Plagues and other deadly pandemics have ravaged the human race for thousands of years. However for the last 70 years the Western world also known as the first world has been relatively free of major disasters.
The poorer nations suffered the double whammy of extreme poverty and unrelenting disasters. In the West we kept hearing of the miseries that befell the people of the third world. Draughts, hurricanes, diseases, hunger and other catastrophes seem to be never ending in the poor countries of the world. In 1855 a plague that started in China killed 10 million people in India.
Though the West has been relatively from major pandemics over the last 70 years this was not always the case. In 1348 Britain had the Black Death pandemic which was a bubonic plague. According to Professor Tom Jones Black Death turned the society upside down in England. Between 1347 and 1351 it killed about half of all Londoners and between 30 to 60 percent of all Europeans. The French lost half of its population. People were buried in communal graves. There were hardly enough living to care for the sick and bury the dead. The plague returned regularly between 1361, 1370’s and 1380’s. In 1665 London had the Great Plague. It spread by the bite from the black rat flea. It spread to other people through coughing and sneezing. It killed 75,000 Londoners. According to Marth Henry writing in the Cambridge Today there was a Smallpox pandemic in 1721 followed by Cholera in 1849 and Influenza in 1918. Around 500 million people worldwide were infected with Influenza and it killed around 50 million people worldwide.
The relative peace that the people in the West experienced from these miseries has shielded the populace and left them not best placed to face the terrifying Covid19 pandemic. It is estimated that almost 10 million people in the UK could be suffering from mental health issues. The parameters of the society that we were used to have been changed fundamentally. The economic slump, job losses, the zoom technology which has radically changed the work culture all have created fear and anxiety. We are still in the midst of a ravaging Covid 19 and the both the short term and long term consequences could be devastating. The gains made over the last 70 years in reducing poverty and inequality could be reversed and cause social unrest. Some media outlets which routinely report on the disasters in India and its failures to manage pandemics are finding it hard to comprehend that we are all in this together!
Covid19 is not the only catastrophe to hit the Western or developed countries. Last year Australia was devastated by raging fires. The United States of America is constantly plagued by natural disasters. Now that we are seeing the return of the globalisation of calamities we need to urgently correct our ways as a human race. The first and foremost correction has to be our relationship towards the animal kingdom. We need to change from being the tormentors of the animal kingdom to being compassionate and partners in the fight to save the future generations from living on an inhabitable planet. It is said that Covid 19 started with experiments on bats in China which went wrong. Then there are the so-called wet markets where wild animals are sold for meat. Around 80 billion animals are raised for meat. All of them spend their short lives in utterly cruel conditions before being killed mercilessly. Bizarre experiments are carried out on animals to satisfy some human foible. Trillions of fish are trapped in vast nets which also trap and kill all kinds of aquatic animals. Millions of animals are exported around the world in horrific conditions only to be brutally killed on arrival. So blase’ we have become that we fed herbivorous cows with meat of infected sheep. Thousands of lives were ruined as people consumed the meat of these cows and were infected with the CJD virus. When the horror of this dawned on lawmakers they decided to slaughter tens of thousands of cows. We are facing an existential crisis and the solution to save ourselves is starring us in the face. Make peace with the animal kingdom. Grant them fundamental rights. Return to a plant based diet. It is now or never.