Is CoronaVirus The Earth’s Biosphere Rising To Protect Itself?
The map above from Space.Com offers a staggering Climate policy related idea. China’s pollution footprint has, within mere weeks, dropped to “Green New Deal” level advocated change: and CoronaVirus is the cause.
The earth, itself, may be shouting a violent and effective “Amen” to Greta Thunberg’s mantra, “Business as usual is no longer moral.”
In Richard Preston’s 1994 bestseller, The Hot Zone, covering the Ebola Zaire outbreak that made a path from the remote Kitoum Cave in Kinshasa, Zaire to Reston, Virginia, where it was literally one wall away from becoming a pandemic in the USA –– Preston closed his book with what seemed a whimsically poetic epilogue.
Preston said it seemed to him when humankind invades too deeply into the earth’s body, the earth hits back with a response not unlike the human body releasing antibodies to attack the invaders.
Greta Thunberg and “The Green New Dealers” have been shouting that massive and immediate change is the only choice that would leave a reasonably habitable earth behind. In response, the major political parties are choosing business-favoring candidates for the economy’s sake on the Right – and either moderates on the Left, or multi-front radicals who want to change every trait of the Western capitalist economy, and climate change is the proverbial tree lost in the forest of change-everything-now tirades.
CoronaVirus has, in a very focused way, forced the very kind of air-pollution change at the needed rate of implementation, to which human desire for “business-as-usual” has been the biggest obstacle.
My bailiwick is Biblical exposition. I cannot help but think of where the text of the New Testament records Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth speaking of the distant human future with this observation: “Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved.” (NT Mark 13:20) We also see in Genesis a bargain between the patriarch Abraham and God, in which Abraham wrangles a promise from God that “if there are ten decent people found in two vast cities (Sodom and Gemorrah), I will spare everyone.”
It seems perhaps there may be enough decent – but politically powerless – people, so that some kind of dread champion is rising on their behalf to rescue the many from the greed of the few.
I would not want this view to diminish in any way the pain felt by the loss of any individual lives to this new pathogen. This essay’s focus is to highlight the recent, incredibly accelerated rate of change in China, in stark contrast to the kind of attitude Greta Thunberg has been facing mere weeks ago.
We see the same mañana attitude expressed in an earlier era’s events in Biblical text where King Hezekiah reacts to the prophet Isaiah’s forecast of long-term disaster for Israel resulting from the King’s policies with the following self-serving conclusion: “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good, because” he thought, “at least there will be peace and truth in my days.”
Politicians in their 70s will not be facing the consequences of the industrial pollution decisions of today: their children and grandchildren will. Greta Thunberg will.
And now – the earth herself seems to be shutting down their self-serving, short-sighted “business-as-usual” preservative approach to climate change.
China’s industrial juggernaut has been decked by a perfectly-aimed punch, and is on the ground: business as usual is as impossible for them as it was impossible for Sonny Liston to rise from the blow Muhammed Ali landed on his jaw.
(Above graphic from: Space.Com)
Tourism (made possible by travel via fossil-fuel driven air and land vehicles) is contracting to minuscule percentages of mere months ago.
Business, itself, in-person gatherings are being reduced to absolute necessity, and virtualized or cancelled and done via digital means: the resulting decrease in fossil-fuel based travel of all kinds is beyond immediate calculation.
Hand washing and basic sterile habits are becoming an obsession everywhere in the world.
In other words – virtually everything The New Green Deal would have wanted to accomplish in China, and possible around the industrialized world, is being compelled by the earth, herself, to be done NOW – not later, and not incrementally: now.
I remember thinking when reading Preston’s Hot Zone, that his epilogue, while seeming too poetic to be real – had something pulsing underneath it that rang, somehow, more true than mere rhapsodic rumination to give a non-fiction book a good closing cadence.
CoronaVirus may be whatever Higher Power in which you may believe – whether Deity, or some kind of embedded self-preservation engram – rising up and saying to humankind, “The earth is not here ‘for’ you. You are only part of its community: and your intelligence does not entitle your short-sighted greed to poison it for all its other tenants.”
The thing about viruses is – they are immune to political sophistry and economics arguments.
And – when they vote – the ballot they cast is devastating to the human status quo. They simply don’t care.
In a dreadful irony, the meaning of CoronaVirus’s unspoken voice seems to say: “This is good for me (the virus) now: and I simply don’t care that what is good for me makes something horrible happen to you.” The fact this horrible thing happening to us might actually save the entire biosphere from extinction due to our activities makes for a fascinating karmic contemplation – and, this author hopes, an effective cautionary tale to prevent the future from merely reiterating the past, once the crisis has passed.
Bruce Louis Cohen 4 March 2020