Category: The Environment
Thoughts and questions on Covid-19
Hello human family!
Lately, our strange and unique world has seen some great challenges. So many thoughts and questions have been running through my mind – and I am sure that it’s the same for many of you.
I’ve been thinking of the families who have lost loved ones due to the corona virus and it’s got me thinking about the adage, “When an old person dies, he takes a library with him.” How many libraries have been lost in the last few months because of one little, yet incredulously powerful virus? My heart goes out to all of you…
Yet, this sheds an astonishing light on how poorly we treat the most vulnerable people in our societies. It’s almost as though, once people reach a certain age, we “put them away” in places that could not possibly bring them comfort, which, ironically, makes them more vulnerable.
I never thought that our seniors could be so negligently and thoughtlessly ignored, even though people are being paid to attend to their needs. I never thought that doctors, nurses, EMTs, hospital staff, porters, food servers, janitors, cleaning staff would be even more vulnerable than the patients streaming in to hospitals.
I never thought I’d be a cheering fan of truckers, but as long as they are delivering the food to our grocery stores and supermarkets, I’ll continue cheering them on. (thank you truckers!) and thank you to every employee of every place that sells food – without all of you, this pandemic would have been far more horrendous!
Thank you to the bus drivers, teachers (who are well underpaid!) and all essential workers for keeping things going while the rest of us shut down.
Thank you to the Canadian government and health officials who have been there for us, informing us, supporting us and giving us the truth of the situation. (So proud to be a Canadian!) Thank you to all the anonymous, un-thanked volunteers who are delivering food to the most vulnerable. You are heroes and sheroes too! Thank you to the food banks who are overwhelmed with requests and under supported.
Thank you to all those following the social distancing requirements, staying home and wearing masks while you have to be out and about. You too are an important part of this recovery process!
And thanks also to the “covidiots” who necessitate embarrassment; I never thought we would need new lessons on how to properly wash our hands or explanations of what “six feet apart” looks like.
I had long held out hope that pollution levels in India, Los Angeles and China would dissipate, and yet, look at what happens when we are forced to stay home with our families, loved ones and liked ones? Jellyfish have been spotted in the canals in Venice! People are hearing bird song in places in which birds had disappeared and more importantly, we have had no choice but to surrender to our surrounding ecosystems.
Why (and when) did it become normal to continually and substantially harm our environments? It took a global health crises for us to realise what was possible if we all just stopped for a bit…
People, let’s not ever go back to the previous way of environmental degradation. We have the power to shape a new normal, so when we are able, let’s all go plant hundreds of trees.
Goodness knows, the Amazon is in trouble. Let’s not add to it… Look at what happens when we give Nature the time she needs to repair herself.
Have you also noticed the tanking of gas prices? I’ve written on this blog before that if all of you wanted to see lower gas prices, all you had to do was stop driving for a bit.
This is nothing new. Given how many people have stopped driving for a month or two, we’re seeing major environmental response. Please don’t throw that away for the sake of the dreaded rat race. We have one planet. There are no other options.
Moreover, when did it become normal for world leaders to publicly request that all governments globally work together to solve this crisis? Did the fact that “we’re all in this together” not register? Do certain leaders think that their part of the continent will be spared given who’s in charge? Denial is a dangerous game when it comes to pandemics. Let’s stop electing people who clearly don’t give a ****.
How many of you complained that you didn’t have enough time with your families? How many of you wished you didn’t have to see your bosses on a day-to-day basis? How many of you wished “that you could just slow down for a little while?”
It seems, my friends, we were all making the same wishes…
But there are lessons here for those who ponder- Only the One who Made us could make the entire world stop, answer all our wishes, show us who the real heroes are and expose the awesome regenerative power of Mother Nature simultaneously!
Take this time and use it well. Don’t waste it on the hustle; the old rat race has run its course. Nature is showing us what really happens when we’re not paying attention.
Speaking of paying attention, it’s been bothering me that we pay certain people so much money to act in plays or movies. We give them awards and as much air time as they want – even just for cutting their hair. Yet, we pay our teachers less than many essential service workers. We pay our footballers, basket ball players and baseball players more money than can be justified whilst we under-fund and undervalue teachers, janitors, porters, food servers and biological researchers – these are the people who will find a cure for cancer – and for the Novel Corona Virus.
Don’t get me wrong – GO RAPTORS! – I love a good match as much as anyone else, however, are we all not questioning priorities at the moment? One of the Italian biological researchers said it well, “You pay Messi 1 million Euros per month while you pay researchers 1800 Euros. You want a cure? Go ask Messi.”
How many of you, whilst schooling your children at home, have had the thought “I don’t know how teachers do this every day…”? It’s time to show, and place, appreciation where it belongs.
And how is it that we read one article on what is happening, or what needs to happen and we become sudden subject matter experts who can diagnose one another and prognosticate as to when things will open up again?
Also, HOW do people get away with having mass protests under lock down? Because yet again, the almighty dollar reigns supreme? Has Covid taught people nothing? Without your health, the rest of anything else becomes irrelevant.
