Covid to Ovid – Springtime, 20 Mar 2020

These are strange and unusual times. The alarm bells have rung.

“This is not a drill.”

The authorities and mass media are using their parental status. They know what is good for us, and we will be criticized and shamed if we do not cooperate. Since when has the government got clever and conscious, caring about its citizens? (To be fair, a sizeable number of public servants are doing their jobs conscientiously, but they too have their marching orders.) In the last years it has looked like a bad circus with second rate performers. Until recently all I saw was infighting, greed, egotism, self-service and power plays. And now we are all in danger by a virus. To put things in context, the FAO estimates that as many as 25,000 people lose their lives every day as a result of hunger. That adds up to roughly 9.1 million people who die of starvation each year. Where was the leadership/public concern there? Are new representatives guiding us now? Have some tactics changed? Is this some hysteria, or an organized experiment in crowd control? I see that it is more difficult for people to gather and protest … some regimes will like that.
But Nature is recovering; the air is cleaner, the waters have a break. The constant hustle and bustle of markets and chores and duties and and are on hold. How refreshing. Major cities are recording no pollution; one can see fish in the canals in Venice again, and dolphins are showing up in Italian waters. These are signs that we humans could live on this planet differently. Less consumerism, more free time; more cooperation and connection with things and people we value. This break, this pause, can be an opportunity for societies to steer in new directions. Quality time, positive priorities for our families, communities and indeed for the world.

Once this “danger” is over, before we get back to the 9 to 5, please consider this: since we can collectively put this whole consumer machine to a standstill – we can also re-gear a better machine that works for more people equitably. Environmentalists could re-calculate solutions to Climate Change with new models, not just with slight modifications to the existing rush to consume. Shall we co-create a better system, a vibrant and life-enhancing redirection that is more humane? We just need to agree and to take the first steps. Imagine … Quality and Cooperation towards a culture that is concerned for all living beings, including the Earth.
Stephen Poplin

– dedicated to Publius Ovidius Naso, or Ovid, born on 20 March 43 BC. He wrote on the art of love (and had issues with the Empire)