Saturday, March 21, 2020

Can a Virus Teach Us to Live Smarter?

The Toronto Star's Heather Mallick reckons we can come out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic a lot smarter. It might even allow us to take a grown-up attitude to the even greater threat, climate change.

COVID-19 is something of a test run for worse news, which is climate change. As two McGill University professors, Eric Galbraith and Ross Otto, recently pointed out in The Conversation, total COVID-19 deaths may increase day by day but that’s not where the terror lies. The true terror is mass death. 
Global heating is another universal danger where the suffering will be intensely personal. Canada is racing to flatten the COVID-19 curve just as we will eventually be cutting carbon output, as life grows increasingly arduous and unpleasant even in fortunate countries like our own. 
But here’s the thing that strikes these two professors, one in earth system science and the other in psychology. Why are we so frantic about COVID-19 but not about climate change? They say there are four reasons: the instinctive, vivid, personal fear of COVID-19; the suddenness of the viral attack; the immediate, obvious strategies to fend off the virus strategies; and finally, the fact that nations are able to go it alone
Dealing with the coronavirus is easier than dealing with climate change. 
It has been fast and remarkable. The economist and historian Adam Tooze says the coronavirus has shattered the myth of “faith in the market,” that the economy has to come first. “We are deliberately inducing one of the most severe recessions ever seen. In so doing we are driving another nail into the coffin of one of the great platitudes of the late 20th century: it’s the economy stupid.” 
There is a certain freedom to this, he says. “Given the experience of the past dozen years we should now never tire of asking: which economic constraints are real and which imagined?” He is clearly referring to what we might do to slow climate change.
Our lives will be different from now on. The hope is that we will live more intelligently, thinking more about our future on the planet rather than the blithe destruction we indulged in for 50 years.


rumleyfips said...

There is an argument that the coronavirus will slap some sense into us. People will learn that they have to trust scientists, antivaxers will be muzzled and climate change deniers will go quiet.

We can hope.

rumleyfips said...

Sorry. Here's the link.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Rumley, I believe you and I are roughly the same vintage. We've been around a while and yet we have never experienced such a seismic event.

I have often wondered what it must really have been like for my parents to have gone through the Depression and then six years of war. My dad and four of his brother-in-laws removed from their immediate families, most of them bundled aboard troop ships to distant places they had never imagined they would see.

They carried all of those experiences into the post-war world. They must have seen it so much differently than their "baby boomer" kids could ever see it. Coming out of this pandemic we might have a small taste of our parents' experience.

rumleyfips said...

My grandfather was by the time I knew him Catholic but was probably a Polish Jew on the run from WW1. He found work as a cook in the lumber camps up the Ottawa River. His greatest compliment was ' that business feeds 4 families ' .

Anonymous said...

additional perspective?

Unfortunately it doesn't show relations to total world population . . .

the salamander said...

.. cook up one of the 'Mound found recipes' .. Go ahead..
then settle in for a TV dinner.. beverage close at hand, audio level set just right.. tune out & tune in
Be sure you have 30 minutes reserved for you, front row seat.. same for your mate, partner, accomplice, homie, queen bee.. opposite number, love of your life.. yes.. or just by yourself eh !

In many ways, in my opinion.. this is about US .. We are in this story.. The message is now our message.. the perfect echo of a time before is the time we are already wrapped up in.. What will the echo of us be ? Will any or many of us 'Walk In Beauty' .. or will we hoard toilet paper. Food for thought..

The star of this tale in that link, is an exemplar .. a quiet 'hero'

And last night the Boss and I also watched The Motorcycle Diaries.. she for the first time, me mebbe the 3rd or 4th time. It blew her out the window. Seriously !! She's degreed in Spanish among others and was thrilled. I thought she would be. She thinks it may be her fave film now, wants to watch it again.. Man was I relieved.. thinking mebbe I had oversold it for the last 12 years. But no.. quite the opposite

What a combo I hit her with.. and hit myself at the same time. Timely, resonant, meaningful.. inspiring, amazing.. all a twonce.. My talent was playing them for her.. that was my contribution.. sharing.

We need to serve Food For Thought.. that's what the menu should be. I will never create such exquisite films, yet I can share them. Leadership can be very quiet, it is never bombastic. I am yet again, mebbe for the 3rd or 10th time, reinventing myself. I have to be like an egg awakening, eating my way up or down the milkweed, later, after my caterpillar stage, to emerge free of the pupae for a brief period riding the wind.. that is where I am now, a somewhat tattered, well weathered butterfly.. that might trigger delight in a child who spots me and wonders.. who might remember the fragile but resilient winged creature who flew, and floated.

OK .. enuff of my personal parable, myth or fallacy.. I am still aloft. Might I ride the wind south ? Or land in the big lake ? Might I ride the wind to the west ? Could I sit a spell & think it all over ?

Back in the real world.. I think my path leads to 'sharing' .. I have a talent with a camera, I was gifted with an eye for content & composition.. I only discovered the gift when I was about 28 years old. It consumed me, carried me away.. took me around the world - I saw the surface of Spaceship Earth, the land, the sky, the waters.. the meridian and the peoples. Now I am to see the inside of the Boss's little home.. my home.. a lot !! The computer & networks are my periscope, a telescope, a microscope and a portal upon the entire world and outer space and inder the seas. What do I have to share.. what is useful, valuable, what is a tiny but well intended tale I can tell ? What can I do, what should I do ? What is right to do ? What can my tiny wings add to the winds of change, of recovery, adaption, evolution .. progress ?

My religion is 'doing' .. I have thoughts but hold to no prayers.. but I can share !! Its Sunday.. spring is coming I And 'in the field of opportunity its ploughing time again..' and in reality I am just an 11 year old farm boy from Wellington County somewhat growed up.. I gots a 6 furrow plough hitched in my imagination, the big diesel Massey Ferguson fueled for a day and then deep into the night.. so I can get to planting soonly as possible & watch things grow.. what will I plant ? What will I harvest ? And when ? What direction is the wind blowing ? Hard rains and one hell of a storm a comin.. any fool can see that.. but not every fool will.. yes Hard Rain Are Gonna Fall ..