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For those of you who follow my columns recently, I have been sharing thoughts about Climate change and COVID-19. I must admit it feels like this COVID stuff has been going on for a long time, but the Pandemic was only declared on Mar. 12.  (For the record, as I write this column that is only 65 days)  At the beginning of April I shared a poem titled “Lockdown” which included the following:

“All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality to how big we

really are, to how little control we really have, to what really matters.

To Love.”

For the beginning of May I wrote about Hope as we awake to a different world post-COVID. My hope was summed up as follows:  “I have HOPE that we can learn to care for ourselves, for one another, and for the world we live in, in a sustainable way that will be good for our children and our grandchildren and for those who will come after them.”

However, today I am thinking of WHAT IF?  What if as things begin to open up again, that this process does not go well. What if new cases of COVID start or continue to increase? (On May 20th, the WHO pointed out that 106,000 new case of COVID were recorded worldwide over the past 24. hours, the most in a single day so far). What if when the second wave hits us (and our esteemed Dr. Bonnie Henry says a second wave is inevitable), will we be ready when it occurs in the midst of when the normal influenza and other winter viruses are also upon us?  What if people refuse to go along with another probably more severe shutdown that may be forced upon us?

Now I am not trying to be fear mongering here. However, I do fear that as our world starts to “Reopen” we will tend to drift back into our old ways and not really make the changes that are necessary to live in the “New Normal” whatever that may be.

I heard a story once about a “white guy” who was listening to a Native American talk about the Creation story. He went up after and told him that was the most beautiful story he had ever heard.  The native look at him and asked him a question. He asked “Do you know why we have a rain dance?”  The white guy looked at him a little shocked and said “I don’t know, I guess to make it rain?”  The Native looked at him and said. “You white guys are all alike. All you want is what is good for yourself” He went on to say, “The reason we do the rain dance is to learn what the Creator is trying to tell us”.

Now I don’t believe that the Creator/God/Spirit/Mystery, or whatever you want to call the “divine” in this world, sends plagues or floods or evil things to destroy us. I do believe that whatever comes, we can learn what is most important from the experience. I believe that we need to learn a powerful lesson during this time to come through into a “New Normal” and not “just business as usual “which will most likely lead to changes to the earth which are irreversible and will lead to far greater destruction than that due to COVID-19. I do believe this lesson is that we need to care for ourselves and for one another as if we are all brothers and sisters. And most of all together we need to care for our planet and live in a way that will be sustainable for the sake of our children and our grandchildren and those who come after them.

I welcome any responses to these thoughts. Our community is a wonderful community and Together We Can Make A Difference.

Dr. Ron