And WHEN did it become okay to pack in a small flight without any pre-screening, health or temperature checks? Or any instructions that masks must be worn throughout the flight?
Speaking of planes, how long will it take before I can travel again? How long before I can see my antipodean family? When can I rush into a grocery store for a midnight milk run? When can I sit with loved ones in a café or restaurant without fear of infection? When will there be a vaccine and how will they get it to everyone?
I’m sure many of you have the same questions. I think the most important fact of the matter is this: family matters. Your loved ones matter more than the hustle, the drive, the status of how many and how much…
We have to trust that “this too shall pass,” and when we emerge from this world of isolation, let’s all be that much kinder to each other. Do we not deserve that?
Love each other. That’s the only real rule.
What is going on 2020?
A belated Happy New Year to all of you!
You know, every time I turn around these days, it feels as if things and people are getting weirder and crazier. And I know it’s not just me…
I’ve said this before, and it bears repeating: We need to be kinder to each other. Accept each other as we are. Love and let love, live and let live. The differences don’t matter- It’s what we have in common that binds us.
We are One race. One human family. One people.
Don’t bother me with your labels. Come to me with your ideas for betterment.
Have a kinder, more loving, more accepting year.
My whole heart goes out to the Iranian and Canadian communities who lost so many loved ones in the devastating crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. May God comfort you and ease your pain.
My heart also goes out to all those struggling on the front lines of devastating fires, floods, blizzards, snowpocalypses, climate change, severe famines, droughts, poverty and dehumanization of religious minorities. (Let’s do more to stop that!)
Thank you for one of the most peaceful protests we’ve seen in a very long time. Thank you to everyone who made signs (on recyclable and reused materials) and thank you to all the parents who stood beside their little ones. This strike/protest matters. You matter. Our world matters. “One love, One heart, Let’s get together” and make this right!
Some of my favourite photos:
All photos ©Safreena Rajan
People of all walks of life attended this rally from very young to young at heart and all people in between. The human family was well represented today. Well done Vancouverites!
Kudos to the VSB for “Letting” kids skip school to attend. I get the feeling though, that the majority of the 100,000 people in the downtown core would not have asked permission.
The Earth is in trouble people. Let’s not leave it in the hands of those who clearly don’t care.
Thank you to everyone in every city, province, state, nation, country who walked or who supported those who walked today. Shout out to the Policeman who directed traffic using his sandwich and coke bottle as sign posts for traffic to follow! (Unfortunately I couldn’t get a pic, but I’m thankful I live in a place where the police have our safety first in mind and can make us laugh.) And thankful I live in a place where signs like this result only in messages being delivered and more cardboard being recycled!
Thank you to the Climate Strike Team, Fridays for the Future, Greta Thunberg and all the lovely people who, like me, have been fighting this fight for years. There is much to be done. Today was a fantastic start!
People, we have one planet…
And it’s getting hotter!
Let’s go plant some trees and stop throwing your plastics everywhere.
Go on. Plant some trees. We can still do some good.
And be good to one another. This world has too much crazy; let’s all take a moment to breathe and see ourselves in other people.
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what’s goin’ on?
There’s a little too much crazy goin’ on in the world right now isn’t there? Every time we turn around, there’s a new political scandal, a new story about how someone we revered or respected has had his/her true nature revealed, some country has been bombed or some entity is trying to harm another. All the while, our planet is in dire straights.
With all this crazy, how are we supposed to take time to reflect upon what’s important? How do we “stop and smell the roses?” Truth is, we must. We simply must. If we do not, there won’t be roses left to smell. Take care of your health- without this, none of the rest of anything matters. Take care of the people you love. Without them, your health may decline.
There’s so much crazy goin’ on right now, that if we don’t stop and take an inventory of what really matters, things are just going to get weirder and weirder and more nonsensical. Yes, our planet needs our help, so let’s help; let’s all plant more trees. Let’s every one of us (all of you who read this) just plant two little trees and grow them with love and patience and watch what happens. Let’s all help someone who needs it. Get to know someone whose views differ with yours. I’m quite positive that in the course of discourse, you’ll find we are all human after all. Differences be damned.
Let’s all find a way to be kinder to ourselves and those in our immediate environments. Then let’s be kinder to our environment as well. Let’s even try to save an animal or two on the endangered species list- before they end up legends in fairy tales. We are all guardians of this beautiful planet- not its owners. “Nature always repairs her ravages,” said George Eliot. Let’s not give her any more reasons…
Yes, there is so much going on. How do you stop the chaos? You can’t.
But you can take a deep, yoga cleansing breath (or three) and become witness. Then, you can remedy.
Have a wonderful week!
According to Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Author of “The Global Forest,” and other books and documentaries,
“If every person on the planet planted one tree every year, (a native species tree, in its native environment) for six years, we could reverse climate change.”
Something to think about….
My rant on the boondoggle of repeating the same behaviour of not caring for, then trying to correct environmental damage…
We need to stop using sentences like “Climate change is real.”
It isn’t unreal.
