COVID-19 : MESSAGE FROM NATURE
On 17th November 2019, a Chinese person was confirmed suffering from Covid-19, a new Sars-like virus which was emerging in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. Now exactly a year later, Covid-19 has 63.9 million confirmed Cases, 1.48 million deaths world wide and is still counting2.
The Covid-19 pandemic, brought the world to a standstill and made us realise how important it is for us to take responsibility of our planet, people and creation at a whole. During the initial lock down period, we witnessed an immense drop in pollution figures, Natural bodies of water renewing themselves, Species of birds and animals returning to original habitats. A kind of normalcy returned to nature when humankind stepped off the industrial strain. But right now, many countries are facing the rise of the second wave of Covid-19 cases, while other countries haven’t been able to bring the initial surge in cases under control. In addition to this, Hurricanes and Typhoons in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Philippines have worsened the lives of millions of people during this pandemic.
Environmental experts and even UN’ environment chief, Inger Andersen has said that nature is sending us a message with the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis. There are many scientific proofs about the connection between the massive spread of virus with the environmental crisis. In October 2020, The Intergovernmental SciencePolicy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that the same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. 3
Moreover during this critical period, we as human beings in many circumstances have failed to equip our health care systems with adequate skills and infrastructure. We have failed to design proper implementation plans for when the lockdown would be relaxed; have failed to take responsibility of low-income and suffering communities as their livelihoods worsened and have also failed to educate the masses on the long-term impacts of Covid-19. Amidst the pandemic we also witnessed unemployment grow to new heights. Poverty, Indifference, Racism, Casteism, Untouchability and Exploitation, have all grown in newer dimensions. Pope Francis in his encyclical letter the Laudato Si has stressed that the ecological crisis is indeed inseparable from the social crisis, that the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. “We are faced not with two separate crisis, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (N.139). Hence, looking at the current situation of our world, one can say that the world is in need of urgent transformation, both personal transformation of human being and profound social political change.
“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
As one of the ways of adapting with the current pandemic situation. ALL Forum, keeping in mind the limitations on travel and large physical gatherings, has shifted our annual program AYA-ATF into smaller scale programs. For the upcoming year, ALL Forum aims to focus on Moving Schools, Online theological courses and E-newsletters as a way of communication, building capacities, fostering dialogue and expanding networks.
Therefore, in this first issue, we are inviting you to join us in reflecting the whole experience and journey in 2020, before taking the next steps of changes in order to build a better post Covid-19 world.