For more than two years now, we have been caught in the grip of a powerful yet invisible virus. Our lives came to a standstill, with much of the world economy shutting down, people locked down in their homes and hospitals experiencing great hardship, and millions of untimely deaths.
For much of the pandemic, we were facing the unknown, but its effect on our lives, our children’s schooling, our eating habits, and our access to fresh air were too clear. The cost of the pandemic itself is almost unfathomable. The six million registered deaths worldwide are undoubtedly only the tip of an unreported iceberg of victims. Estimates of the global economic cost of the pandemic reach as high as $50 trillion, considering that the economic cost for the United States in 2020 alone was put at between $10 and $15 trillion.
On the flip side, the pandemic saw the world united as never before, with countries exchanging information, sharing solutions, and helping wherever they could be useful. The virus, in effect, did not require a visa to cross international borders. For a time, we felt the heavy ton of hatred lift a little from the world, replaced by a feather of caring, common goals, and cooperation. Even those who were once our rivals became partners in an endeavor to overcome the pandemic and to develop vaccines at unprecedented speed. It was almost as though the world was suddenly under attack by an alien force and humanity came together in solidarity to find ways to survive and affirm the importance of our lives.
Since the world received the vaccine, life has slowly started to return to a new normal despite constant resurgences of the virus. We all know, though, that it was not the machinery of war, nuclear weapons, and underground bunkers that allowed us to defend ourselves, but the pharmaceutical industry, global research, and cooperation. The Pfizers and Modernas became our new heroes, saving millions of lives and offering us a feather of hope that could lift us above ancient hatred and towards the sky. The ton of hate sank into the mud somewhere else, losing its grip on our necks.
Just as hope was brought back to life, Mother Nature reminded us that the real challenge lies elsewhere. Of course, we had seen all the previous warnings of seas and rivers drying out, fish stocks depleted, and temperatures rising to create new climate refugees, but as humans, we do not seem to have taken them seriously.
The forest fires, hurricanes, heat and cold waves that we have seen over the past years have been far more frequent and extreme than anything before. We are not talking about deterioration that will register within a century, but that registers almost from one season to the next.
other Nature opens her mouth not to whisper love but to bite and bite harder. We are destroying not just the lungs that keep us alive but also the oxygen they need to function. If we do not treat the problem of climate change and our environment, we know that we will face ever heavier and deadly consequences. The war in Ukraine is almost a sideshow in comparison.
Today’s urgent answer is not military firepower or pharmaceutical know-how but the unity of humanity and a global conscience that recognizes that nothing is more critical to our future than how we deal with our environment. A feather of hope can show us the way towards a beautiful, flourishing planet with unity. The unattractive alternative is environmental disaster and collapse, not within a century but in the coming decades.
It is a shame and tragedy in the making. We have a chance to avoid that tragic fate, but we are all orphans with no common wall for now. The writing is on the wall, yet no one is ready to become a feather of hope. The ton of hatred we are expressing in our actions to our planet is sinking us. For heaven’s sake, let us realize the real threat we are all facing today and finally unite under a feather of hope instead of sinking under our hatred.