We as a society have been stuck in key words around this issue like “climate change” and “green house gas emissions” and “renewable resources.” This conversation has been going on for more than twenty or thirty years- why haven’t the verbs changed? If values change over time, why not the accompanying words? Or actions?
Oceans are becoming more acidic, bleaching coral reefs. Climatic regions once associated with milder, more temperate climates are experiencing heat waves. Sea levels are rising, displacing millions. Wild fires are creating refugees and homelessness. Droughts in developed areas are occurring on a yearly basis. El Ñino and La Ñina are prime examples of this – warmer ocean currents wreaking havoc on our weather systems, and in turn, creating stronger, more devastating storms. Polar bears are drowning because they have never before had to swim so far for their food. Why are they swimming should be the question on your mind. If it isn’t, take a look at the melting ice caps in the Arctic. The Inuit had to invent a word for “Robin” because northern climes have warmed up so much that Robins now fly that far north. The “Great White North” will eventually become the Northern Tropics if we are not prudent.
How many more people have to die or become displaced for people to understand that this “climate change thing” is real?? Jump on the bandwagons people – the mother ship has left you and it ain’t comin’ back!
It’s time to change the conversation and ask the real questions of why does it cost Northern, Developed nations so much to use solar power, when most of the entire CONTINENT of Africa has is making efficient use of it? If someone can pay the (almost) equivalent amount of one dollar to have his/her mobile phone charged in Kenya, using solar cells to generate electric recharging, then why can’t Canada and the U.S and the U.K and other developed nations figure it out? Let’s start asking our companies why an effective and economical solution can’t be found. Let’s start asking who put the “Nay-Sayers” and “climate change critics” in charge? It’s time for the pundits to stop saying “agree to disagree.” Perhaps it’s time to stop talking and plant a few trees!
Let’s ask the experts how many kick backs they get from their associated businesses. Let’s take a real look at the auto industry. Who was it that really “killed the electric car?” Who benefits the most from coal/oil/gas deals? Why did it take so long for low-emission light bulbs to become the industry norm? Why won’t certain countries enact said light bulbs into industry code? Why won’t certain countries recycle their paper waste? Why won’t certain governments stop drilling in the Arctic? Money is not a renewable resource either. Deforestation is devastating vast areas of our beautiful globe. The lack of trees is displacing wildlife, and causing droughts and in some cases, serious floods. The Amazon basin is suffering. We need trees to filter the carbon dioxide we create. Oxygen is a requirement for human life. Did anyone forget about the hole in the Ozone layer? We still have that you know…
We have our priorities wrong. If there were real political will behind this issue, then it wouldn’t have taken 195 countries until 2015 to sign a deal like the Paris Agreement. It wouldn’t have taken a historic meeting of the “Three Amigos” until 2016 to shine yet another light on this urgent issue.
This matters because if a poor, under developed country like Kenya, and most states within Africa, can figure out how to use Solar power to their benefit, especially for people living on less than $20.00 a day, then why the heck can’t we? I don’t understand this. Don’t tell me we don’t have enough sun or that we don’t have the technology for storage or that storage is expensive. Go back to the top of this page and read everything again.
This matters because there are too many countries in which charcoal is burned openly on the roadsides, deforestation resulting from the homeless/displaced burning wood for cooking fuel, land fills the size of small mountains are being burnt because there are no other viable solutions. There are too many countries drilling in precious ocean environments, and far too much research/development being done on fracking. Far too many companies are pumping far too many noxious chemicals into the atmosphere.
We have known for some time that coal, oil and gas are not renewable resources. We have known that invariably, they will undoubtedly run out. We have passed that point. We’ve gone passed the point at which we need to build cars that run on vegetables, or some weird variation thereof. We need to take the brilliant energy of the sun, of the wind, of the oceans and use it to our benefit, without leaving the poor and the middle class behind. And we need to do this without emptying the oceans of the precious life contained therein. We need to sit with our Aboriginal Peoples and take a lesson in caring for the earth. Why are we not harvesting rain water so that when drought occurs we are not in dire straits? More of us need to have meatless Mondays and Tofu Tuesdays. Turn off your televisions and your computer screens for two hours every week. And for God’s sake, participate in Earth Hour every year!
Let’s put money into research and development so our students and our environmental engineers can figure out how best to create storage solutions for tidal/solar/wind power. Let’s enact, and then follow through on considerably tougher legislation that punishes corporations for oil spills and environmental damage. If money is so important, let’s pass some laws that inflict punitive damage in the form of hefty sums from the companies willfully neglecting the surrounding environment. Let’s create such a strength in Environmental Law that companies and corporations will think thrice before attempting to bury leaky barrels of hazardous waste near groundwater. Or not inspect drilling sites prior to drilling underwater.
There does not ever need to be a compromise between saving our planet and building a healthy and productive economy.
And yes, while it is true that “Nature repairs her ravages,” (George Elliot) this is not a situation which has been created by mother nature. We did this. We silly, selfish, consumerist, materially obsessed people did this. And we need to fix this. Now. Right Now.
Let’s not wait for another major conference to “get it.” Change the verbiage. This is no longer about climate change. It’s about the successful survival of life on Planet Earth.