Nature’s Nasty Nudge

Veera is a published Author (‘Endured’ and ‘#LoveBitesLifeHacks’) and Columnist; a passionate Educator and Counsellor; Poet and Philosopher… but most of all, a lover of all things literary.

Welcome, dearest world, to 2020! Fearful, anxious, panic stricken – are we? Think back, to how long we have been plundering, corrupting and marauding it! It took a tiny virus to bring us to our knees, to understand how copiously vulnerable we are, despite all our advancement in medicine research and technology. 

The globe is going through a healthcare catastrophe, the sort unprecedented. While COVID-19 rules, the world, as we know it, will soon cease to exist. The two World Wars put together dim in comparison to the devastation this virus has been and will continue to dispense, in its wake.  Frazzled trade, fragmented economises, dizzy governments, the world at large will take years to get back its balance. Losses will be unprecedented, chaos insurmountable, life as we know it – changed, with this chapter as the worst yet recorded, in the annals of history. 

You can call it an apocalypse, even say that Armageddon has arrived at our doorstep. Astrologers had predicted, numerologists had ascertained, books had been written, and movies had hinted… but in 2020, we sure are living it. Whether the coronavirus pandemic is an oversight is debatable, but a warning it definitely is!

Flouting rules, ignoring red flags, disregarding common sense… Nature has finally said, “Enough!” These outrageous ecocidal proclivities of men, that hubris of capitalism, has done irreversible damage to our planet. Scientists have long described our era here, as ‘Anthropocene’ or the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. We have basically turned science and technology into weapons for the conquest of the world – land, seas and skies included! Yes, this conquest has brought tremendous gain, profit and advancement, no doubt, but along the way, we have committed immense and unforeseen atrocities – wiping out the rich variety of life, filling our land with toxic poisons and the seas with plastic, oil and deleterious pollutants. For decades, we have killed and forced to extinction wild animals and plants, insects, birds, fish and other countless forms of life on land, rivers, lakes and seas… all without a violent response.

Patient Zero emanated from a notorious wet market in Wuhan, where species of animals are kept in shameful, unhygienic state of miserable imprisonment, slaughtered, eaten. While a smorgasbord of dogs are boiled alive; bats are relished – served on sticks, like lollipops or skewered; kittens slaughtered; rats fried and giant snakes carved for human consumption! Bears, tigers, wolf cubs, crocodiles and turtles are not spared either! Hygiene standards are atrocious, cross-contamination is rampant and animal cruelty – completely off the scale! These are but cesspools of man’s defacement or degradation. 

We were created to walk this earth in humility, compassion and respect for all life. We are accountable, you know. What is the carbon footprint you will leave behind? Maybe this virus was a way to shred the notion that there is no ragged end to our world. In the Homeric Hymn to ‘Gaia’, earth describes it as the mother of the gods and wife of heavens, meant to nourish every single plant and being. The ancient Greeks were not alone in venerating the Earth. Many other ancient civilizations and pre-modern people thought of the Earth as their Mother and the source of the entire natural world around us. The disdain and disrespect we have shown this bounty, with our obsessive dominance, plodding ahead without a thought or fear of our excessive thieving spirit, has finally caught up with us. It took a nasty nudge, but nature has shown us how fragile and naked we really are. 

Under the regime of the coronavirus, we have awaked to a new world. Nature decided on some gun-slinging of her own, from the shoulders of this virus, while she decided to put a stop with this one-sided persecution and molestation. The machinery of the world is brought to a grinding halt, but will this panic and feeling of vulnerability suffice? Or will it be forgotten on the heels of a vaccine? Are we to revert back to our narcissistic arrogance? This is a revolutionary time in the history of all mankind. We need to pause and understand the lessons we have learnt. Are we capable of imagining a world where the highest ideal of all society is the welfare of its people, in conjunction with nature? 

While we cower under the fear of this pandemic – life, the future, all of nature has awakened. With more of us indoors, the outdoors is flourishing. The sky more blue, the grass – greener, and the birds chirpier! While the whole world is on a sabbatical, it seems the earth is awakening to a new dawn. Looks like our today, tomorrow and months to follow may drift solely on telecommuting. We are suddenly free from the 19th century shackles of working from behind a desk for a few appointed numbers of hours, at which we are expected to sit, much like our children in schools. We rise to alarm clocks, get into cars, belch carbon into the environment; and alternating between working and goofing off, we clock our hours to a monotonous day. 

For many of us the coronavirus has nearly been liberating, even amidst the quarantines! How awful that it took a threat of a global pandemic for us to take advantage of technology that has existed for years! How cowardly of us not to have demanded this freedom earlier. Our children are freed from classrooms, adults from unnecessary office space, the roads from spewing pollutants and the worlds for a moment, from this human infestation, everywhere you look. Ironic, isn’t it, that for the first time the earth is breathing, while we are struggling for breath?

What if we never went back? Shocking! Incomprehensible! But why? What if this was to be our new norm. Under the coronavirus, we wake with the sun, we take leisurely mornings; we fit our work around our children, spouses and families. Instead of spending precious hours away from family, now we work, play, create and find things to do together. There is fear, but we are leaning towards a quiet hush all around… none of that unnecessary scurry and noisy cancers of our modern-day living. For all those office drones, imagine mornings waking up to the sun and spending each day, doing at each moment, what you would most want to do! That could be ours, if only we can imagine it. A world where going to work becomes a strange anachronism from a dimly remembered past and spending time with family and friends feels ridiculously good, no matter how spectacular its dysfunction! 

With the COVID-19, mankind will lose, but humanity may prevail!  

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