The novel coronavirus, in all likelihood, will last much longer than we wish it would. There are indications that the virus may survive the summer months and temperatures: Singapore, Australia, and Argentina are all currently in the middle of summer but have reported hundreds of cases and many fatalities.
So the hope is that as we slow down the spread through prevention, a possible vaccine, and luck, we will be able to deal with this virus like we do with so many others. However, the frequency, intensity and geographical spread of such viruses has increased in recent years. Evidence suggests that this is linked to greater global travel and integration, urbanisation, changes in land use, and exploitation of the natural environment. In short, human greed causes ecological imbalance.
In our misplaced quest to be immortal, we, the human race, have resorted to taking more than our fair share of resources from planet Earth, and have created a culture of hoarding in the false belief that wealth and possessions will somehow protect us from death. It is ironic that people are now hoarding food, hand sanitisers, masks and toilet rolls to try to outlive each other during this pandemic, which is the direct consequence of hoarding in the first place.
Such abuse of our home is not sustainable. It can cause earthquakes, floods, or a pandemic like that of the current coronavirus and wipe us all out. Period. Forever.
Let us allow this lesson to sink deep into our collective consciousness while we practice our hand washing and our social distancing in our disinfected, quarantined safe houses.
This is a proverbial divine knock on our doors, a warning from our deepest inner selves. We need to wake up because the next round may not be as kind and forgiving, assuming that we survive this one.
This is not a time for panic, but for action — action by each one of us, individually and collectively. Introspection, self-monitoring and self-accountability is where it all starts. The current crisis has made us realise more than ever before of how interconnected we are with each other and with our environment.
Humaneness is a creed above all others. It is what connects us with ourselves, with each other and with nature. It is the common ground, where we drop our acquired identities and meet as members of a larger universal community. It is the cosmic tavern where everyone gathers to drink from the same eternal fountain of peace, benevolence and mercy. It is where we go to rest our souls and to rejuvenate our spirits and then return to our communities and homes with a heightened sense of urgency to act with compassion and responsibility.
We no longer have a choice but to drink the magic potion or very soon we will cease to exist as a species, as have many before us.