I have to smile a little when typing these words because I have to look back on a very funny moment of the past few days. Like some of you have already seen on Instagram, it was not as easy as I thought about coming home from Cape Town. Two of my flights were canceled at short notice. Instead of flying straight home without the closest possible human contact, I was rebooked on three flights. The end of the song was that I was completely knocked out, drugged up to the eyeballs with painkillers for my back pain, and starving at the baggage carousel in the deserted Munich airport. Anyway. Well, not in my best shape at this luggage belt, wrapped in the warmest thing I had with me: my red hoodie with the saying: “Yeah, no! I don’t do winter!”
One of the 8 passengers flying with me from Paris to Munich actually came over and said: “Well, shit happens, right?” – ” Yeah, shit happens! ” And we both had to laugh out loud.
Go with the flow!
A world trip can be over so quickly after 2 months, which should have lasted a mere 2 years. My motto has always been: “Go with the flow!” But when the flow says: “Fly home!” and it is the only thing that feels right for my gut feeling, I just have to listen to it. Even if I just feel like a maximally free bird, which was caught in free flight under the South African sun, was packed in a cage and now sits locked in a living room in cold Germany.
But even that is an absolute luxury problem considering the current situation. In view of the flu season now starting in South Africa, increasing tuberculosis cases, hospitals already overloaded and an expiring visa, it was probably the right thing to fly back home. Even if it wasn’t easy for me. Nevertheless, I had the privilege of fleeing to a country with better medical care. I don’t even want to think about the extent to which the coronavirus will increase once it moves into the townships of Cape Town or the favelas of Rio and other slums and poor areas. It will spread like wildfire.
We should never forget that we are fighting over toilet paper here in Germany. There are people out there who can only dream of having no major worries other than toilet paper. We still have a privileged life. We have potable (!) water, 24/7 electricity, and enough food. In addition to the coronavirus, people in other countries suffer from bombs falling from the sky every day. Still, every 10 seconds a child dies of hunger. Probably, it’s time to show some humility.
Where does the name Coronavirus or COVID-19 come from?
I have to admit that I have a really hard time assessing the coronavirus. That’s probably how most of you are feeling out there. The coronavirus or more correctly “SARS-CoV-2” gets its name from the fact that it looks under the microscope as if it has small crowns on its cell membrane. COVID-19 comes from “Corona Virus Disease”. The addition “-19” stands for the outbreak year 2019. It is related to the SARS virus from 2002/03, which is why it is also called SARS-CoV-2. SARS stands for “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”. It was first discovered at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China.
According to the current state of knowledge, the coronavirus originates from the animal kingdom (zoonosis) and probably comes from bats that are traded and eaten on the market in Wuhan. Similar to Lyme disease, BSE / mad cow disease, swine influenza, bird flu, ebola, yellow fever or rabies, it is an infectious disease that passes from animals to humans. Perhaps this is a small incentive to think about our years of systematic animal exploitation.
On the one hand, I know that I am not part of the risk group but still follow the lockdown restrictions out of respect for the people at risk. On the other hand, I don’t understand why a virus that has killed 281 people in Germany according to John Hopkins University till today – March 27th, 2020, can cause such a great panic. Especially considering that according to the Robert Koch Institute, 25,000 flu deaths were recorded in Germany alone in the 2017/18 flu season. That is almost 90 times more dead people. I am confused, especially when it comes to the countless deaths in Italy, what to think of it and whether the worst is yet to come. One thing is certain: Better safe than sorry!
A wake-up call for all of us
But one thing is obvious: Suddenly it is no longer so important who has had the latest limited Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton handbag. Which celebrities have dated whom, how much they have gained weight, on which beaches they have been spotted with whom or how much cellulite they have on their thighs. All the gossip has finally stopped a little. Fortunately, that has never been important to me personally. Completely wasted time! Suddenly it is more important to deal with health. Whether we have exploited our bodies for work for years and lived to work. Or whether we worked to live. Many of us forget that our body is the only house we have to live in all our lives. Maybe we shall start to take care of it, of our body and mind.
Perhaps that is what we should be aware of. Many things are not as important as we thought. It is not important to have 10 different white T-shirts that cost overall as much as the total annual income of an average Bangladeshi factory worker. Are we really so stupid that we first need a perceived biological war to realize that it cannot work without maximum exploitation to have a T-shirt made at the other end of the world, to ship it over and sell for less than € 10 here? Especially when in Germany the material alone costs almost € 10? Not to mention the labor costs. Not to mention the question of why we need 10 white T-shirts?
Can’t we just be thankful for what we have? Do we really need more and more? Companies that only have greed for profit and sell their grandmothers. Consumers who simply look away due to ignorance or close their eyes. Each of us with a little bit of common sense knows that this calculation cannot work. And it doesn’t.
So much time – time to think
Do we really need this standard of living? Do we have to exploit other countries and people for all these luxury and status goods that only fake short-term happiness? Is it really worth it? Our planet has been groaning for a long time. Why did it need such a pandemic so that the home office and the easier to “calm down” finally return to our everyday life? Suddenly it works to hold conference calls over the phone. Nobody has to fly so urgently from Munich to Düsseldorf to speak three sentences and fly back.
Climate change, the plastic madness, the garbage islands in our oceans, immense luxury on the one hand, and starving children on the other – all consequences of our living standards. Consequences that mostly the poorest have to pay for, who can’t even do anything for it. How can it be that a professional soccer player sitting during a game on the bench earns more money than a whole family in Africa in their whole life? And it’s all our fault. To a greater or lesser extent.
