In the past few months, as the coronavirus has raged around the world, many of us who were sheltering-in-place have had a simple, binary choice: stay inside at home, or take a walk outside. Many of us chose the alfresco option; in the county park near my home, for example, I witnessed a surge in the number of people strolling through a place that had previously, for years, been almost empty.
In this way, COVID-19 may have forced us to reevaluate the value of natural settings. For a while, their solace was a bright spot in our solitary days. Unfortunately, as cities and towns have started to relax regulations on activities, outdoor spaces are becoming deserted once again. In my particular case, I now rarely see anyone at that county park on my daily wanderings.
My fear is that the nature we so sought in a time of crisis and that so sustained us will once again fall to the bottom of our “actionable items” lists as we try, little by little, to get back to what was before we had ever heard the word coronavirus. Even as we speak, our environment is being degraded and assaulted as never before. The brief respite our air quality got is quickly disappearing. It seems as though we humans never learn.
That’s why I find the four, short videos—shown below—to be so powerful and relevant, especially now.
Nature is speaking, 2.0
Almost six years ago, in October 2014, I had first written to you about how nature was finally talking back to us. And, thanks to Conservation International, she’s speaking again. This time, we’re going to hear from some more of the environment’s major players: mountains, forests, corals and ice.
Among the four, I find the mountain to be particularly eloquent. It says: “From up here, I see how you’ve come to treat this world. You used to recharge your body and soul in the calm of my forests. You once climbed my peaks seeking enlightenment. Now, you take what you want and contemplate only your own gain. Open your eyes while there’s still time.”
Ice is evoking unease, unceasingly
As a huge fan of the cold places, I love what ice has to say most of all, of course:
I am ice. I move slowly. I keep the world cool. Well … I used to.
But humans keep warming this planet.
I try to warn you. I send pieces of me thundering into the ocean.
You do nothing.
I raise sea levels.
You do nothing.
It has taken you decades to notice.
Perhaps, I’m not so slow after all.
I hope you understand, now, about my fear.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,