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The Covid Climate Connection

Planet Earth with mask

Our world, let’s call her ‘Gaia’, has an infection. That infection is spreading and compromising her restorative immune ecosystems. She has a fever as her atmosphere heats up. The increasingly frequent hurricane coughs and intense rainfall splutters are signs that she is reacting to, and trying to cope with, the disease. The infection has badly affected her lungs, with deforestation and wildfires reducing her ability to provide the oxygen she needs to breathe. The infection has polluted and poisoned Gaia’s life supporting assets with air, soil and ocean contamination damaging the integrity of her web of life. The infection has multiplied incredibly quickly, with 7.8 billion infectious agents today, and reproducing at pace. We know Gaia’s infection...….its us.

Notwithstanding the world leaders’ pretense that we can control everything that nature throws at us, our unpreparedness for covid-19 – a pandemic that scientists had predicted would take place following the SARS (also a corona virus) 2003 experience – should teach us not to downplay or delay our ‘eco’-responsibility as climate chaos fast approaches.

There are lessons we can learn from covid-19, that we can apply to the climate emergency for whilst thousands may die from the virus, millions will die from climate change.

We must test, test and test again. We must shed light on our systems of governance, democracy and economy which are clearly not fit for purpose as exemplified by the embarrassing buffoonery of Donald Trump.

Politicians and media cover up for an economic system which prioritises wealth above health; leaking billions in tax avoidance schemes; wasting millions on projects that benefit the few at the expense of the many and underpinning the morally corrupt practice of selling guns, bombs, military jets, tanks and even personnel to foster massively expensive wars whilst denying peace a chance to flourish.

We must redirect these funds. As we invest in the protection of health and care workers we must invest in protecting the environment. As we invest in the supply of ventilators and intensive care beds, we must invest in local permaculture food growing businesses and the protection of soils.

As our exit strategy emerges, now is the time to invest in a new deal which provides jobs in the renewable energy industry, the sustainable farming sector, the natural health service and social cohesion with the universal basic income welfare safety net. By recreating an economy that works for everyone, we stand a chance of fulfilling out Sustainable Development Goals.

By rediscovering our faith in scientists to help guide our response to the corona virus, then we can do likewise and use a factual evidence base to reduce global warming below a 1.5°C increase in temperature, and rewild our earth in the process.

We are at war with a virus, with each other and, tragically, with the planet itself.

We must learn from this pandemic. Let this be our education, our new mindfulness.

We must not let truth be the first casualty of war, declaring victory before wisdom is won. With 4.5 billion years of R&D to rely upon, Gaia will use one infection to fight the other. Her survival is not in question. Ours is! 


Chris McFarling