The Pandemic as a Saviour: Humanity on a Probable Road to Extinction

BuzzOnEarth is an online publication on environmental sustainability and human wellness, focused on creating positive impact. BoE aims to bridge the knowledge gap and act as a catalyst in accelerating sustainable development.

As odd as it may sound, it is becoming true for the recent Coronavirus pandemic! While we mourn for the lives lost to Corona, the news abounds about how nature is springing back to life.

As the death toll rises and nations reach stage three and beyond, the air and water quality seems to be improving! We understand that such observations could be perceived as insensitive. But, think for a while! Aren’t humans responsible for the spread of Coronavirus in the first place?

After all, who eats bats? And then, once that is done, how irresponsible are those who break the quarantine and spread the disease to the masses?

Aren’t humans to blame everywhere?

But is that the right way to look at things?

Are we really being too negative about the approach?

Is blaming going to help or is there a lesson to learn?

Why not think of all the different perspectives, blend them together and then come out with a solution?

Why not, instead of just passing judgements, analyse the situation constructively!

Why not, just for a second, take a neutral route!

Well, we had all those questions too and so we thought- Why not start a dialogue?

The Neutral Approach: A Look at Things!

The resultant halt on economic activities and bringing a standstill on the usual public movement did have a lot of positive impacts on natural resources. While we would suggest you do not fall prey to any exaggerated claims of benefits to nature, a lot of good has happened nevertheless.

For instance, the heat maps showed how the pollution in China got controlled and dropped by multiple points after a few days of the shutdown. Similarly, the overall greenhouse gas emissions were reduced.

The vehicular pollution reduction resulted in reduced particulate emissions which further improved the breathing air quality of the cities.

The canals in Venice became clearer, and according to some reports, increased activity of wildlife was seen at places.

However, the question is- should so much positivity stem out of negativity? Isn’t it a bit unsettling and ironic that the reason which is responsible for the loss of human lives is helping nature recuperate!

Well, all of this is actually true and perhaps it is high time that we take steps to ensure that these two dynamics are not in conflict.

The Way Forward

We are not going to mention anything new in this section. Rather, we will just reiterate on what has been said all along– Which is that we need to find ways to develop sustainably. We have in our previous blogs talked about how sustainability can be achieved in all walks of life. The efforts towards reducing carbon footprints and turning towards renewable energy sources are commendable indeed.

However, the world probably needs more than that. Mindless development does not make sense and we feel that it is high time for organisations to understand this. It isn’t uncommon for growth-driven capitalistic societies to end up neglecting those who lie at the bottom of the economic strata. Yet, a virus-like Corona is a brutal reminder that nature treats everyone equally and when it fights back, it does not make any exceptions.

And it is not that one is expecting major changes to be made. Simply reducing the shift times by even an hour can make a huge difference. Running factories for 21 hours instead of 24 will allow 3 hours’ worth of extra breathing space. Using biodegradable ingredients instead of chemicals will not just boost productivity but also ensure the health of the land.

By finding better and renewable or eco-friendly resources we can start a chain that will generate employment for not just the skilled but also semi-skilled or unskilled resources. A focus on just building construction for those who well off does not make sense. Instead, the Government and Private sectors should collaborate and work towards the development of residential complexes for the poor as a part of improved urban planning and infrastructure. Such a situation will be a win-win for all.

At BuzzOnEarth, we feel that it should not be difficult to think of a sustainable way out of this situation. One just needs to prioritize this and think more long term and sustainably.

The Parting Note!

Humans have the tendency to ignore long-term consequences and live in the present.  We need to look at the scenario in big picture terms rather than in a splintered fashion. Due to immediate growth prerogatives, we tend to forget about ultimate outcomes.

For example, building hotels in the mountains will improve livelihood and boost tourism. But, it will also increase the probability of landslides and floods. Something like this was well evident in the Uttarakhand floods of 2013 in India. Then there were the Australian forest fires, the extinction of several species,  multiple American hurricanes, the Tsunami and the list goes on.

The point is, an equilibrium has to be maintained. We have learnt of the term entropy and we have also seen how everything in the world wants a balance. So if we continue to tamper a lot with nature, it will eventually force its own way back to a state of equilibrium – and mother nature will restore the equilibrium as forcefully as we disturbed it in the first place.

The Question remains- Are we Up for It?