Stories are always with us, and in us. They comfort us when we’re younger, they inspire us as we grow, and they become our legacy as we age. They also unite and connect us, which has been shown, again, to be true through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is said that “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, so, in a world draped in a pandemic that is slowly beginning to crumble due to the pressure it is under, what part have we all played? Will we soon make our exit? Or will we have a triumphant third act and be celebrated through an encore by the following generations?
Well, put the kettle on, get comfortable, and let us tell you a tale.
Once upon a time, there was a virus...
Chapter 1: Nature’s Shield
Our story begins with home, the natural world. We all, both humans and animals, rely on a healthy planet to survive and thrive. But, this comes at a cost. Our global population has put huge pressure on the planet and it is beginning to creak and moan under the weight.
Life needs fuel, which, at its current rate, is consuming the planet. Deforestation to make way for farmland removes huge carbon stores like trees, driving climate change and warming up the planet. It also brings humans much closer to wildlife, causing conflict, conservation issues, and exposes us to infectious diseases we wouldn’t normally be exposed to.
Human greed is slowly eroding the shield that nature has given us. Which brings us to…
Chapter 2: Feeding the Machine
Population growth and increased demand are a modern-day Romeo and Juliet - a relationship destined for tragedy. But, this time it will be on a global scale. The shouts of “More! More! More!” are drowning out the messages that are trying to warn us.
Although wildlife poaching and factory farms are often seen as an easy response to provide for a swelling population, these systems are breeding grounds for deadly viruses. And to top it off, up to 18% of greenhouse gases come from agriculture - warming our planet to worrying levels.
So, what does this bring?
Chapter 3: Unwelcome Souvenirs
Wildlife poaching evolves into huge live animal markets - selling both dead and alive animals from around the world. These markets serve as hosts to a truly cruel and villainous duo - unspeakable animal cruelty and deadly zoonotic diseases. Combined, these cast a shadow that has hung over the world for the past two years.
Unhygienic practices and stressful conditions for animals has allowed viruses to mutate and jump from animals to humans. These humans serve as nodes in a network that spreads worldwide. Everything starts somewhere, and the pandemic starts here.
Now, where will this path lead?
Chapter 4: A World in Tether
The modern world, although such a source of good, has unsheathed its claws to us in warning. Hijacked by the virus, international trade and travel have caused the pandemic to grow quickly and globally. Ensnaring the world in a tether and bringing it to a reluctant halt.
In just three months, COVID-19 was worldwide. Masks, social distancing, and strategic lockdowns were recruited to halt the spread, and now, mass testing and vaccination programmes lead the charge as the recommended solution to slowing the spread and protecting us from severe and long-term effects.
But, there is another in this fight…
Chapter 5: Our Gift
The power of the individual is something that should never be understated. We all have the inherent gift of being able to influence our surroundings, the people we are in contact with, and our little patch of the world that we exist in. Because this can inspire others to do the same, who inspire others to do the same, and so on, until your one patch becomes part of a patchwork that covers over the horizon and beyond.
How can we do this? Well, we can all #LiveKinder in just 5 simple steps:
- Pledge to going meat free for a day, or even more!
- Travel Kind and become animal-friendly traveller
- Wear it Kind and show more compassion in fashion
- Be a responsible pet owner and consider adoption
- Sign petitions, take action to make change happen!
We can all Live Kinder. Kinder in what we eat, kinder in what we do and kinder in how we treat animals and the planet.