What might be in the future?
A Change of Lifestyle
Practical Steps to Deal with Covid-19
Renewal and Climate Emergency
Support Major Steps for Health and a Clean World
PART THREE: WHAT MIGHT BE
We can reflect on the past to learn from our mistakes and from what we found out. The past offers a range of insights so that we can develop further what matters in the present and change whatever needs letting go of. We can then adapt to a new situation.
The present to the future matters as much. In times of deep uncertainty, insecurity and vulnerability, human beings have to be exceptionally vigilant with regard to every stream of thoughts about the future whether hours, days, weeks or months ahead. Underlying worries, fears and anxieties can impregnate the future weakening our inner resources in the present and inflaming concerns about the future. The anxieties from the past build up. The stress impacts on the present and also on our view of the future. We feel overwhelmed when the future becomes the present.
A great undertaking requires us to connect steadfastly with the living present to ground ourselves here and now. This means developing the capacity to see, hear, smell, taste and touch so the present has more truth and reality to it than our fears and imagination about next week or next year. The ability to recognise and stay connected with the simple reality of the here and now protects us from fearful indulgences about what might or might not be.
You may need to remind yourself of what is right in front of your eyes and what the sounds are coming to your ears. You experience your backside on the chair or your feet on the ground. You might say out loud. “I am sitting on this chair. This is the truth. I can see…..I can hear… I can feel the posture of the body. I can experience the life and the sensations in the body. This experience is authentic. This experience keeps me grounded. My projections into the future prevent me from staying centred. Staying centred today offers the best support for staying centred tomorrow and the day after.”
Such experiences and words or something similar can offer real support in very difficult times. Our front-line doctors, nurses and staff face daily immense challenges. People arrive in the hospital desperate for treatment from the virus. The staff have to find ways to stay calm and clear. The staff also have loved ones at home or elsewhere.
Some go home after a very long day deeply concerned if they picked up the virus from a patient or an item. Such concerns can rob a person of their sleep and peace of mind. The next day the staff person, the nurse and the doctor have to return to the hospital and go through another long shift and face the same risks all over again.
There are not enough words in the English language to express our gratitude and appreciation for all the staff in our health service committed to our welfare. Their primary task consists of providing the necessary treatment, medication and technology so that we can return home having recovered from our illness or from the virus.
Our hospital teams are the Gods and Goddesses of the Earth.
What Might be in the Future
The intensity of the pandemic raises numerous questions about the future. Nobody knows what might be in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. We cannot take anything for granted including our way of life, our health or our life, itself. We have no answers but it will not stop people from raising the questions. When people cannot see a way forward some of those people will go to the past to heap blame rather than understand the process that got humanity into this painful mess.
- How long will it be before a vaccine is developed?
- Will all the population need to be tested?
- What will be the response to those who refuse vaccinations?
- How will such a vaccination be applied in every country?
- Will Covid-19 rise and fall regularly in waves and clusters?
- Will relaxation of social contact and movement trigger more waves of the pandemic?
- Is there a facemask guaranteed to protect people from this highly contagious virus?
- Will the two-metre distance rule be applied on an ongoing basis?
- Will even more strict rules be applied if the virus reasserts itself?
- What will be the impact on people’s mental health if we live in a tightly controlled society?
- What will happen to our schools, colleges and universities?
- Will social distancing apply to factories, offices, concerts and religious services?
- Will social distancing apply to shops, supermarkets, restaurants and sporting events?
- What will happen to youth clubs and homes for the aged?
- Will social distancing apply to all public transport by land, sea and air?
- What will be the impact of all or any of the above on our entire way of life?
We will need a fresh set of priorities if, as a species, we need to adapt to a situation on Earth that we have never encountered before.
A Change of Lifestyle
The impact of the Major Disruption of 2020 may live in public memory not for months but for years. That will help if governments and businesses finally recognise that we must change our lifestyle. Far too much legislation fits in with economic growth, the bedrock of capitalism.
Warmer weather usually reduces influenza. Scientists hope that hotter days will reduce the potency of the coronavirus. The government, scientific and medical experts, as well as the general public, hope that there will be a significant reduction in the number of infected people with the arrival of the heat of summer. There is no guarantee of this. It is summer in Australia and the country suffers under the same epidemic.
We stop importing nearly all food and grow our own food. We find ways to be a truly independent as much as possible. The government brings and end to taking food from poor countries at rock bottom prices to make substantial profits here.
Everybody works to make money – the low paid farm workers, the farmers, the truck factories, trains, ships and planes businesses. The food from overseas arrives at our ports then moves onto wholesalers, supermarkets and struggling small shopkeepers.
