Health and wellness

Just Breathe.

Just Breathe.

The strangest part. The strangest part of all this is that Spring is continuing to bloom. It refuses to be sad. Refuses to be scared. Refuses to hoard or panic or to be careless on beaches or get stressed over toilet paper. It defies the death grip by saying, “No. No, no. This is my time to give LIFE."

It’s not strange, though. Not really. In fact, this is one of the few positive things that we will witness during this horrific crisis. While humans are now being faced with a global pandemic from a virus that is devilish and opportunistic, cleverly seeking out the frailest of our species to lay claim, the Earth finally — FINALLY — gets to flourish. With fewer humans on the roads, pollution around the globe has decreased. Animals are roaming streets where cars and buses once dominated. Bees and birds and squirrels are able to travel and reproduce with less fear, and trees and bushes are bursting with a bit more than their usual spectrum of gorgeous colors and blooms of Springtime.

It makes sense, really. The planet is finally getting a chance to breathe. And those of us who are fortunate enough to be staying at home, with loved ones, waiting this thing out, might be able to learn to do the same.

Many, many people around the United States (and the world) do NOT have the privilege to stay home and breathe. So many must venture out and work among this villainous virus — to help save others on sick beds perishing from the disease, to stock grocery shelves so the rest of us can eat, to try and keep a job to put food on their own table, to deliver packages so people can get medicine and essential items. They are exposing themselves daily to this fiend. And they are fearing bringing it home to their families. There will be casualties. So many casualties. In a war that we didn’t think we would ever need to prepare for.

But this planet is smart. With humans closing their ears and eyes to decades of research by the most brilliant scientists in the world, who have warned us that our greed and entitlement would not be tolerated by this place much longer, the planet took matters into her own hands. Mother Nature will not stand idly by as she is destroyed and has her fragile eco-systems demolished. This is a war we brought upon ourselves. And we will pay the ultimate price now.

The planet itself will be fine. It has existed for billions of years before us and will exist millions of years after we’re gone.

Humans, on the other hand, have a LOT to learn if we want to continue to survive here. Coincidentally, as this crisis is occurring, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. So, is it finally time? Are we going to finally learn to protect this planet? Are we going to stop burning down rainforests to clear space for livestock? Are we going to stop slaughtering animals by the billions each year in factories, where waste products pollute our water sources and gasoline used for machinery pollutes our air? Are we going to start learning to buy only what we really need, instead of continuously grabbing cheap, plastic, disposable items that were produced halfway around the globe and transported here by planes and trucks whose exhaust continues to warm the planet hotter and hotter? Are we going to learn to buy fewer cars per person, or per family, and only live with what we need? Can we look to cities like Amsterdam, that are closing their urban centers to cars and only allow bicycles and foot traffic?

Are we going to start caring about our health as well, by exercising more and eating less processed foods? Are we going to work to curb the insanely high rate of chronic diseases that already existed in the U.S. before this, like heart disease (the #1 cause of death in America) and diabetes and obesity? Will we finally learn that our high cholesterol problems are caused only by animal food products, and that by reducing our intake of meat and dairy, we may no longer have to take cholesterol pills?

It’s our choice really.

But if we look around and see how Nature continues to grow, to bloom, to flourish, then maybe, just maybe, we humans can learn to do the same. We can change our habits to benefit our own health. We can start to take care of the planet and all of its inhabitants. We can find time to put thought into the food we are eating. We can consider the pollution and waste we are producing, and we can start to care for our neighbors’ health and the water and air around all of us, too. And finally, we too might be able to breathe.

We won’t all be here to see it happen, unfortunately. Mother Nature has decided that already. But, fear not. The planet will survive.