A Time To Take Stock
|A Buddhist-created public garden in the middle of England|
that no-one now visits because of COVID-19
We have grown very much accustomed to thinking the over-comfortable thought that we humans had become virtually untouchable. We thought that science - medicine - had pretty well all health issues under control. Experts had thought over recent decades that a large pandemic could easily come our way, but we did not listen to that properly, just as we did not listen to the warnings about Climate Change and our over-dependence on fossil fuels.
The western world, in particular, has been on a trajectory of seemingly never-ending technological development and consequential economic growth. My own lifetime (since World War 2) has seen huge increases in our ease of living and freedom of living that could never have been predicted. But I have to say a good percentage of that 'benefit' has been useless with respect to its effect: it has given too many people a false idea of what human beings are about. And thanks to the form of brain-washing that our educational system has brought, the great spiritual masters and people of true wisdom are effectively looked at as being 'weirdos'. Until that is, people in the 'rat race' start to wonder what it's all about and look for ways to escape.
And now we contemplate the bigger cost - the cost to planet Earth.
Whilst we live under the cloud of COVID-19, the first four months in this year has already seen a remarkable showcase for existential and catastrophic risk. A severe drought, devastating bushfires, hazardous smoke, towns running dry – these events all demonstrate the consequences of human-induced Climate Change.
- the decline of natural resources, particularly water
- the collapse of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity
- human population growth beyond Earth's carrying capacity
- global warming and human-induced climate change
- chemical pollution of the Earth system, including the atmosphere and oceans
- rising food insecurity and failing nutritional quality
- nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction
- pandemics of new and untreatable disease
- the advent of powerful, uncontrolled new technology
- the national and global failure to understand and act preventatively on these risks.
It's most interesting though that, while lockdown has been going on, nature has been quick to respond - even the Venetian waterways have been cleansed as a result and are showing plenty of life: dolphins and jellyfish have made an appearance. Pollution levels in major cities have been halved in some cases.