The food chain from the time of sewing the seeds to a purchase in the shop increases the price of what we eat. The sequence damages the environment at every step of the journey. We remember the manufacture of transportation, refrigeration, plastic and goods in the supply chain.
We need an army of people in the country willing to work together on the land. We end the production of weapons of destruction to sell to poor countries and replace with tools of construction, so people elsewhere experience empathy, skill and wise action from the rich West.
Readers may understandably balk at my following proposals. I believe we need to bring in legislation to bring about a radical fundamental change in diet. The junk food industry needs to be thrown into the dustbin of history.
I would implore the government to issue a warning to supermarkets. Change whats on your shelves to healthy food or you will be closed down. The government issues a similar warning to junk food chains like McDonalds. Change your menu or you will be closed down. Food with little or no nutritional value would be either available on ration or not at all.
The junk food industry would have to build hospitals, not the State. Doctors would send their patients to these hospitals if they determined that diet, cigarettes and alcohol were the primary cause of ill health.
The government issues a warning to factory farms. Change your farms from factory farms to plant-based farms. Keep few cattle for dairy products and feed cows plenty of grass. Or you will be closed down. Such legislation will support a healthy society and reduce dramatically methane gases from farm animals that impact on the climate.
Meat and dairy (eggs, cheese, butter, fat, yogurt etc) contributes to high blood pressure, a vulnerability to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A change in diet means a closing down of the brutal animal and bird industries so that a vegetarian/vegan diet becomes the norm. A radical change in diet includes an ending to chemical and preservatives. A healthy diet includes massive reduction in sugar, salt and fat. There would be a ban on growing tobacco or only as a small crop. Such changes would open land use to grow crops, vegetables and fruit.
The purchase of tobacco and cigarettes would require a government coupon to purchase along with alcohol in a designated high street shop. Such items would not be available in supermarkets. Health takes priority over addiction.
Meetings would be held in local communities to share addictions to unhealthy food, drugs, alcohol and tobacco
Such a fundamental change in diet would immediately take the pressure off other hospitals and all health services. A poor diet gradually poisons the health of people. The savings to the nation in costs would benefit the whole country.
Food industry would obviously resist such draconian changes due to facing a massive cut back in profit.
Governments could close the supermarkets and fill our high streets with small groceries. Laws would stop online food shopping except for deliveries from local groceries. Natural health would return to the nation for children and adults.
Practical Steps to Deal with Covid-19
There are numerous practical issues for consideration. These issues may change in the weeks and months ahead. In alphabetical order:
- Admit to hospital as quickly as possible those infected.
- Application of anti-viral drugs, such as used for Ebola, could be possible.
- Blood banks to test who has the antibodies after end of virus attack.
- Children and parents to receive after being tested a virus free certificate before seeing grandparents.
- Children go to school and sit two metres apart. Perhaps then children might attend school twice a week.
- Common areas in school closed. Teachers ensure no congregating of children.
- Ensure the young remain protected from social gathering including children and teenagers.
- Health care staff can only test for antibodies. Test which say you do not have antibodies can mean both: you haven’t had the virus so far, or you have it but no antibodies yet, as they may only after 10 days.
- Hospital beds will need to be doubled or trebled in the coming months
- Make as early as possible tests on the elderly.
- Make home deliveries for the elderly through local volunteers.
- Manufacture as quickly as possible rapid tests of the virus
- Massive production of equipment will be needed to protect hospital staff and patients.
- Parents ensure no congregation of adults or children outside school gates.
- Set no limits on the money to find a vaccine.
- Those infected could be immune for the length of the pandemic. A future infection could be experienced simply as a common.
If the virus reached huge numbers of people, with numerous deaths and overwhelming the health service, then the government may authorise bypassing full research, including experiments on animals, and go straight to volunteers for widespread testing. Newspaper reports say companies will pay £3500.00 to volunteers to receive an injection of the virus as part of the work to develop a vaccine.
Medical scientists predict that the emergency period for the entire society could last a year or until the correct medicine or vaccine becomes available. That could take longer than a year.
One reason why middle aged and younger people die from the virus may be due to inhaling substantial drops of the virus in one go and this overwhelms the lungs with the virus replicating itself very quickly.
Renewal and Climate Change
We have experienced decades of resistance to addressing the expanding climate emergency. One government after another has used the tepid excuse not to address wholeheartedly the climate crisis because other nations, big and small, continue to encourage economic growth.