But our cohesion is greater than before, many people have moved closer together again. Because either they suddenly have to spend more time together in the course of the #stayhome. Nurseries, kindergartens and schools were closed and many parents were again confronted with what it actually means to have children. To take care of them, to educate them. Perhaps here too the recognition for the socially really important professions, the educators, teachers, but above all for the nursing staff, is finally increasing again. Professions that have been pleading for help and support for years and that only needed a pandemic to finally be heard. In front of the coronavirus, we’re suddenly all the same. No matter whether we are big, small, white, black, woman or man. It affects everyone.
But beautiful things are still happening in the world
COVID-19 or coronavirus caused numerous deaths. Nonetheless, there is also positive news that the coronavirus has triggered or that are generally being reported. We only have to think of the photos of Italians playing music on their balconies which show a completely new cohesion in the crisis.
According to Anima Naturalis, 21 bullfights in Spain were canceled because of the coronavirus, saving 120 bull lives. Due to the sudden suspension of water traffic in Venice, the canals are so clean that much rare fish, swans and even dolphins have been spotted in the Sardinian harbor basin. The residents of many industrial cities in Asia are seeing really blue skies for the first time in their lives because less smog is being produced due to the decline in production. Besides, the decrease in air pollution has likely saved the lives of more than 4,000 children under 5 and more than 73,000 people over 70. In the course of the spread of the virus, China is currently enacting a law against the consumption and trade of wild animals – finally!
Thanks to coronavirus nature gets some time to recover
But there is also a lot of great news that is not directly related to the virus. New Zealand, for example, is currently enacting a law that all greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to zero by 2050. Also, the country plans to plant a billion trees in the next 10 years and switch entirely to renewable energies by 2035. Kenya has built a huge solar field that can convert seawater into drinking water. This could supply 25,000 people a day! That could be a solution to the global water problem.
A Canadian company uses locally collected plastics to make lumber, which can be used in a similar way to normal wood. In addition to lumber, tables, crash barriers, park benches and even asphalt mixtures are also manufactured. An important step in the upcycling of plastic waste, since it does not simply disappear.
Sharing is caring!
A single man in Florida has saved over 800 lives since 1976 by donating blood and blood plasma for more than 43 years! Actually, he just wanted to reach his personal goal of about 40 liters. So far he has donated more than 400 liters of blood!
Diego did something similar for his species. Diego is a 100-year-old giant tortoise in the Galápagos Islands. He was selected in 1962 to prevent the extinction of giant tortoises in a breeding program. At that time there were only 14 turtles left, besides Diego only one male colleague and 12 females. Researchers assume that Diego has been responsible for 800 baby turtles since he has a particularly mentionable sex drive. 🙂 Meanwhile, there are 1800 giant tortoises. Diego is probably responsible for 40 % of the population!
A Brazilian couple has also shown quite a bit of charity for the planet. With the help of many friends, they have planted more than 2.7 million trees in the past 20 years. They have reforested a complete forest with an area of more than 6 square kilometers, which had disappeared from the earth in the course of a clearing. This corresponds approximately to the area of 851 soccer fields! They have not only restored the flora but also the fauna with all their wild animals came back into the forest!
Just recently, 12,500 people participated in the largest beach cleanup on Bali, collecting more than 20,000 kg (20 tons) of rubbish.
Every change is also an opportunity for positive things
Waiving doesn’t always have to be bad. Quite the contrary! By foregoing things that were supposedly important in the past, we create new possibilities. Space for a lot of new things, which we also choose more carefully than we would have done before. And so a lot of positive things can arise for which we would not have had the time or resources beforehand. Nor would we have taken the time because everything that was actually unimportant was supposedly more important in those days.
As it is so often the case, we only realize what is really important to us when we are no longer allowed to do it or can no longer do it so easily. Let us see this whole mess in the world, in our heads and with our feelings as an opportunity to do everything “better”. There are so many things we can do: take care of our loved ones, jump over our own shadow more often, listen to our gut feeling more often, live more sustainably, avoid plastic, eat more vegan, go for an organ donation card, donate blood, register as a bone marrow donor…
If you have to eat meat, then at least from the regional organic butcher. When you buy something, first think about whether you really need it. Is there also a sustainable variant? Maybe also produced regionally? Can you support a small business with your purchase? Each bill is also a ballot for what kind of world you want to live in. Do not forget that!
It is an opportunity to rethink our value system, to question our beliefs, and to reduce our overconsumption.Rosa Lazić
Pleasant anticipation is the greatest joy
I’m excited to see how big the baby boom will be in nine months and how high the divorce rate will be. But I think we will all learn a little more about ourselves. To know a little more about what makes us happy, because we cannot avoid dealing with it. Which people are important to us and who also is interested in how we are doing. And I hope that we will all be a little more relaxed and thankful. Grateful for all the luxury that we have that we are actually no longer aware of because we take it for granted. Be it to be healthy or to have access to medical care. And awareness of how well we’re doing.
Write down what is missing most right now and what you are looking forward to when life has returned to normal. I look forward to the post coronam period, the time after. When I can finally see my loved ones again, I can hug without reservation. Not to mention traveling.
Did something really change in the long term? Did we learn our lesson? I hope so, but we’ll only see that when the time comes.
And because I’m known to my friends for my black humor, a little digression. In such times, in my opinion, one must not lose one’s sense of humor. 🙂
Those who I feel very sorry for during the coronavirus are all the men who said to their women: “I’ll do it when I have time!”
All package suppliers now have no excuse for us not being at home.
And of course all pickpockets and burglars – better times are coming for you too! 😉
A step back is not always a step back. Sometimes it is also a step towards taking a run.Rosa Lazić
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Sources for this blog post
Influenza in Germany season 2018/19:
Du, Z. et al. 2020: Serial Interval of COVID-19 among Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases, in: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 26, 2020, No. 6.