Lesson from Covid-19: We make the Earth sick and the Earth makes us sick

 The emergence of the coronavirus in 2019 has revealed the intimate connection between Earth and Humanity. According to the new cosmology (scientific view of the universe), we humans form a single entity with the Earth. We participate in your health and also in your illness.

Isaac Asimov, Russian scientist, famous for his popular science books, at the request of the New York Times magazine (of October 9, 1982) on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, which inaugurated the space age , wrote an article on the legacy of that space quarter century.

The first legacy, he said, is the perception that, from the perspective of spacecraft, the Earth and humanity form a single entity , that is, a single being, complex, diverse, contradictory and endowed with great dynamism.

The second legacy is the irruption of planetary consciousness: building the Earth, and not simply the nations, is the great human project and challenge. Earth and Humanity have a common destiny. What happens in one, also happens in the other. The Earth is ill and at the same time the human being is ill; the human being is ill, the Earth is also ill. We are united for good and for evil.

At the present time, the entire Earth and each person is being attacked by Covid-19, especially Brazil, the victim of a mad head of state who does not care about the lives of his people. All of us, in one way or another, feel physically, mentally and spiritually ill.

Why have we come to this? The reason lies in the Covid-19. It is wrong to see it in isolation without its context. The context is in the way we have organized our society for three centuries: with unlimited pillage of the goods and services of the Earth for human profit and enrichment. This purpose has led to occupying 83% of the planet, deforesting, polluting the air, water and soils. In the words of the French thinker Michel Serres, we promote a total war against Gaia, attacking it on all fronts without any possibility of defeating it. The consequence has been the destruction of the habitats of thousands of virus species. To survive they jumped to other animals and from these to us.

Covid-19 represents a counterattack by the Earth against the systematic aggression mounted against it. The Earth became ill and passed its disease to us through a range of viruses such as Zika, Chicungunya, Ebola, Bird Flu, and others. As we form a complex unit with the Earth, we become ill with it. And if we get sick, we also end up making it sick. The coronavirus represents this sinister and deadly symbiosis.

In a general way, we must understand that the Earth’s reaction to our violence is shown by fever (global warming), which is not a disease, but points to a disease: the high level of pollution by greenhouse gases that the Earth does not manages to digest and its inability to continue offering us its natural goods and services. On September 22, 2019 , the Earth Overload occurred , that is, the reserves of natural goods and services, necessary to the life-system, hit bottom. We go into the red, we have a bad check.

To have what is necessary and, worse, to maintain the sumptuous consumption and waste of the rich countries, we must forcibly remove their “resources” to meet consumer demand. How long will the Earth hold?

We know that there are nine planetary borders that cannot be surpassed without threatening life and our civilizing project. Four of them we have already transferred. The consequence is that we have less water, less nutrients, fewer crops, more desertification, greater erosion of biodiversity and other essential elements for life. Therefore, our type of relationship is anti-life and it is the main cause of the illness of the Earth which, in turn, also makes us sick. For this reason, almost all of us, especially because of social isolation and hygienic measures, feel prostrate, devitalized, irritable, in a word, trapped by a nightmare that we do not know when it will end. The death of thousands of loved ones,

On the other hand, at a high cost, we are learning that what is saving us are not the mantras of capitalism and neoliberalism: profit, competition, individualism, the unlimited exploitation of nature, the demand for a minimal state and the centrality of the market. If we had followed these “values”, almost all of us would be victims. What is saving us is the central value of life, solidarity, the interdependence of everyone with everyone, the care of nature, a state well equipped to meet social demands, especially those of the most needy, the cohesion of the community. society above the market.

We realize that by taking better care of everything, recovering the vitality of ecosystems, improving our food, organic, decontaminating the air, preserving waters, forests and jungles, we feel healthier and with this we also make the Earth healthier and revitalized. .

What the Covid-19 has come to show us in a brutal way is that that balance between Earth and humanity has been broken. We have become too voracious, tearing from the Earth what it can no longer give us. We do not respect the limits of a small planet, with limited goods and services. Rather, our culture has created an irrational project of unlimited growth as if the goods and services of the Earth were also unlimited. That is the illusion in which the minds of almost all businessmen and heads of state continue.

Covid-19 makes us regain our true humanity, even if it is ambiguous by nature. It is made of love, solidarity, empathy, collaboration and the human-spiritual dimension that gives due value to material goods, without making them absolute, but gives much more value to intangible goods such as those we have mentioned. We leave the materials behind, the human-spiritual we carry them beyond death, since they constitute our definitive identity.

The friendlier our relations with nature, and the more cooperative the relations between us, the more the Earth is vitalized. And the revitalized Earth also makes us healthy. We heal together and together we celebrate our earthly coexistence.

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