The Coronavirus has made one thing very, very clear. There is a significant improvement in our climate in the space of a few weeks.
- There is a significant reduction in our pollution in our cities and industrial estates.
- Murky rivers, once polluted with boats, have become much clearer. Fish can be seen swimming around in the water.
- Reduction of industrial activity, factory production and transportation by air, land and water reduces pollution and greenhouse emissions. Carbon dioxide levels have dropped.
- Restrictions contributed to a 25 percent drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions in the space of only four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year.
- Industrial operations reduced by 15 percent to 40 percent in some sectors.
- Coal consumption at power plants fell by 36 percent.
- The cloud of nitrogen dioxide over China in January evaporated in February. Nitrogen dioxide irritates the lungs and inhaling pollutants increases the risk of asthma for children and inflammation of the lungs.
- NASA scientists said that similar emissions reductions have been observed in other countries.
- The average concentration of fine particles of matter that we breathe into our lungs dropped by 40% in some cities.
- The visible cloud of toxic gas hanging over industrial powerhouses almost disappeared.
Do we want to go back to the destructive and harmful ways before the coronavirus?
Do we want to reduce emissions and pollution through development of a new kind of economy based the welfare of people, animals and our respective habitats?
A fall in oil and steel production, and a 70% reduction in domestic flights, contributed to the fall in emissions.
China’s coal-fired power stations saw a 36% drop in consumption in February.
Dramatic cutback in air travel has reduced carbon emissions. Major international conferences and fairs such as motor shows, of software, fossil fuel, and oil companies have been cancelled. Concerts, international sports events, and the meeting of 189 nations at the International Monetary Fund and much more did not take place. This reduced air travel.
Numerous factories which exploit land, water and air, as well as exploiting diminishing resources, have closed for the duration of the virus and perhaps for good.
Will these powerful corporations, as well as holiday and business visits by air, return to the old ways?
We experience the discipline of Stay-at-Home, modesty of lifestyle and think about others as much as ourselves. We know we must apply this discipline to get through this virus. With the same strength of commitment, we can support steps towards a clean environment. We have the opportunity to show a deep regard for the health of people, renewal of land, water and air with an end to the climate emergency.
Remember our Privileges in the West
People with a home need to remember the privileges of such a place. Wealthy countries have an exceptional health service with much of the necessary equipment to save lives of patients and protect hospital staff from the virus.
Countless numbers around the world find themselves deprived of a proper home and little no access to treatment or hospital. For example, there are huge refugee camps. If the coronavirus enters these camps, it could generate widespread suffering and death. Millions upon millions live in desperate poverty in highly overcrowded circumstances. The immune system of refugees and the poor has weakened over years through food lacking nutrition, harmful water and lack of medical supplies. The Indian government prefers to spend megamoney on irrespondsible projects, like sending rockets to the other side of the money, instead of support for the poor living on the far side of desperate poverty.
In many poor countries, the underprivileged have little access to water. Water may be available on certain times in a day. Only the privileged can wash their hands a few times a day due water in the taps 24/7. Governments in poor countries issue Stay-at-Home orders to the entire population but have no money to support the poor, who face starvation through having no income and no government support.
Countless numbers of the poor have lost their meagre jobs in the cities in poor countries. Despite government orders to stay indoors, they walk hundreds of kilometrs with their meagre belongings and children back to their villages. Such poor count among the new waves of refugees from the virus.
Over populated cities, shanti towns, marginalised communities, massive slums and poverty stricken rural village and towns remain vulnerable to devastation through the coronavirus.
Governments in Africa and parts of Asia live in perpetual debt to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The West needs to cancel the debts of all the poor countries, offer aid to slow down the virus and give aid freely for a whole range of health services. If the epicentre of the pandemic switches to Africa and Asia, and locations of poverty, including India with 1.3 billion people, our species faces a catastrophe unheard of in our history.
People have said for years that it will take a great shock to change our behaviour and our rabid consumption of diminishing resources. The shock has landed worldwide. Infected people and number of deaths increase every day. It is shocking to experience and know what has befallen this Earth.
We have no choice. We must wake up to a new sense of our humanity.
For Your Interest
A Free Online Course with 38 short videos in times of Stay-at-Home . Christopher and Ulla Koenig
Our Mindfulness Course offers a wide range of mindfulness practices and reflections to support you in the challenging days, weeks and months ahead. There are two ways to join the Course (click on the link):
- Our MTC Online Platform (https://mtc.thinkific.com/)
- Youtube – Dharma Channel Christopher Titmuss (link to Youtube) or cllick