How on earth did we get here?

Carmen Gomez

Musing on life as one tends to do particularly when faced with a panorama never before envisaged; it is easy to lose the thread somewhat, on account of the surreal circumstances we find ourselves in. At such a time it is quite normal to ask, “How on earth did we get here?” when looking not just at ourselves, but the world in general. I must admit that watching the news on Sky TV sometime back, I witnessed Chinese people walking about with face masks in their daily fog soup; just like in the pictures of the old Jack the Ripper movies; and one of them, on being asked how he felt about the intense contamination around them, simply mumbled “at least I have work.” In other words, this man had come to a point of no return.

Revenge on us all

He was willing to put up with the air pollution which in China, according to 2015 estimates by the Berkeley Earth non profit organisation, kills 1.6 million people each year from heart, lung and stroke problems. It is tragic that people should in any country, have to reconcile themselves to a world totally bereft of quality of life, in order to make a living for themselves and their families. But the truth is they have to, because their government decides that this is the way forward. Then suddenly we get hit by what could well appear to be a revenge on us all by Mother Nature, who has had just about enough of man’s utter disdain for her. Except we all know this is not so. What is spreading this pandemic is possibly? The result of what some of us might consider to be the distasteful cultural eating habits of some countries.

Let’s say it as it is. Why not? Here we are held captive in our homes, which involves not only a lack of freedom to go where we please, but suffering the consequences of what this entails; both physical and mental; because governments out there are unwilling to get their act together and place curbs on some of its traditions like, “wet markets!” The dangerous trend towards disease spill over from animals to humans, can also be traced to a host of modern day factors; including increased human encroachment on wildlife territory; land use changes that increase the rate of human-wildlife and wildlife- livestock interface, and climate change. Human, animal and environmental health are intertwined and have to be effectively addressed together, as a matter of urgency, to prevent the spared of infectious diseases.