We Are Your Voice - March 27, 2020

Humans are not the virus. We are not a sickness or a disease, and y’all should stop singing this tired refrain as we are all reeling from the global Coronavirus pandemic. With several false reports of animals flourishing as cities slow down due to quarantine recently going viral (how ironic), a concerning amount of people have responded with the sentiment that the presence of humans living and taking up space on our planet is its own type of sickness. People are even circulating an article from 2018 about the ozone layer finally beginning to heal, undoubtedly without reading the date or anything beyond the title, and somehow connecting it to the sudden diminished presence and activity of humans as most of us uphold our social responsibility to stay home during this time.

Some have also named COVID-19 as Mother Nature’s vengeance, “Earth’s vaccine” for the human virus, or the universe’s way of making the world a better place. Self-righteously deeming it some sort of divine intervention, they imply that the massive loss of life and our collective grief over those lost lives are somehow worth it for the sake of the planet, or even necessary. This pandemic has helped to facilitate the development and worsening of trauma and grief in entire communities, and rhetoric that frames this as a blessing for those who deserve to live here and a penalty for those seen as unworthy is not only deeply insensitive, but dangerous. 

It also fails to take into account the fact that those who have profited from industrialism and hazardous environmental practices will never stop seeking out ways to maintain their capital. In fact, due to the current virus, the Trump administration has weakened public health and environmental enforcement, waiving several mandates put in place for our protection to instead benefit the oil and gas industries (and this comes after Trump has already worked to roll back rules against power plant pollution and remove federal water protections). 

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