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Dima Litvinov is a campaigner at Greenpeace and is reflecting on how we as a society will recover after this pandemic

A tiny being establishes a foothold in a body. It starts replicating itself, taking over more and more of the body’s natural elements. It starts spreading further and further afield. The normal functions of the body begin to break down. The body’s  temperature begins to rise. The body’s mechanisms are becoming less hospitable to the tiny invaders.

No, of course I am not describing a virus invading our bodies. I am naturally talking about the history of human interaction with our planet.

But the tiny beings meanwhile evolve and adapt attempting to control more and more of the body’s mechanisms, while continuing to multiply. Unless the invaders are made benign or removed, all life will drain out of the violated body eventually. No, of course I am not describing a virus invading our bodies. I am naturally talking about the history of human interaction with our planet.

The pandemic has caused us to push the pause button. We are frozen in what the anthropologists call a “liminal” point — a transitional space between states. It is an occasion of both tremendous risk and tremendous opportunity. We have now time to look around, to delve deeper into understanding what effect humans have had on the health of the planet. The proximity to danger, combined with forced inactivity and break of routines gives us the gift of perspective and introspection. The time and impetus to consider and reconsider what is valuable. To apply critical thinking to previous assumptions.

When the pandemic is over, when we leave the confinement of our homes and blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight…

I am optimistic. When the pandemic is over, when we leave the confinement of our homes and blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight,  breathe in the air scrubbed clean from the usual car exhaust and factory smog we will look at the beauty of the Earth with re-born eyes. We will walk through the unmowed lawns with a slower step. And I believe we will stop, rethink, reprioritize and re-act. 

And the body will re-cover.