This global pandemic won’t end unless we find a vaccine, which in the best-case scenario could take approx. 18 months. Recently, Bill Gates said if everything goes well, we will see a vaccine in 18 months. This is the best-case scenario. But there may be surprises, and we could find a solution earlier-maybe in 6 months.
Considering on-going facts where 1.8 million people are infected, and more than 100 thousand are dead so far, Covid19 will change the world the way World Wars did. I see many possible outcomes for good and bad reasons, and a few are below:
Looming Depression: Many will be in a severe depression for a very long period. These unprecedented times have brought unprecedented emotional traumas. Many have already lost their near and dear ones, which happened in a concise period. Many will be in depression due to financial and personal losses. Millions are already unemployed, and how long they will remain, none knows. The emotional traumas will last for many generations. The looming poverty, personal losses and diseases will aggravate this. The scars and wounds left will be on the scale of World Wars or maybe higher. This will linger.
Changes in Lifestyle: People should question their lifestyle. They should question what they eat and consume in everyday life. This incessant desire to consume more and more each day has led to this destruction. The Chinese wet markets were the epicentre of viruses for many years. But the Chinese government, under the influence of few wealthy elites, let wet markets continue and kept selling meat of highly infectious animals which could have been avoided. Looking at human history, it has been proven many times that animal viruses infected humans time and again. It seems we never learned. We need to question our eating habits. The meat industry has destroyed our ecosystem and many species. Out of total agricultural land, 77 percent is used for livestock, either as land for grazing or land to grow animal feed.
Let’s take another example of the use of toilet rolls.
How ridiculous is it to destroy trees for the sake of toilet papers? To wipe the back, we are killing billions of trees. Only 30% of the population are using toilet rolls, and these countries are rich. These rich countries show poor habits. They need to change it soon. Why not people in the West use hose pipe which is widely used in developing countries.
It is ridiculous to see humans wipe out about 270,000 trees a day with toilet paper. The US earns $ 200 billion annually through the export of toilet papers. This is one of the examples of the senseless lifestyle and economy. Unless this senseless economic model isn’t challenged, we will see 1% people controlling 99% of the wealth.
Climate and Ecological Crisis: The Covid19 pandemic is an outcome of the exploitation of living species and ecosystem, which was going on for decades. We humans need to pause and reflect on what we consume in our daily lives and where it comes from. The fossil fuel dependency must end. The air pollution-related diseases and contaminated water kill millions each year but none talks about this. The world leaders should pay heed to the climate scientists and environmentalists if they want to save this planet. In 2018, the World Bank projected that there will be more than 143 million internal climate migrants by 2050, in just three regions of the world (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America), if no climate action is taken.
So far there is no system in place to safeguard our lives against increasing droughts and floods led by climate and ecological crisis. We see more climate refugees than war refugees. But, we have a rapid mechanism to act in case of military wars.
E.g. NATO Response force is capable of deploying military at any geographical location within 5 days, but they are not competent in providing testing kits, ventilators and vaccines. The annual world defence budget is more than $ 2 trillion, which is insanely high. Why not we cut this budget and spend more on healthcare? It is time to set up universal healthcare and set our priorities right.
Climate change could kill millions by the end of this century if we don’t take drastic measures. I hope business and political leaders will take drastic measures to stop climate and ecological catastrophe the way they have acted to stop Covid19 pandemic.
Health and Wealth: So far, every country is running for GDP growth by destroying its ecology. In this pandemic, billions of people are locked down and almost all factories, refineries, trains, aeroplanes, businesses have come to a standstill. Ask why? Only to save health. We must realize that now there is nothing more important than health.
There are possibilities to see more focus on healthcare and well-being than on stock markets and oil. It’s a tough ask in this economic model which is driven by greed. But I think at least a few governments after going through this bitter experience will spend more on hospitals, nurses, doctors and medicines than on fossil fuels and military. I hope we will come out of this pandemic with robust learning and as a winner.
Spirituality: In this time of crisis, it is time to seek a deeper meaning of life. It is time to explore how to make ourselves a better human. It is time to question our existence and this mundane world. While a logical mind seeks in the matter, spiritual being seeks inside soul. Being spiritual means accepting self, nature, our surroundings and co-exist with peace. Being spiritual means thinking out of the box, celebrate openness, practice solidarity and bring transformation inside out. The emphasis on spiritual values will lead us to question religious fanaticism.
Today no matter you come from which faith, the only person who is going to help in this pandemic is a Doctor or Nurse. All temples, mosques, churches and synagogues are locked down. The mullahs and priests are also hiding. The ones who were working as an agent between God and you are in the refuge. This proves that religions are human-made. This demonstrates that we need to seek inside to find a balance. Once we find peace and balance inside, this outside world will fall into place.
This pandemic is the right time to question your beliefs and practices. And spiritual path makes you a seeker and let you to dive deeper and understand Atman and this Samsara. It’s a bridge between mind (logic) and heart (love) and helps to transcend beyond. This will also help us to move beyond the hierarchies of nationality, caste, race and class system and connect with this world and universe. I have already observed in my friend circle that people are moving towards spirituality, which is a healthy sign.
I am wishing my readers good health.