A changed world after Covid-19

by Victoria Wangui

The natural world is thriving as human beings are keeping a distance from each other and the outside world. However, let’s all note that nature has always been minding its own business in its own spaces even in our polluted cities. Birds have always been chirping, lions have been roaring, elephants have been transecting landscapes but we seem never to realize this unless we take some time to tune in to nature. Most species in the animal and plant kingdom, have not had life any easier as their habitats get destroyed, the paths used by their ancestors are filled with human settlements and they have become food and in worse cases their body parts have become medicine and statuses of wealth. Our current situation, the corona virus pandemic, should be a stark image of the damage humans have done and will continue to do to the planet if and only if action, policies and strategies to leave the world a better place are not put in place.

Let us now more than ever remember who we are; a part of nature at a time when a virus – Covid – 19 has taken a toll on our health, our systems and our economy.

As people across the world are connecting to their homes, let us remember that we would like to keep our houses clean, washing our hands often, sanitizing every corner to ensure Covid – 19  does not thrive.  Let us also think about other species with which we share this earth. We pollute their environment, their homes, and since they have no ability to sanitize their surroundings, they run away or become part of the endangered species list. We keep our food clean at all times but are we making sure that food for other creatures and even plants is kept clean and safe or are we okay with dumping plastic and chemical waste everywhere with no regard to what other species will eat? In some cases we even choose to eat wild animals in large numbers.

Many animals are carriers of diseases. A term known as zoonosis is used to describe “a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals”. In this effect, a study proposes that pangolins are the most likely link between the corona virus, bats and humans. To stop the spread of corona virus, China imposed a total ban on trade and consumption of wild animals. This brings in the story of Ebola and how it spread across central Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola is a virus that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

As we contemplate the damage we have been doing to the world, including ourselves, let’s develop a collective consciousness on how we are interacting with the planet to prevent future epidemics that will cost us even more than we are now experiencing. The skies have become so clear I could imagine it’s the first time for many people to see clear blue skies. The planet thrives with us locked in isolation for those who must, while others have to adhere to curfews and strict social distancing policies.

However, this does not mean the planet does not need us. We have evolved with the planet from time immemorial. We have impacted the evolution of some species and we have caused the extinction of others. At this particular time, with a pandemic breaking our economy which seems to be driving the human race to rethink what we do, we need to think more clearly about how and why we do what we do. We can choose to drive more species into extinction thereby threatening our own species, or we can choose to co-exist as our ancestors did.

COVID-19 Kenya

We are social animals and cannot afford to lock ourselves in self-isolation for a prolonged period of time. We desire socialization. It’s in our DNA. Imagine if we didn’t have the internet, how would this experience have been? When we come through this we should remember our impacts as the human race. Climate change is a pandemic and the response, energy and techniques given to the Corona virus need to be reallocated to address not only climate change but poverty, access to education and global health care.