Saturday, 06 June 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

The Planet Strikes Back - and this is probably only episode one

By  Apr 18, 2020

Every cloud has a silver lining. And however horrific the effects of coronavirus are, and they are awful, the positive side is that Mother Nature is healing herself. Without our negative impact on the world, without our pollution, our raping and exploiting of our planet it is basically taking a well-earned break from us.

The amazing thing for me is the speed at which nature fights back. The human race has spent centuries and centuries drilling into, choking and throwing huge quantities of shit into the air and sea, and in a little under two months, without us being able to strangle nature, the results are already visible. I am literally shocked on how quickly nature works.



“Himalayas visible from northern India in the first time in 30 years,” was just one of the headlines that caught my eye. Hundreds of factories had pumped so much pollution in the air for decades that the children who lived in this province hadn’t realised, because they hadn’t ever seen, that the tallest mountain in the world was within eyeshot. Watching photos of children crying whilst seeing the snow-capped mountains for the first time was, to say the least, emotional.

And then “CO2 emissions drastically fall due to coronavirus pandemic,” was the headline, but read this sentence from the article, “According to their calculations, more than one million flights are currently cancelled worldwide, which is responsible for the decline of 28 million tonnes of CO2 in the last month. This is equivalent to removing six million cars from the streets.”

If I am not mistaken COVID-19 actually came from nature. It is a zoonotic disease. Or passed from animals to humans. And there seems little evidence that humans can pass it back to animals. It is as if nature is saying “If you can’t see how bad you are f****** up this planet then we will have to take some drastic measures to stop you.”

And you couldn’t blame Mother Nature for going this far, I mean enough is enough. It’s a mutation of the third of Sir Issac Newton's laws of physics, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction?” And even the Pope agrees with me, as he recently said “"I don't know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature's responses.”

Fish are returning to the channels of Venice, the seas are cleaning themselves and wildlife is wandering free. And in Dubrovnik, at least in the less-populated parts, people are turning their back on tourism and starting to plant vegetables and flowers. Of course they probably have no choice as tourism as we know it won’t be the same for years and years. But that is a good thing.

We took this activity, that is supposed to be entertaining and fun, and turned it into an industry that pollutes just as much as making tyres. Whilst we have been trying to find a solution for plastics, we still fly all over the world, still cruise the seas and still spread our pollution. The once untouched destinations of the world are now at our finger tips, one click of a mouse and we’ve booked a holiday in Machu Picchu. If it is Mother Nature teaching us a lesson then it is a hard lesson, with so many lives lost and so much hardship, but I couldn’t her for taking such a tough stance.

“People need to be cautious because anything built by man can be destroyed by Mother Nature,” once wrote Russel Honore, a green activist who used to be a general in the US army. Very true general, very true.         

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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