So much for tariff talks with China. It’s humbling to note how Mother Nature can upend our entire world view in so short a time. The tragic crisis affecting millions across China and threatening the rest of the world, should act as a long overdue wakeup call to mankind about the healthcare cost of climate change.
Coronavirus is only the latest, but definitely not the last virus in a long and notorious line of viruses and bacteria, from HIV-AIDS in the latter half of the 20th century to Ebola, to SARs, to Swine flu, to Bird flu, to whatever comes next, to hit mankind in the last four or five decades. Each one a little worse and a little more contagious than the one before, almost all attributable to human contact with animal borne microbes that managed to cross the species barrier and infect humans. One is compelled to ask why so many in so small a time frame. It can’t just be a coincidence that these pathogens affect us just as climate change gathers momentum.
Most people tend to focus on pollution, degrading land use, flooding, change in weather patterns, disappearing species, degrading of water resources while discussing climate change, all of which are critically important no doubt. However most of this is macro. Even pollution, unless you live in cities with truly awful air quality, isn’t something you notice until you smell it. The rest is macro, and most of us don’t really get to see the change happening in front of us unless someone points it out, in some ways its almost academic, something to like or post an angry emoji about on FB, we give it a courtesy nod and then climb back into our gas guzzlers and head off to wherever.
It takes a coronavirus to bring it to our immediate attention, to get us questioning the authorities.