Today as we mark the 50th anniversary of World Earth Day, the whole of the human race is in turmoil. The tables have been turned. Many of us fortunate enough to live in countries where for decades we have watched with detachment others suffering in faraway places, are now finally being forced to sit up & take notice. This is my Earth Day 2020 world view today from my window at home is self isolation & below a few of my thoughts.
This virus, swinging a wrecking ball across the planet, is giving us all a taste of what suffering & helplessness is. The iniquity, the fear & vulnerability, the horror of gasping for breath, of
being isolated, feeling powerless & the slow to heal pain of grief.
Maybe this virus will serve as a timely reminder of what this time planet that we have abused for so long is feeling. With its air choked of oxygen, it’s seas awash with plastic & pollutants, it’s lands defaced by deforestation, filled with human detritus & defaced by urban sprawl. Maybe it’s the earth telling us that it’s time to get a grip, it’s time to work unilaterally to create a planet that is better for everyone not just the geographically & economically privileged few. Maybe it’s a loud wake up call trying to make us understand that in order to survive we must learn to live in partnership with the earth & all of its inhabitants. Maybe it’s a blunt instrument being used to demonstrate to us that there is no place for the brutality of the dictator, the blind greed of the capitalist, the divisive rhetoric of
the populist, or putting our self before others.
This virus is graphically highlighting the failings in our human constructs, the iniquity, imbalances & the injustices we have created in our world . Indeed how we as individuals are experiencing the fallout of this pandemic has a lot to do with our geographical, social & economic status. Including our chances
of survival should we fall ill.
Meanwhile since the coronavirus crisis has caused those of us who can, to put our lives on pause, it has seemed that nature has done the opposite.
The birds singing & bees buzzing in our urban neighbourhood has never seemed louder, the air never brighter & cleaner. With the arrival of the virus in the UK coinciding with the arrival of spring here, it’s as though the earth has been given the chance to take deep breath & nature is bursting forth with more colour and vitality than we have seen here in London for many many years. The hum of street traffic has diminished, the skies no longer crisscrossed with the slipstream of air traffic. The local wildlife seems bolder & the people kinder.
I sincerely hope that this is going shake us out of our inertia, to realise before it’s too late that our relationship with the planet & each other have to change for our very survival. I sincerely hope that we aren’t collectively so stupid, so short sighted, so selfish that we need a never ending stream of catastrophes before it’s too late. I sincerely hope that collectively we will make the conscious systemic changes we need to create a world that is better for everyone. A world where we live collaboratively with one another & our shared planet & not in conflict & division within it.
At some point in history we lost our awe & respect for the natural world, for its natural beauty, it’s extraordinary wealth & diversity. Who knows when that was here in Britain? But what I do know is how important it is for us to pause today, to remind ourselves to give thanks & to acknowledge that we are all connected by nature, by the earth, by one another. That our collective & personal happiness can not be secured by material things but by living harmoniously with ourselves, each other & the extraordinary planet we all call home. Only by rewiring & rebooting these connections will we begin to understand that we too are part of the natural world & for us all to survive we need to address the imbalances with each other, within ourselves & with the world.
Elisa Williams is currently teaching live stream yoga & meditation classes online visit LIVE STREAM YOGA CLASSES