In the space of a few weeks the CoronaVirus has disrupted our long held ideas of what happiness and success is. We have been brought up to be goal oriented. The primary goal is to earn enough money to have a comfortable life. Absolutely no problem with that. However from the 17th century onward the pursuance of wealth resulted in those with power to invade and plunder other nations and communities. The 19th Century so the rise of Communism, Capitalism and the National Socialism of Hitler. The two world wars resulted in destruction of Europe and millions of deaths. This was followed by the deadly conflict between Capitalism and Communism. Tens of millions died in the pursuance of these ideologies. Though ideologically different both Capitalism and Communism believed in Science and its ability to tame nature in pursuance of wealth. These ideologies believed that animals, forests, rivers, oceans and all the mineral resources could be used for human benefit. Thus started the plunder of the planet never seen before. This age of beginning of the damage to the planet is known as the Anthropocene. The industrial revolution enslaved and entrapped millions to work in factories and what was known as satanic mills. It legitimised slavery and bonded labour. By the late 19th Century Capitalism was stripped of some of its inhumane practices thanks to many enlightened individuals. However Capitalism itself carried on at breakneck speed. Economic growth was and is the Mantra.
During the last hundred years world’s natural resources have been driven to extinction. Mother Earth has been made infertile. The Lungs of the planet, the Amazon forests have been devastated. Water resources are getting scarce. Global warming poses a big threat and the antarctic is melting away. CoronaVirus has proved that when nature hits back our advanced civilisation and military might is of no use. Our children and grandchildren are already facing the consequences of human greed.
So what can be done? In the absence of any credible alternative we have to live with the Capitalistic model. It has the ability to create millions of jobs. However Capitalism will have to reform. First of all the tyranny of continuous economic growth as a sign of success has to be dropped. Instead the world needs innovative ideas whereby the health of Mother Earth should be seen as a matter of success or failure.
With immediate effect manufacturing of motor cars depending on petrol or diesel has to be stopped. We just cannot expose the new generation to the pollution of these vehicles. Our dependence on oil has to be minimised. All slaughterhouses have to be closed with immediate effect. Nature is exacting a heavy price for our barbaric treatment of animals. The violence inflicted on billions of animals is leaving a cloud of unmovable negativity on the human race. It makes us as a species morally bankrupt. How can we expect peace for ourselves when we commit so much violence on the other species we share this planet with? The export of all animals should be stopped immediately. Hunting of animals, locking them up in cages, using them in laboratories to find cures for human diseases, using and abusing them for sports and keeping them in zoos for human entertainment also has to be banned. Commercial fishing has to stop immediately if we are to save our Rivers and Oceans. Apart from over 80 billion animals raised for meat every year, trillions of fish are also killed annually. There are at any time four times more Chickens on the planet than humans. We need two planets to sustain these numbers.
We are facing a huge threat from the growing ineffectiveness of antibiotics . Almost 45% of all antibiotics produced are fed to animals raised for meat. People consuming these animals are also in jesting the antibiotics and becoming immune to.Thousands of people are already dying due to antibiotics not working. There is a danger that deadly diseases that have been wiped out will make a comeback. There are 190,000 deaths from multidrug resistance TB. Without antibiotics Surgeries will become life threatening. Transplant patients will not survive without them and child birth become much more dangerous. Pneumonia which was the main cause of deaths in the pre-antibiotics era may make a comeback.
Every human activity should put the welfare of Mother Earth first. We are already a few harvests before Mother Earth fails to give us the grains we need to feed ourselves. We really are in the last chance saloon. Future generations face a climate catastrophe whereby droughts, floods, cyclones and hurricanes will make life unlivable. This will be followed by mass migration and conflict on an unprecedented scale. Here is a list of what needs to be done over and above:
- All multinational companies and conglomerates should adopt the principle of Mother Earth first. Their every action should be centered on this principle.
- The destruction of the Amazon Rainforests in South America should be stopped straight away. In return for stopping the destruction of the forests, countries like Brazil which are home to these forests should be given financial assistance and other incentives to become the guardian of these forests.
- It should become mandatory for every new building to have solar panels. All existing buildings should also be installed with solar panels.
- All traditional arts and crafts as well as cottage industries should be revived.
- The surviving traditional communities like the Masai of East Africa, the Aborigines of Australia and the original inhabitants of the Americas should be represented on all national and international forums so that with humility we can learn from them the art of protecting Mother Earth.
- All export of weapons of war should be stopped. It might earn nations money but it is blood money which will never bring any joy.
- There should be a complete overhaul of the Education system. The emphasis should shift from pursuance of gross materialism to appreciating and preserving our planet.
- Mankind will have to adopt a plant based diet. All children have empathy and sympathy for animals. This has to be nurtured by parents and the State. Future generations will wonder what pleasure we derived in eating animals.
- In the developing world the flow of people from the villages to cities has to be stopped with utter urgency. Mahatma Gandhi wanted every village to be self sufficient. India has to take a lead in this matter.
- Ask yourself do you need that extra car, or extra clothes or extra properties?
- Almost all nations should adopt a two children policy.
- The Pharmaceutical companies and the medical world should open up to accommodate alternative practices like Yoga and Acupuncture. Ayurveda and other traditional practices should be integrated in the medical system.
- Every town and village should have a mini forest or woodland in its border. Reviving the biodiversity of our planet is the need of the hour. Plant trees as often as possible.
- Greta Thunberg the young girl from Sweden is tirelessly fighting to awaken the nations of the world and mobilising hundreds and thousands of young people to act for our planet before it is too late. We need tens of thousands of Greta’s all over the world.
- Prohibit the use of pesticides in agriculture. When birds disappear it is a sign of ecological catastrophe. Pesticides kill birds, insects, pollinating bees, ladybirds and earthworms . Whole communities in countries like Peru in South America suffer from respiratory problems and other ailments as their environment is saturated with pesticides used to protect mainly Soya crops which are exported to the US to feed billions of cattle raised for Beef.
Let each one of us play a role in achieving some of the goals mentioned above. We owe it to future generations.
Surat, Gujarat, India
2 April 2020.