[230] Hope after Corona – What Covid-19 and Forest Fires have in Common

Last article I described how important nature is to us, even a square meter of urban greenery. Still, we are destroying our forests, which will eventually lead to our own destruction. Covid-19 itself was an example of it, while at the same time forest fires spread over the world, even in Siberia were land normally would be too cold and wet to burn.

 Release the Beast

The mysterious virus, Covid-19, that had the ability of turning the world upside down and cause more than half a million deaths and affected over 12 million people at the moment of writing, came from a tiny bat.

Regardless of what precisely happened, and how the virus precisely mutated to adapt itself to a human host, whether it was directly via the bat or via another animal in between; whether this happened in the wet market, in laboratories or elsewhere, fact is that this wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last virus that umped from an animal to a human being.

This mechanism is called Zoonoses, and it is responsible for a lot of trouble in human paradise. There was the Swine Pest, the Avian Flu, but as well there are the vector-bound diseases carried by mosquitos such as zika, malaria, and chikungunya. Moreover, aids did not made its way to humans until humans got in contact with an infected monkey. The same might have happened now with the Covid-19-carrying bat or other animal.

Scientists and epidemiologists have been warning us for decades now that our contact with animals isn’t harmless, not only for the animals, but for humans as well. Our closeness to animals, whether domesticated or wild ones, has made us prone to animal-carried diseases.

The fact is, the more we invade animals-only territories by lodging forests further and further, and invading nature beyond any limit, we will make ourselves more prone to this kind of animal-carried diseases. And when they show up, we won’t recognise them, because they are unfamiliar to us, they don’t belong to us, as we don’t belong in those areas of nature.

If we don’t put limits at our unrespectful and invading relationship with the wild nature left, we will slowly but surely destroy ourselves; as Covid-19 has shown us.

Reanimate the Beast

This morning I read an article about the death of a male white rhino. It wasn’t just a male white rhino; it was the last one on earth. He was already living in captivity, but we humans did not only destroy his habitat, nor all his brothers and sisters, his entire kind, we destroyed his chance for survival, for meeting fellow rhinos, for mating. We tried to save him by putting him in captivity; but this was actually the beginning of the chronicle of an announced death of the white rhino kind.

Sadly, he wasn’t the only one. Humanity wipes out between 200 and 2,000 kinds of animal species per year. Since the years 1970s 60% of animal populations has been wiped out due to human behaviour, our use of resources, living, feeding ourselves, and consuming. Scientists called it the 6th mass extinction, but nothing has changed since. While we’re pushing all these species of the cliff, we seem to forget that we’re walking behind them, being the next in line when the last one will have been pushed over.


Forest Fires

Our growing consumption and population are not only directly pushing nature to extinction, indirectly it has set the world on fire. Our burning of fossil fuels has warmed the earth beyond the reasonable and almost the liveable. Every year heath records are broken, and with them ecosystems. Bush fires get more intense, more frequent, and more destructive. With them, we destroy more habitats for animals, more nature that would be our only natural protector against climate change, and our own food chain, water resources, and even houses.

While we were all locked down, globally several iconic forests where on fire, from the Amazon in Brazil over the normally frozen areas in Siberia. Altough the news on the Amazon forests fires which began in 2019 faded away, the fires did not. Nor did the additional deforestation caused by illegal lodging; converting forests into industrial agriculture to serve the world – not only Brazil’s – growing consumption hunger.

The warming earth makes it more likely for forests to self-ignite, such as the bush fires in Australia, the United States, and Europe last summers, while illegal set-fires are harder to control, and burn way beyond purpose.

Arctic Fires

Emblematic is the situation in Arctic Russia for instance. In Siberia where winters are ice cold, summers tend to get warm due to the 24/7 exposure of sun. Normally these territories are frozen in winter, wet in summer, and often a combination of both. High unlikely to burn, one might think.

But that is calculated without climate change. The zone of the Arctic is warming double as fast as any other zone on earth. Last summers, nature which is not likely to burn, such as tundra on top of permafrost – which is normally permanently frozen soil -, where on fire. This year, temperatures are already skyrocketing, igniting the fear of a new episode of destructive fires.

With this kind of fires, we turn carbon sinks into carbon emitters. We turn creators of live, by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen while storing the carbon, into creators of death. Not only by the direct hazard of flames, heath, toxic fume, and destruction of wildlife and ecosystems, including our owns, but as well by their tremendous contribution to climate change while taking away their capacity to mitigate climate change.

Communal Survival

This is the reality we are living at. The news we might not see, but which we do feel. We need our forests to survive, and they need us for their survival. We can stop this from happening by changing our consumption pattern, by demanding our politicians, companies and leaders for the right actions. By saying no to fossil fuels, no to illegal lodging, and no to invading and destructing the wild, we can say yes to life and tame the destructive forces that will eventually destruct ourselves.


This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read

  1. How this too shall pass
  2. how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
  3. how you can contribute to this battle, 
  4. how gratitude lights up the dark,  
  5. how united we will stand strong
  6. on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis 
  7. how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands, 
  8. how being calm can get us through the storm.
  9. about Love in Times of Corona
  10. how to discover your own talents 
  11. why we need stories to hold on to 
  12. how you can be creative and innovative.
  13. how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
  14. how to listen to the sound of silence. 
  15. How breath taking Corona really is.
  16. discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us, 
  17. about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
  18. about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
  19. about the position of nature in this entire story
  20. about nature bouncing back
  21. about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
  22. about the game to play
  23. about star gazing in dark times
  24. About looking for Meaning
  25. About how Music Connects
  26. about what Easter and Corona have in Common
  27. About the Shark and the Turtle
  28. About the Irony of Distance
  29. Why to Hold on
  30. Fake News
  31. about The Big Unknown we live at
  32. about Feeling Alive
  33. About turning obstacles into opportunities
  34. about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life 
  35. About where we should go from here?
  36. About coping with incertitude
  37. About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
  38. about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
  39. How one country could rule them all
  40. About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic 
  41. about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
  42. about when the poppy flowers
  43. about what’s in a number
  44. masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
  45. What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
  46. how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
  47. why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
  48. How Spring can happen in Autumn
  49. How to unlock the lockdown
  50. Why education matters
  51. How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
  52. The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
  53. the remarkable rewards of health
  54. The queeste for global health care 
  55. Health Heroes
  56. Pains and Gains 
  57. Solidarity 3.0
  58. Work-Life Balance
  59. Home sweet home
  60. Real Connections
  61. Leadership 3.0
  62. gratitude 3.0
  63. Respect 3.0
  64. Humanity 3.0
  65. Change Management
  66. Economic Catharsis
  67. To consume or not to consume?
  68. Travel the world, travel your heart
  69. Barrels of Life
  70. People, no Number Management
  71. Back to the Office?
  72. Those jobs …
  73. Economic Growth or Green Growth
  74. Global trade, global fate
  75. Act local, think global
  76. A changed climate for Climate Change
  77. Love is in the Air
  78. From Fatamorgana to Oasis

Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.

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