"Tell me the one about the virus again, and then I'll go to bed." So begins "The Great Realization," a popular video poem from Tomos Roberts chronicling how in the years after enduring a deadly pandemic, the world emerged a better place. Ironically, despite the suffering caused by the virus, it somehow brings life back into sharper relief.
2020 was supposed to be the "super year for nature;" yet even as the United Nations passed its resolution declaring so, COVID-19 was spreading undetected around the globe. Human encroachment on wildlife habitats as well as tropical deforestation have since been linked to emerging zoonotic diseases like COVID-19. Nature had a very strong voice at the table when disaster struck, and we learned the hard way that public health depends on planetary health.
If there is a silver lining, it is that COVID-19 has shown us in fast forward what will likely happen more gradually but with far worse consequences if we fail to act on climate change. Five years after the Paris Agreement, we're falling woefully short on progress. We know the risk of climate change. We know how to mitigate it. And we have not acted decisively. Yet."