COVID19: Finding positives

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Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

As the COVID19 pandemic expands, we are invited to reflect on our place in earth’s ecosystem.
Satellite images of Earth illustrate a marked decrease in air pollution, where there’s an ongoing, measurable decrease in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions – ironically which translate into saved lives. (bit.ly/2wdKvii)

Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

As the COVID19 pandemic expands, we are invited to reflect on our place in earth’s ecosystem.
Satellite images of Earth illustrate a marked decrease in air pollution, where there’s an ongoing, measurable decrease in GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions – ironically which translate into saved lives. (bit.ly/2wdKvii)
Marshal Burke is an environmental resource economist at Stanford University. On March 5, he shared his preliminary findings: “The two months of pollution reduction has probably saved the lives of 4,000 children under 5 and 73,000 adults over 70 in China. That’s significantly more than the current global death toll from the virus itself.” (bit.ly/2QrYlnO)
Will this pandemic’s legacy be improved environmental awareness inspiring sustainable changes?
Time will tell what “return to situation ‘normal’” is.
Morphing realities
The world is experiencing extraordinary shifts.
Who imagined the new buzzwords in 2020 would include “quarantine”? COVID19-inspired terms “self- isolation” and “social distancing” are household currency.
Our business and personal worlds have drastically changed. Conferences are cancelled or going online. Fundraisers, exhibitions, musicians gigs, etc are indefinitely postponed.
Meanwhile, world economies tumble. Prime Minister Trudeau’s government promise $87 billion in financial aid for workers.
Any positives?
Working from home is the new rule – if possible. Professors at Carleton U are teaching online, for example. And, while libraries, galleries and museums close, they’re promoting their social-media presence. Some offer “online tours” and teaching packages. Free.
Families are struggling. Many elderly citizens are isolated: one friend said
his mother’s homecare was terminated, leaving her solitary. Community responses are heartening: Shawville’s Joanne’s Valu-Mart announced a daily seniors-only shopping hour from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – a move that follows independent grocers’ (and other businesses’) community-minded service throughout Canada.
Meanwhile, infants and schoolchildren are home with their parent(s),
requiring adults’ nimble inventiveness.
Some Pontiac parents are exploring home schooling. Some are giving their kids cooking lessons. Others are leading nature walks (entirely feasible while “self-distancing” outdoors, where they can visit urban parks or investigate what’s growing in neighbourhood gardens).
Such inclusive inventiveness means 24/7 family togetherness: a vastly different reality from “normal life” pre-COVID19.
Going online
For those with Internet access, there’s never been a better time to increase our knowledge of online platforms. Citizens are keeping visually in touch, in real time, with family and friends all over the world.
Business owners such as Ladysmith and Shawville-based yoga teacher and massage therapist Bermalva Porter are adroitly adapting, delivering services online.
Responsibly, Porter e-mailed clients to announce the cancellation of all
yoga classes, massages, and counselling services. Simultaneously, she invited them to join her online.
For instance, her YouTube channel features brand new meditation and yoga instruction (bit.ly/2QtHJfo).
Why are yoga and meditation particularly helpful now? Porter explained, “They can
provide calm for stress and anxiety in these days of uncertainty. Deep in yogic philosophy there is the teaching that ‘nothing is certain’ as life is constantly moving and changing. … Yoga and meditation provide a platform that strengthens agility within the ebbs and flows life naturally brings.”
And as an endorsement to online connectivity, she added, “Time and distance are no obstacles for this, which is why it can be offered over the web, or phone.”
Hope springs eternal
Signs of spring are everywhere, from returning avian migrants such as the redwing blackbird and American robins, through to the first stirrings of tulip shoots in ever-enlarging patches of soil. (Again, get outside, everyone, to walk your walker, push your kids’ strollers, or amble about, exploring and breathing deeply of the fresh air…)
Gardening time approaches: everyone can plan gardens with their kids and start some seeds indoors.
Certainly, we don’t know how long we’ll be practicing “self- isolation.” So, get active. Learn a language. Investigate online learning. Play music and dance “like no-one’s watching”.
And when you go shopping? Thank the cashiers. Thank the cleaning staff. Treat others as you want to be treated: with dignity and respect. Just don’t hug… yet.
We can do this. Together, we are strong.