land. With our machines, destruction is easy; the building is easy. But in the same logic isn’t it relevant to ask: isn’t the nature good at creation and destruction too?
You take down trees three or four times mightier than us, animals that are more powerful and larger; lakes, rivers, and even seas become battlegrounds in the name of human growth. But aren’t we starting these fights which we can’t win?
Once again, I want you to remember Mao Zedong’s blunder of killing all the sparrows. Or, the global warming phenomenon we experience today. If humans decide to ‘fight’, ‘conquer’ and ‘tame’ nature, we’ll be the ones who end up losing.
- Blunders in the name of religion/ spirituality/ medicine/ aesthetics:
Why are elephants and rhinos hunted for their horns? Why are vultures and other big birds hunted in Africa? Why are reptiles, tigers, and lions poached? Why are bears, pangolins, and exotic animals tortured to their death in cages? Why are rats, guinea pigs, and monkeys bred? This unnecessary and cruel exploitation of nature has to stop. Otherwise, the risk of outbreaks, mass starvation, mass killings, and terror mafia won’t end.
These should be our first steps
Humans must learn to live in harmony with nature. Only then we can hope to have sustainable and equitable well-being as a species. But, in today’s standing, that’s a far off dream.
The issues I’ve touched upon in this article have the potential to cause dire catastrophes at any moment. If they’re not addressed immediately, humans will suffer like rats in a maze! Yes, we’ve reached that point in history.
Coronavirus is not going to go away for a long time. Now, even if we manage to develop a vaccine, we’ll just make matters worse. Because, by avoiding this apocalyptic reality on the sly, we’re just postponing and augmenting the threat. Another outbreak, another calamity, another pandemic will be brewing every moment, and what if it’s worse than this one? How long will we live like this?
So, it’s time for us to introspect: are we going to confront our dark side? Or are we, the most intelligent species in the world, going to use our ‘smartness’ to destroy ourselves?
P.S: The points I put across in this article are rather generic. I’d write another one on the steps an individual can take to make a profound difference in these matters.
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