April 2020 – Nature seems to be enjoying humanity in lockdown …
In the “lock-down” I’ve been spending more time in the garden. It is amazing to see the life that is teaming in the back garden. I won’t bore you with all the photos I’ve taken, but there are heaps! News reports tell us that pollution is significantly lower in many places across the globe – there was an amazing before and after photo of the Great wall of China, taken before and after the Covid-19 breakout, the contrast was startling (WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air!). I read that noise pollution in Paris has significantly dropped as well (On the Champs Elysees boulevard, noise levels are down to as little as six to nine decibels at night, some 70%-90% lower than normal – www.reuters.com). I was talking to my neigbour over the fence last week and we both noticed the huge amounts of Dragonflys all about – I haven’t see such numbers since I was a kid!
We may be in lock-down but nature is seems to be in revival. This shows me how we have taken the beautiful natural world for granted for centuries. It shows me the negative impact humanity is having on this little blue planet (our one and only home). It shows me the way we live in the world is not sustainable. It shows me how resilient nature seems to be, if given half a chance. It shows me how we have not been good stewards of God’s creation. We have been given a glimpse of what could happen if we take seriously, human induced climate change, and we take our responsibility as stewards of God’s creation seriously.
This too shall pass: when the pandemic passes, will we return to normal? Will we go back to how we used to live? Will we learn anything from this? Many Christians have been praying for a relief to climate change. Is this a sign of what could happen to the environment if we take things seriously? Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who think this pandemic is a punishment from God. But I do believe we can learn from what has and is happening.
I have heard this Pandemic has caused what some commentators are calling “the great adaptation”. I can only comment from a church point of view (I’m sure this is applicable in many other sectors from retail to education) but we have been forced to adapt to the changing conditions. Change or perish. The institutional church is notoriously slow to change. This global traumatic event has caused the church change, to adapt and embrace technology and new ways of doing things. I hope we can live into these changes once the pandemic is over. In a similar vein I hope we can live into the changes we have made to live more gently with the world around us. We have the technology to live in a more harmonious way with the world around us, is the push that we needed to let go of unhealthy living?
It will be interesting to see how we come out of this. Anthropocentric climate change has a longer burn time than a pandemic, but I think it is even more serious and more deadly. We have made some huge changes to address this current pandemic, what will we all do to address the bigger beast of climate change?
– Rev. Eron A. Perry