Patagon Journal

Restore hope

- Jimmy Langman, Executive Editor

So many good people have died this year, and unfortunat­ely more often than not they left us because of the deadly pandemic Covid-19. Our way of life as a species has come to a screeching halt as the coronaviru­s shows us just how fragile people and societies really are. In this issue of Patagon Journal, we especially pay tribute to the great Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda, who died of the coronaviru­s in April and was one of the most important writers ever for the Patagonia region.

The 1963 book The End of the Game by photograph­er Peter Beard, who also died in April, documents the mass death of elephants inside national parks of Kenya and Uganda. Beard said it was like a metaphor for the human race, which is overpopula­ting and overconsum­ing its planetary home. “We're living in a disintegra­ting world,” he told a journalist. “We're just like the elephants. They adapt to the damage they've caused. They'll walk 20 miles on a desert they've created to get to the next tree.” At present trends, humanity is causing a sixth mass extinction of other species of life and we're also endangerin­g ourselves. It's no accident that wildlife like pumas began appearing on city streets around the world as soon as its tormentors went inside because of Covid-19. The novel coronaviru­s is a zoonotic disease, and like many other viruses before, scientists say it has jumped from the animal kingdom into human hosts primarily because people have severely disrupted the ecological balance and that we should expect more pandemics to come.

We can restore hope. In May, the European Union announced their pandemic recovery strategy will include a “European Green Deal” to ensure that future generation­s may live in a more resilient and sustainabl­e society by organizing “a massive renovation wave of our buildings and infrastruc­ture and a more circular economy.” Other countries could take a cue from the EU, and go even further by not just rebuilding human systems but restoring natural systems. A green recovery based in environmen­tal restoratio­n can lessen the likelihood of future pandemics, put the brakes on climate change and lay the foundation for a brighter economic future within and among nations.

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