It has been a while since I have given my opinion, so I thought I should at least jump into our present situation with yet another of many. Not useless really, but mostly over looked by today’s pundits.
Since the virus hit, I have spent a number of weeks quarantining myself with my grand children imprisoned at their home, and loving every minute! Then another two weeks on my boat preparing to install our orca watch network… my life’s work. I have watched a friend die, and have interfaced with an old folks home… a good one at that! So I’ve experienced the human side of this present disaster, BUT to stay the course of my life’s fight for the wilderness, I need to point out a few things. We humans tend to sometimes miss the forest for the trees… So here goes.
I realize we westerners have bought into the consumer culture where big pharma advertises drugs on TV that look so good, that I want them, and I’m not even sick… We have come to expect medical miracles, and expect extended life cycles through modern medicine. Hell, my brother was on 23 different drugs after surgery. Half to counter-act the side effects of the other half. This has been good for some, and bad for others…. A moral issue playing out presently as our economy suffers due to the present health panic-demic.
We, as a species, are being attacked by a very contagious virus… new, and deadly for those already sick. I believe in California most deaths occurred in Nursing Homes; once havens for grandma and grandpa where they could remain social, and somewhat active. They are now virtual prisons with inmates in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is a cruel and debilitating punishment for criminals, but grandma? Think about it?
We are all in solitary. We are all wearing masks, and hide out from human interaction. If we continue to view others, friend and foe, as a direct threat to our lives, how long can we as a society and species stay sane? I personally hate the whole mask thing, but want to respect others… but for how long? I am sick of it already.
I have wondered in the past what all this anti-bacterial soap and disinfectant was doing to all the good bacteria which keep us alive. I now wonder what our panic and isolated anti-viral living will do to the health, both physical and mental, of future generations?
It is common knowledge that kids who grow up with dogs and all their germs seem to stay healthy. I always preach to eat a bit of dirt daily to keep your body strong. Our bodies are bacteria… billions and billions as Carl Sagan would say… can we afford whacking them all, good and bad? People who appear to stay healthy are those who eat healthy food, exercise, and have a mission. Will sticking us all into little bubbles help any of these? Well, to tell the truth it might help all of them, but that’s not the point. We are a social species. I personally thrive from hugs and human interaction. I think we all need it.
I am not a shrink. Let me repeat, I am not a shrink, but we need everyone to stay mentally healthy to survive as well. Just think of the kid who “only played video games” shooting up a school. Or the neighborhood recluse turning out to be the uni-bomber. It is time we all need to decide for ourselves, and take whatever precautions we individually deem necessary, but we also need to live and interact with the world around us.
Other societies around the world accept disease and death as part of living. We westerners have been lucky to date, but there will be more viruses down the road if we do not stop abusing our bodies, and abusing the highly intricate and complicated organism we call earth. For what it is worth, we need to get more in step with the earth… the natural earth, and less in step with health through chemicals which promise a long happy life. Watch the commercials… but where fancy drugs might help individuals, do they really help the species? Remember the promises of Roundup and how it would help solve global hunger… I guess for some it might mean we will eat well until cancer causes our early demise. Forgetting all the religious implications; for thousands of years we have lived as a part of nature. It is only the last couple hundred years or so that we as a species began destroying the very planet that had sustained us since we appeared standing erect. Viruses like famines and natural disasters are ways the earth sorts itself out. Not just us, but the populations of other animal species are controlled by disease. Nature is a tough task master, and we arrogant humans have never gained the upper hand for long. We kill and destroy with reckless abandon, and to hell with consequences… Civilizations such as those on Easter Island devoured their resources before perishing themselves. What happened to the Aztec civilization, and native Americans when European diseases ravaged their lives? We seldom learn from history.
Today science is king as huge corporations gear up to save us all. These are the same corporations who got us weaned from nature in the first place. Does anyone else get the irony?
I am sure as all disasters, this too will pass. Individual lives will no doubt be affected badly, but what of society? How will this affect the young, and how will advance?
Oh we will be wearing masks for a while before we get sick of that, but will it change the way we progress as a society? Where will be in say 50 years? I am hoping that this wakes up the young to force us to change our destructive nature. Is CHAZ in Seattle the answer? I think not, but we need to change to survive so why not try the extremes? The path our forefathers chose was right for the time, although debatable, they did what they thought right. Our history has not been a straight shot toward nirvana as proven by slavery and today’s inherent discrimination. Let’s not forget all the mistakes we made toward becoming as Trump puts it; “the greatest country on earth”. Imprisoning US citizens of Japanese descent during WW II was certainly not a noble venture… certainly not! Least not we forget the lives ruined by Senator Joe Mccarthy. We’ve bombed Iraq to the stone age on a false pretense, and been involved in numerous government coups. We’ve sprayed thousands of acres with poisons with little thought for the future. We’ve dammed rivers and destroyed our natural forests. More animals go extinct daily then since the asteroid hit. So on and so on… and we wonder why we get sick? Maybe it is time to change our focus? Maybe it is time for taking a long term look at health and the environment?
The earth is an extremely complicated eco-system that depends on its health through bio-diversity, interdependence, and finite resources. We are only a small part of that eco-system. Our health as a species depends on a healthy earth. We need wilderness and nature. I’m hoping if our present population learns anything from this pandemic, it will cause us all to focus on nature. We need nature as badly as we need one another.
Get out there in the dirt. Climb a mountain or raft a river. Modern science might help in the short run, but to really get healthy and make a positive future, we need to get back to nature. We need to relish the wilderness and preserve and protect it. As my good friend Doug Thompson always said: “there is no humanity, good or bad… on a dead planet”. It is time we re-boot our relationship with the only solution which will succeed. It is imperative we concentrate on the big picture and leave our children and grandchildren a healthy planet. A healthy planet means a healthy us.
There is no better time to start!