A man who wrote a book called The Song of Trees talked on Conversations about how, biologically speaking, there is no such thing as an individual. I loved this idea. I feel like it relates to my ideas about Climate Change, Gaia and needing to save everybody on the planet for the humans to survive. But it also relates to COVID19 and how I perceive that the countries who don’t rate “individual rights” so highly tend to have better results with reducing the spread.
Communities: Gut Bacteria, skin cells, the digestive system, ants, a pond, a river, a wetland, cogs in a clock, your workplace, the local school, rock pools, my mouth.
An Epidemiologist on The Signal talked about prioritising the vulnerable in a pandemic. In this case, the vulnerable are the elderly so he said we must take particular care to isolate nursing homes to keep the elderly safe. But schools, on the other hand, don’t need such care because kids don’t seem to suffer severe symptoms from COVID19.
But the staff in the nursing homes are the parents of the children in the schools. And the residents in the nursing homes are the grandparents and great grandparents of the children in the schools. And we share public facilities and spaces. That is why quarantining needs to be thorough. You can’t quarantine a bit. It’s as pointless as cleaning one tooth. It’s like having one kind of gut bacteria. It’s like a wetland with no plants. I just don’t get it.
My children have a Steve Parish story about a turtle. His creek is all polluted and unhealthy. The reason he notices is because animals that are usually around start disappearing. The book has a beautiful little diagram of the community dependence of all these animals on each other.
Each community is a microcosm. I remember working at a University in which the Vice Chancellor had recently changed. The new guy wanted to make his mark. He wanted to change the branding, the heirarchy, the rules. At the same time, Kevin Rudd was taking the reins as Prime Minister. He talked about the time it takes to “turn a big ship around”. My little work-place microcosm was reflected in the bigger Australian community. The Australian community couldn’t exist as it does without lots of trade and interaction with other nations outside ourselves. We are all part of planet earth.
We eat cows, cows eat grass, grass needs soil, soil needs worms, worms need soil, soil grows grass, grass feeds cows, we eat cows, etc.
We are not all silos separated by age or occupation or sexual preference or culture or species. We are communities. We are we. The planet is a bunch of we groups. And “we group a” needs “we group b” who depends on “we group c”.
We need to take the “I” out of Humanity. Seriously. As cheesy as that is, it seems like it might just save humanty from self-destruction.