I don't have to explain the details of COVID-19, but the entire world is shut down: non-essential workers have been laid off or have been asked to work from home.
There are fewer people in the street, fewer cars on the road, and fewer planes in the air, which comes to mind many questions, but for me, they boil down to two theories:
1. Is the earth trying to teach us a lesson?
2. Or is this brought on by our own thoughts and wishes?
Theory Number One: Are we being taught a lesson?
If we push our bodies and minds when we feel physically or mentally drained, we make ourselves susceptible to illnesses. These illnesses are a way of letting us know that we should slow down and rest or at least take a break. Why is the earth any different?
The earth has been pillaged, scraped, and drilled; it has had to breath dirty fumes and drink plastic bottles. The earth is a human dumping ground. Is it any wonder that it would eventually get sick?
In the previous century alone, the earth gave us a chance to reflect on our behaviour towards it, and towards ourselves, for example, the Spanish Flu of 1918. According to Wikipedia, the death toll was 50 to 100 million people. Was that supposed to be a wake-up call, especially right after the First World War? Was the earth reminding us that we were equal, no matter our nationality, colour, or religious beliefs?
With the Spanish flu completely forgotten and the Second World War to follow only twenty-one years later, the earth could see that we had not learned our lesson. In between the flu and the war were the Roaring Twenties, where we indulged, only to be warned of our frivolity during the Great Depression. But the earth continued to accommodate us, while we consistently abused it with the invention of plastic, the increased use of more fossil fuels, and the depletion of wildlife and natural resources. We became greedier and greedier at the expense of the earth, and without realizing it, at the expense of ourselves.
So, instead of allowing us to continue polluting, destroying, and trampling all over it, the earth decided to give us a reason to stop: COVID-19. All the countries in the world have closed their borders and have quarantined their population in the hopes of decreasing the spread of this flu. But it has resulted in cleaner air and replenished nature. It’s like the earth is taking a long-deserved break to finally stop and heal.
Maybe when we all come out of our dwellings, we can learn to be less invasive and more respectful of what the earth provides to us.
Theory Number Two: Is this brought on by our own thoughts and wishes?
Just like the earth needs balance, so do we. With globalization, consumerism, Junk TV, cell phones and email that keeps us tapped in 24-hours, and social media (never mind the scheduled sports or music lessons after work and school), it’s no wonder we all need a break. Most of our lives are fast, yet unproductive. Most of us make a decent living, yet we’re really poor.
Have we forgotten what’s really important in life? Will we be lying on our death beds wishing we had worked more, or had earned more money, or had purchased those designer shoes? Would that have enriched your life? I’m guessing not because, as the world is quarantined, I’m hearing from people that they miss seeing their friends and family.
Maybe the power of all the minds in all the world had wanted to slow down but didn’t know how to do it, especially in all the momentum of everyone moving so quickly.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether it is the earth that decided to take it upon itself to teach us a lesson, or it is our own power that wished us into submission. It just matters that we finally learn to respect the earth and all that comes with it like the forests, oceans, and wildlife; and to respect ourselves and others. Here's hoping that when things are back to normal, that things never actually go back to normal.