What if this was her way of talking to us? Scratch that. What if this was Mother Nature’s way of screaming at us whilst violently shaking us and intermittently slapping us in the face?
Her hope would be that many of us might start to consider the weight our individual, routine, daily actions.
Because if we don’t, there’ll be a price to pay.
COVID-19 has carved a path that will remain engraved in our collective memories for centuries to come. As it travels through our planet, we either wait in paralysing anxiety, or we are witness to the destruction it has left behind.
These aren’t the brightest of days; times are strange. I’ve never read the bible, let alone sought solace from a biblical quote.
However, when I look at what is transpiring around me at the present moment, there’s one particular sentence that seems… good;
…where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy…
While the vision of humans scurrying into our homes, chased by a novel disease seems ominous, the result of our social confinement and economic standstill, has had an impressively positive effect on the environment.
Let’s look at cruise ships. First off, they’re gone – thank fuck for that. Cruise ships have a tendency to burn the dirtiest grades of fuel (24 hours of the day), quite literally emitting emissions equivalent to 1 million cars per day. By stepping foot onto a cruise ship, you’re electing to triple your carbon footprint.
Venice is a popular destination for cruises. Unsurprisingly, the canals of The Floating City are the cleanest they have been in recent memory, according to locals. The canals have turned from a murky-green to blue, with swans, fish, and other wildlife returning to the waterways their ancestors used to call home.
Opposition to these vessels of indolent gluttony isn’t new, locals have wished for their eradication for years now. In Venice, the hope is that the current lockdown will be an opportunity to reflect, to re-organize how in the future, the tourism industry can harmonise both their interests and the interests of the City.
Poignant images are those of the deserted corners of Times Square and the barren streets of the Champs Elysées. Venice represents a microcosm of similar cases throughout the world experiencing a re-generation in the desertion of human activity.
However, what if the problem isn’t actually in the ‘cruise ship’?
It was in November of 2019 when I first heard of the ‘case against having kids’ – through the radio, of all platforms… What if it’s no longer ‘moral’ to have kids? What if COVID-19 represents the new normal? What if there’s a second coming of Smallpox? Why bring them into a world that doesn’t plan adequately enough to protect them during moments of health crises, or give them universal and equal access to health care. One less mouth to feed, less unemployment, less congestion, the list goes on. Some academics truly believe that we ought to trend towards a path where the world’s population drops to zero. I am not a proponent of this notion, I am more on the side of those that believe that more people means more ideas, and those ideas become the fuel for progress. I am however, a proponent of the idea that families who procreate as if women were procreative serfs – to borrow a term I quite enjoyed reading – much like the farming families of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, or the Duggar’s, should kindly cease to exist.
We, as humans, just don’t seem capable of stemming the slow destruction of our environment. What if now, Mother Nature is rolling up her sleeves, and is preparing to take matters into her own hands?
What if, like all of her creatures, Mother Nature too has defence mechanisms? Why is it that viruses seem to emerge from the most densely populated corners of the world? What if, much like Venice’s canals and stilts holding the city together, the Earth has a maximum to its human capacity – and what if we’re actually at the tipping point?
I understand that there’s no proof that a virus jumping from a bat to a human is scientific proof that Mother Nature is curbing our population growth because her shoulders are getting a little tired by the weight of our existence. At the same time, I can’t say that it’s not. After all, don’t those that believe in a religion suspend everything that is true about the scientific method?
I believe this is an opportunity to reflect on our life choices. Every decision has an outcome. Whether we see them or not, they exist.
I’ve often wondered how our current pandemic will reverberate throughout the psyche of our humanity. How will this change our values and commitments to public health? To environmental commitments? Will we remain static and march on as if this was a one-off? Will we learn from this and evolve into more forward-thinking people? What if now was the time to trade in that minivan for the electric car you were thinking of getting? I know for a fact this will change my behaviour moving forward, and I can’t help but remain optimistic that I’m not the only one.
Examples of Earth’s regenerative capabilities are not only comforting to see, they serve as motivation, to continue to act in a manner that better match the rhythms of the natural world.
How can I carry a bit more of the weight resting on Mother Nature’s shoulders? Among many, one of the most immediate and easily attainable is to consume more mindfully.
I guess this has been a long-winded way to explain the fact that my blog will be shifting its focus to promote and celebrate producers that hold the health of their environment as a central pillar of their organization. Biodynamic farms, natural winemaking techniques, regenerative organic practices, sustainable agricultural practices – the wines I choose to spend my money on, as well as write about, will engage in any or all of these activities.
I hope you’ll stay tuned.