There are moments, these days, that I don’t understand where I can go to get the energy and motivation to stay open to world developments on so many different fronts. It’s dizzying. So much is going wrong or threatens to go wrong in the world, that I find myself growing despondent and longing to close my world down to that tiny bit I can understand and control.

To begin with a truly elusive adversary: the COVID-19 pandemic. To be honest, none of us can or should pretend we control the course this virus takes. But governments can and must take the right precautions to prevent massive outbreaks. And that’s where so many governments fail miserably. There are a few exceptions. But how am I supposed to believe that my government (or anyone else’s, for that matter) is capable of assessing risks and choosing measures to meet those risks? And, when they do, there are always idiots protesting the measures from a misplaced idea that personal freedom does not entail responsibility. Each of us has an individual responsibility to prevent the virus from spreading.

And yes, then there’s politics. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that authoritarian, anti-democratic politicians, regimes, and parties are destroying democracies and the rule of law all over the world, not just in the US. I’m seriously concerned about the US elections. Not even so much the possible outcome, but the fact that this regime will not accept any outcome that is not in their favour. This is what dictatorships have done for years. And authoritarian tendencies are growing stronger. The evidence is visible in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Israel, Spain, Italy (to name a few), and it keeps growing. The 19th and 20th century distinction between left and right is no longer relevant in the current international context. All any of us can do is to find ways to keep democracies alive and flourishing, even if it simply means exercising our right to vote.

Economic interests, gross consumerism, and wasteful societies are not only destroying nature, but threatening all life on earth through the overproduction of carbon dioxide and other gasses toxic to our protective atmosphere. Rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and raging wildfires  attest to the apocalypse emerging. To be honest, this is the biggest problem of all. And the aforementioned problems are preventing us from doing what needs to be done before it’s too late. Though it might already be too late. But I can personally cut down on my needless consumption and waste production. Step by step, day by day.

But, even if – and I’m afraid that is a big IF – we as homo sapiens are able to effectively stop global warming, my beloved nature and wilderness areas are being destroyed by ambitious photographers, the cupidity of selfie-takers, and sensationalist tourism in general. I’ve chosen to actively combat this last problem, as it seems to be the only thing that I can exert any direct influence over. And anything we can do to protect sensitive environments and prevent loss of wildlife habitat should be done. Often it’s simply a matter of explaining to people what the effect is of their activities. Once they’re aware of this, it’s up to them to take responsibility. What I can do is point it out.

It all seems like a drop on a sizzling hot plate. But it’s better than nothing.

#COVID19 #democracy #climatechange #naturefirst