People experiencing lockdown might have never anticipated the flip side of remaining in isolation for so long. As their experience in self-isolation becomes frustrating, statement like, ‘COVID19 pandemic is the worst calamity of all’, etc. might seem logical. However, if one were to debate if COVID19 is really the biggest crisis till date and if it supersedes any other, for instance, the global warming crisis, then the topic would be like the proverbial argument about chicken and egg.
It is true that COVID19 would probably top the list of global calamities and also may have achieved a celebrity status if personified. It has also come to be feared as one of the most life-threatening diseases, in spite of technically having a low mortality rate, compared to other diseases in history like the Spanish flu. Despite all this, I would like bust your myth and say that COVID19 is not the worst of global crises.
Not undermining the effects of COVID19, global warming beats COVID19 by leaps and bounds and is light-years ahead when it comes to the devastating effects that the former poses. If we observe closely, the COVID19 pandemic is also a threat from nature itself that manifested into a pandemic. One of the prime reasons that COVID19 falls behind on the ‘to-be-feared’ list (compared to global issues) is because, the disease can still be prevented if we follow certain protocols and stay fit.
On the other hand, global warming is a major threat that requires a cumulative global effort to thwart its effects. The only common ground between the two is that both can be overcome by efforts on an individual level, the only difference being COVID19 is deemed a threat because of its quick negative side-effects as opposed to the slow doom with global warming. Maybe it is human psychology to wait for an impending doom to become an unavoidable crisis before it is acted upon.
Is there a Connection between COVID19 and Climate Change?
According to WHO and other global research organizations, there is no conclusive proof that COVID19 and climate change have any direct correlation. Global warming and climate change are at a tipping point because of the human quest for progress in the last 5+ decades. As a result, nature has endured air, water and even space pollution. The long terms effects of COVID19 might help the planet to get back on track to some extent, but it is doubtful that it will have a meaningful impact on the environment.
Here is an example why –
Although, the skies are clearer and NASA and ESA can see the global air pollution dying down a bit, the use of masks and PPE to counter the pandemic has increased generation of plastic waste. Poaching has increased in the African continent with the relaxation of laws during this period, and a considerable amount of trees are being cut in the Brazilian forests under the cover of law. Either way, it is not helping the cause to restore the environment.
Will humans as a species need to pay an irrefutable price to restore the environment?
Remember Genghis Khan, the Mongol Emperor credited for killing more than40 million people in his quest for expansion! As a result of his actions, the global carbon footprint reduced and went into the negative spectrum during his time.
In modern times, the country of Bhutan has a negative carbon footprint and the only country in the world to have achieved this. However, they did not have to massacre people to achieve this; instead, they have planted trees that absorb more carbon dioxide than the country produces.
It’s time to choose between what kind of measures we need to adopt in order for human species to survive. Don’t worry, we won’t need another Genghis Khan to wipe us out; I am pretty sure nature is self-aware and will write our impending doom if we do not give it and the other species a chance to survive.
COVID19 as a useful phenomenon
COVID19 is bad, devastating and has a dystopian streak to itself. However, we have overcome severe pandemics in the past and we will survive this too. However, the learning from COVID19’s aftermath is a choice and a wise one indeed. It’s a time to practice hygiene, have empathy for our loved ones and also conserve our resources in trying times – baby steps all the way.
Global warming, on the other hand, requires a conscious effort to counter. With COVID19, the awareness of the disease being life threatening is notably evident. However, global crises like climate change and pollutions make us the proverbial frog cooking to its slow death. In both conditions, we need to save ourselves and that begins with responsible actions –baby steps all the way.
So, be the person who saves the world in your own way. The world needs you today.