We, the Government
By HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER
Curious things have happened during our Covid-19 lockdown.
• A once highly-polluted river in Dehra is now flowing as crystal clear and blue as the glacier-melt streams we have seen in Switzerland.
• The Eternal Snows of the high Himalayas have been photographed, from Saharanpur for the first time in 30 years.
• On Thursday-Friday night, we experienced a sustained barrage of what was once referred to as “Rolling Thunder”: a rumbling barrage of celestial sound that seemed to circulate, slowly, around the heavens for about ten or fifteen minutes. It was generally considered to be an overture to the imminent arrival of the monsoons. But this occurred in early May!
The first two phenomena are, obviously, the result of a dramatic fall in pollution. But why? Household domestic activities have not decreased; in fact they have probably increased as the lockdown has forced people to be housebound. Clearly, then, our commercial activities have been responsible for the unsustainable levels of toxicity in our once pristine environment. Consequently, the first principle that must be enforced is “Polluter Pays”.
But when most, if not all, political parties depend on defaulters to fill their Dark Coffers, who’s going to bell the Corruption Cat?
Which brings us to the fascinating Gaia Theory: perhaps the payment is already being extracted! This fascinating hypothesis was developed way back in the 1970’s by chemist James Lovelock, who had been a scientist in NASA’s Mars mission, and microbiologist Lynn Margulis. According to a Harvard University publication, the theory proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on earth are integrated. In other words, “the earth and its natural cycles can be thought of like a living organism. When the natural cycle starts to go out of kilter, other cycles work to bring it back continually optimising conditions for life on earth.”
The use of the term Gaia, after the Greek Goddess of the Earth, has given it its mystical-magical allure. But there is nothing magical about a cause-and-effect event. When an imbalance in created in the heart of a Uranium atom, by shooting a neutron “bullet” into it, it rejects the instability because its natural state is to be stable. This rejection, in turn, destabilises neighbouring atoms which react in the same way, causing a chain reaction. And since matter is just an aspect, a roop, of energy, it transforms into energy. One unit of matter, multiplied by the square of the incredible speed of light, is the energy produced in every nuclear explosion. It’s a logical sequence of events: not a magical one.
Romanticists can, of course, describe this as an army of hostile Neutrons invading the Uranium Nations resulting in the War of the Nuclei!
Scientists Lovelock and Margulis do something even more mind-stretching. They imply that while most of our universe is running down from the complex to the simple, the Earth is reversing this. The earth is dedicated to Life. Here, Energy and Matter come together in increasing complexity. These start from things like the energy-producing mitochondria, now found in every cell and inherited from our mothers, and go on to our self-conscious brains.
From there to a self-regulating Earth is not a great leap forward. So, is Covid-19 a natural reaction to the accumulated dangers of human activities? It has dramatically curtailed the use of polluting, and climate-changing, fossil fuels. It has also reduced the production of petroleum-based plastics. The energy-guzzling gatherings of humans in schools, offices and social events are giving way to digitally-dispersed contacts.
Gaia has, apparently, responded to mankind’s selfish disregard of life. If you are a politician who believes in omens then can you explain Rolling Thunder in early May? Trump’s “America First”, Bolsonaro’s burning of the Amazon’s forests, and the chest-thumping, divisive, hang-ups of other leaders could have brought on the harsh globe-spanning, correcting, effects of Covid-19.
Gaia supporters believe that our united-earth planetary systems have forced us to think of Insaniyat. We must concentrate on food and health for all, shun the criminal waste of ego-massaging, monumental, diversions, like “America First”, the burning of the Amazon forests, and other short-sighted and planet-endangering activities by self-obsessed fascists.
Only then will we defeat the global virus.