“One is all. And all is one”.
Could you please take a minute to reflect on what you think this might mean?
Did you? Good!
I am sure you came up with a great thought! Still, I would like to share with you my perspective.
Planet Earth represents the all and you are the one! Well … Not just you. You, me and every living being consists – individually – in one element in this huge planet. In this context, the cycle of life goes on and never stops. As seasons change, each component experiences life, death and life again. Every unit is transformed but is still part of the all. In the all, we are connected and we come together as one!
Does that make sense to you?
As one, we – the entire world – are currently facing a pandemic, and this is not breaking news, I know! Nevertheless, we have been called attention to open our eyes to our planet, our home, to our neighbours, colleagues and everyone, regardless if we are acquainted with them or not. This moment, nature, in the verge of a tipping point, calls us out to stop and open our eyes to all the damage humans – us – have been causing in this world.
It has not been easy. Ever! Climate change, deforestation, pollution, extinction, consumerism, disturbance of natural cycles and processes. Poverty, hunger, gender inequality, discrimination, no access to health nor education and so many other issues! We debate, we disagree, we don’t believe. But the fact is that it is difficult to endure and mitigate certain situations as ONE, as people from different backgrounds (geographical, economic, social) live contrasting realities and face distinctive hardships.
It is impactful to me how this 2020 Coronavirus pandemic is practically making the world stop. However, this should not shock me as much considering that this is not the first pandemic that the world has ever faced. In the history of pandemics, the one that caused more deaths is the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death. This records the 14th century and it was a disease originated in rats and had fleas as vectors to humans. It is estimated that half of the European population died during this period.
The second greatest pandemic is Smallpox in 1520, that killed approximately 90% of Native Americans, and registered a number of around 400.000 dead people annually in Europe in the 19th century. That was when the first vaccine for Smallpox was created. Don’t be alarmed! I am not trying to scare you!
Amongst many other pandemics, more recent ones, that always pop up in our minds – now thinking about the Coronavirus – are the Swine Flu and the Ebola. Let’s not forget that HIV/AIDS was also considered as a pandemic! And even though there is not a cure yet, there are medicines to treat and effective ways of prevention.
Still, somehow, the COVID-19 pandemic feels different. And some reasons are: it is a new virus, scientists and researchers are still understanding and learning about this new form; and, it is a current outbreak which increases every minute. Moreover, today, we live in a 24/7 online world, and as news travel as rapid as ever before, so does fear … But, so does hope!
Just like the union that has been rising to change this situation, we as individuals can grow stronger, selfless, caring and active! In this moment, when we experience this necessary quarantine, we have the opportunity to reflect on how our actions have been impacting our planet. We have the chance to understand that we are a part of one universe and, although we may feel small, we can shape the world around us. As environmental leaders and advocates, we can promote more dialogues and discussions to raise awareness and solutions about Earth’s urgent agenda! And I know you have already been doing this and that you try every day!
But as all of us, inhabitants of the Earth, take a step back to deal with this new virus, let’s take this time of union and connectedness to glimpse together the rise of a new dawn! There is hope of a turn in events when everybody engages to reach the goal that benefits the ONE (planet). We should stand together as every fight is a fight of ALL of us, to protect our home and ensure the existence and resources for the sake of the environment, ourselves and future generations. We can do this! Because now is ALL FOR ONE!