A friend sent me this article about the fact that pollution has reduced to the level that Mount Everest can now be seen; this hasn’t happened in generations. The air is cleaner than it has been in generations. The reason for this seemly instantaneous clarity in air condition is due to the Covid-19 shutdowns locally (Nepal), in America, and globally. The irony of a virus whose primary bodily dysfunction is seen in respiratory ailments being the cause of people being able to breathe cleaner air should not be lost. I am concerned with the environment and the global impact of humans on the planet. Can Covid-19 have a silver lining toward better global health or is Covid-19 the silver lining? Darwin wrote about how nature adapts to changes in and with the environment. Essentially and simplistically, if a species does not have the ability or sense to adapt, they become extinct. Humans have a different relationship with this theory of survival. Humans do not change to meet the needs and changes in the environment, humans change the environment to meet the needs (or wants) of the human. This can even be seen in the evolution of vaccinations. The reason for vaccines is not to adapt to nature it is to become immune to nature so humans do not have to deal with nature. Consider this, viruses and diseases are “formed” in heavily populated areas. Vaccines are humans’ way to change the nature of viruses and diseases. The larger a population, especially in a close area the more opportunities for a virus or disease to find the exact right fit for its own permutation of the genome to cause havoc. Not to suggest a virus or disease cannot “find a home” in rural settings or even suburban environments, but the lack of “hosts” certainly lowers that risk for the transmission and actuation of a virus or disease. Would Darwin suggest that viruses and diseases are nature’s way of equalizing the impact of humans in an overpopulated area? I’m not so sure, because what Darwin describes is grand changes in the environment over the course of many years where viruses and diseases crop up almost instantaneously due to the exact right combination of host, “germ” and time. There doesn’t exsist a balancing act that changes and alters the environment as many facets of the environment adjust working with each other for the survival of the entire ecosystem. A virus or disease encompasses its host and survives with the ability to pass and overcome. Natural selection, or survival of the fittest does seem to apply. However, this is not a clean analogy. Granted the healthy and strong seem to perform much better with Covid-19 than do people who have a weak immune system, have exterior health conditions, are older, or have simple constitutions; the strong and the healthy seem to fare much better. Maybe not in the observations set forth by Darwin, but the fittest do relate in a tangential manner more toward survival. As shown from the positive environmental impact of Covid-19 due to the shutdown of factories and commerce, which pollute the air to the extent that the largest mountain in the world cannot be seen. This shut down allows the dissipation of damaging air particulates. Most of us have seen television programming that suggests what would happen if humans were extracted from the equation of earth: Descriptions of how many days, weeks, months, and years the “human infrastructure” would remain, how and what would overtake the crumbled human growth. Similarly, what would happen if the “human impact” was reduced? Those programs, although based on science and some anecdotal examples are speculative and theorizing. We can see an actual case study with factual information with the example of finally being able to view Mount Everest. If it is accepted that viruses and diseases mutate and adapt, like Darwin observed flora and fauna doing in an environmental setting, to the point that the virus or disease gain roots with a host in order to survive, do humans act like viruses or do viruses act like humans. Large population allows larger opportunities for these viruses and diseases to be a larger problem. The natural immune system is continually working to keep a plethora of viruses and diseases at bay as seen by a fever, stomach ache and even the sniffles. Could Covid-19 benefit the natural world, even beyond the shutdown of factories as seen in Nepal, by weeding out the earth’s species of the weak, selfish, and irresponsible? I’m asking for a friend.
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As a passionate educator I am distressed when I am not instructing in some way. I love to share my ideas and this has turned into work as an author. I am a loving father, brother, uncle, son and friend to many. Everything I can do I do to improve the lives of others and try to share my passion to help change the blights the world endures, one interaction at a time.
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