Our cars are sitting in our driveways as many of us work from home, huge airlines are mothballing their fleets, and businesses around the world have closed their doors due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It is a semi-apocalyptic scenario that no one could have foreseen just two months ago.
The spiraling death toll is hard to fathom, and the grief for those in mourning doesn’t bear thinking about.
After the worst is over, our public health systems will certainly change forever, but could the fallout also result in us changing our consumption-heavy lifestyles in ways that could prevent a future outbreak, or in ways that improve the air we breathe?
The UN’s environment chief hopes so, saying in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that “nature is sending us a message.”
The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen said the way we are exploiting the planet’s resources is making it easier for “pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people.”
“There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give,” she said.
“We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not.
Scientists believe that an animal market in Wuhan, China was the source of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
China has since temporarily banned the trade and consumption of live animals.
Some experts believe that climate change and the destruction of wildlife habitats can change the way viruses spread between species.
If Covid-19 serves as a reminder from Mother Nature of how poorly we are treating her, then paradoxically, it is also giving us a glimpse into how healthy she used to be.