Covid-19 is a pussycat

We may be fighting a deadly enemy now, but Kate Spohrer argues that worse is on the way.

How easy our leaders have found it to galvanise the world when we have a two-week death sentence. Now we have shown that we can change our behaviour and in the process cut down on carbon emissions for fear of death after a short illness which might or might not turn lethal, maybe we can pull together, slough off some of our selfish human habits and allow the earth to heal itself, as it has begun to do over the last few weeks?

There are two big barriers to cutting carbon emissions. One is our own minds, the other is the will of our politicians, which ultimately depends on how we vote, so that means there is just one barrier, our own minds.

Covid-19 has given us a great gift, chance to pause, opportunity to do very little, other than tending your garden if you have one, and contemplate your own navel, think about life and death and be in the moment, an awakening of consciousness some might say.

Have we enjoyed just a little the time to pause? Have we gone inside a little in stillness, without suffering from FOMO because everyone is in the same boat, stuck at home with only one trip out to exercise or to get essential supplies?

Some now find the opportunity to clean out that cupboard, weed that border, sow those seeds (how lucky we are that this is happening at seed sowing time), go on that walk, bike ride, spend time with the kids, experiment with wholesome home cooking, not get in the car and rush to the shops for the umpteenth time this week, not to jet off on a plane to consume more stuff in another land, and probably bring back a load of tat which will only be thrown away in an instant on your return.

I hear people say, “But I need my holidays they keep me sane”. But why do you need them; because your life is lived in the wrong gear most of the time so you are straining just to live?

The enforced idleness has allowed some the space so desperately needed, a simple human need, to retreat a little from the busy-ness of life. To re-evaluate what we really need to live, what is truly important to us. Maybe you have noticed how beautifully clear the sky is? How few planes there are? How open the roads are? How clean the air feels? How beautiful life is if we just stop to look at it?

All of these changes have been forced on us and we have largely been compliant because we are fearful of losing lives. Why then does a threat of extinguishing a relatively small proportion of the population rate so much more highly than a threat that will wipe out the human race?

What are we doing, fiddling while Rome burns?

Covid-19 has given us a practice, we now need to learn from it, to take the learnings and act on them. We won’t be able to just go inside to avoid climate change, it will find us wherever we are, and it’s here now. Compared to climate change Covid-19 is a pussycat.