Updated: Oct 1, 2020
The recent COVID19 pandemic is a view of the future if humanity doesn’t come to the realization that it needs to fundamentally change its relationship with nature. Over the many eons, humanity has moved further and further away from the natural world. As a result, we see ourselves apart from nature and consequently, see no real purpose within the ecosystem. It seems that we have become simply consumers in an economic ecosystem that readily defies the existence of nature. This myopic view toward wealth creation has caused much of the world’s natural habitat to be lost, leaving many of earth’s non-human inhabitants on the brink of extinction.
With the loss of habitat, species are drawn into close contact with each other, resulting in the unnatural sharing of bacteria and virus that have unknown consequences to all complex life on the planet. Today, we are suffering from the first modern wave of the unintended consequences of a world out of balance, as the COVID19 virus sweeps the planet. There has been much debate about the true lethality of the virus, but while we debate, another virus is forming and looking for a plentiful host.
Our immense population has become a prime target for every opportunistic virus waiting in the wings to emerge. In fact, nearly every problem we face today can find its roots in overpopulation. The drive to create consumers has led whole economies to seek greater numbers for fear of falling behind in productivity and the loss of wealth.
But consider that we have a much more important purpose than to be, simply, consumers. As the saying goes, every creature has a purpose; and ours is not to continue to propagate simply to consume. No, we have a purpose; a higher calling than what capitalism and consumerism has created. We are the apex predator, and, as such, we can destroy, consume and incarcerate every animal on the planet. We can strip areas of natural resources clean and turn the skies black with pollution. We can even be more deliberate and destroy the world with the flash of an atom. But again, this cannot be our purpose. Many have looked toward the heavens for purpose; I cannot say how the universe may be served by humanity, but I do know that we have a role here and now.
We are custodians of the natural world. Through our intellect, we have been able to move beyond foraging and hunting in order to survive. This has given us great capacity to think, discover, and invent. Humans are creators, and while we have orchestrated the world around us, we have created noise and chaos rather than a symphony of harmony within nature. If we will accept our role as creators and custodians of this magnificent world, we will see that reducing our consumption, slowing our population growth and finding new ways to power our world will not be a sacrifice to be endured, but the natural progression of our true purpose in nature and a noble deed unequaled by any other.