we don't need to change how we do conservation, we need to change why we do it

Is There a New Realty Afoot?

There are still a few cars coming and going on my street. I don’t know where they’re coming from or where they’re going to; maybe they’re just neighbours with cabin fever who want to get away from the TV news, which is all about Covid-19 anyway. Maybe they just want to come down to the Parry Sound dock, a block from where I live, and look out at a farther horizon. At a bigger sky.

Does the sky seem to be bluer to you now that the highways have got quieter, and everybody’s consumer demands have had to adapt to a world economy that’s lost its focus? Or is this just my imagination? I’ve heard that dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice Italy. And coyotes are exploring the mostly vacant streets of Minneapolis. Is this how ready the Natural World is to return once we reduce our human footprint?

I’ve never felt quite like this. Have you? Do you find the new normal of self-isolation to be eerie? Or do you find it exhilarating? I step outside my door these days and look up at a sky that hints at a forgotten pre-industrial past, and I hear birds that don’t find this human retreat eerie at all. They seem to be just naturally doing what they are meant to do, as if we were never here. Is this our proper function too? To be invisible?

I’ve never felt this way. Ever. A stony part of me has always assumed people are sleepwalking blindly into a future where the Natural richness of the past has irreversibly passed. I find that, in the basement of my soul, I’ve always assumed that in the end we will be left with only guilty memories of our single-minded, bean-counting extractivism. But now? Do we find out that our dreams of mastering Nature have been brought up short by Nature’s smallest denizen: a virus? Our new/old reality is so much bigger than these self-serving dreams!

If you feel this way too, then the future our sleepy economists never dared to believe in is indeed afoot. Please check out my ABOUT page on this website and do everything you can to ensure this temporary retreat continues as our new reality.

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