I’ve been doing a lot of phonetography recently, and posting it on Instagram to get a tiny glimmer of interaction from all the people I am not allowed to see or touch in the age of Covid-19. I am often impressed by the capabilities of my several-year-old midrange Android. The above was taken in the horse park where I walk my shared custody dog three days a week. All the sticks are there to keep people to the path. Prior to the pandemic, dozens of people were there at any given time, walking willy-nilly through the delicate desert flora. Nowadays, I am surprised to see more than one or two brave souls. I do, however, see lots more coyotes, rabbits, birds, and insects. It seems the planet and its other inhabitants are taking a welcome break from the trampling horde, sucking large lungsfull of newly clean air, reclaiming lost habitat, and generally relishing our absence.
It will be interesting to see what the near and long term results of this pause in human destruction will be. Imagine, for example, the trillions of insects which will not be smashed onto grilles and windshields during these months. Then think of the millions of bats, birds, frogs and other creatures who will have that much more food and will thus thrive and breed. Think of the additional pollination which will occur, resulting in a plethora of all sorts of plants.
A few months of clean air and drastically reduced greenhouse emissions might not make a dent in climate change, but it might present a more immediate benefit to those who resist fighting a disaster which is years away. People in India can see the Himalayas! New Delhi has blue sky! So do all the major cities in the world. This is what we could have now, if we build the cars, trucks, and planes we already know how to build which pollute less. We can have this kind of clear, beautiful air forever, if we build the clean mass transit networks we already know how to build. We don’t have to give up any kind of economic benefit to do it, we just have to shift gears. There are trillions to be made by capitalists in transforming the world’s transportation and energy sectors, and millions upon millions of jobs to be had.
We all have a lot of time to think right now. I hope a few of us are doing just that.