Whether we realize it or not humans have been conducting a great experiment since the dawn of human civilization. This experiment has been to test just how far we as a species can exert our mastery over the planet and all its denizens. So far assuming you ask the people whose knowledge should be trusted in this area (aka scientists) this experiment has shown we are poor replacements for nature's natural equilibrium. This pandemic and the restrictions it imposes have transitioned us at least temporarily from the part of the experiment where,
To a place where we can just barely see a different version of the civilization experiment playing out.
A time like this despite how terrible it is for so many people is also an opportunity to get a glimpse of an ecosystem that gets a break from all of humanities hustle and bustle. We have all seen the news reports of wild animals seen in places they have never been seen before and pollution free skies that allow sights to be seen that haven’t been visible for decades.
This change even though it has been forced upon gives us a look at what the world could be if we put our civilization on a new path. One that prioritizes cleaner forms of energy, more local food supplies, sustainable cities and better long-distance transportation. If we applied ourselves along the power and knowledge we wield as a species, we could make what we are glimpsing our new future. This pandemic has taken human society and pulled back the blinds and started to shake us awake from a deep slumber. This is a good thing despite the pain it causes because we have been asleep for so long that the sheets are soiled, our collective hair is in need of a trim and we really need to clean ourselves up a bit.
Right now, we lack the political and societal will to make this happen. We need to finish waking up as a species and realize the one thing that has always been true,
We are not the masters of this planet
At best we are a parasite leaching the life out of our host until we damage it beyond its ability to support us. We need to stop being a parasite and instead evolve into a symbiote one that makes this planet better than it could be without us. We have the technology and the knowledge to start on this path right now and the fallout from this pandemic gives us the chance to change our civilization for the better.
As this current crisis ebbs, we cannot let things go back to business as usual. Business as usual is part of the reason we ended up in this situation in the first place. Our constant drive to recover new resources keeps pushing us into doing things and going places we should probably stay out of. As we begin to recover from this pandemic we need to change and become not the “masters” of this planet again but its stewards and to understand that we are a part of an even bigger experiment than the one we are conducting.
We are part of the LIFE experiment on this planet, perhaps part of the only experiment in the universe where complex life has ever come about. Now I for one would like humans to stay a part of that experiment and to do the best that we can to ensure that LIFE succeeds in its many forms. So it is time to change our civilization experiment to better align with the experiment of LIFE so that we can continue to be a part of it instead of giving Mother Nature another reason to punch us in the face.
So let’s take this glimpse of planet with a lighter touch from humanity and put it to good use and stop being so selfish and stupid for a change. That’s what I am going to try and do.
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.