EDIT: I recommend everyone watch these videos on preventing pandemics including COVID-19, considering how much our behavior is causing them:
- Pandemics: History & Prevention
- Can we stop a future pandemic? Dr. Michael Greger M.D explains what’s next.
My mom suggested a post from a woman, Jodi Ettenberg, who posts as Legalnomad, I’M IN THE VULNERABLE CLASS FOR COVID-19. A PLEA TO TAKE THIS VIRUS SERIOUSLY.
First, if it doesn’t go without saying, I recommend you follow the guidelines of the most knowledgeable people and organizations on the virus. I am not one of them so seek them out. I’m sure you already know that advice, but making sure anyway. I’m commenting on what I see could help humanity beyond this situation.
I’ll copy here advice from her post. You’ve seen the advice regarding the virus before. You’ve also heard it from me regarding the environment in general. For generations people have predicted pandemics like this one that overpopulation and travel exacerbate. More will come.
When you hear advice like it from me, I add something that doesn’t necessarily apply with the virus: when you act on your environmental values, you’ll be glad you did, no matter how much you think you can’t or that you won’t like it. Polluting activities separate us and disperse communities to the point of ripping them apart.
We’ve learned that social media separates us and tears communities apart, increases depression and suicide, etc. In general, polluting activities do too.
Advice from her post
- We Need to Consider Society As a Whole
- I’m writing this post as a plea to each person to put overall societal needs above individual desires until this virus peaks and subsides.
- Changing nothing in your life isn’t useful either. It’s actually outright dangerous right now.
- acting now, even if you’re healthy, is critical.
- (quoting someone else:) “So, while staying home, from an individual risk perspective, seems unnecessary and an overreaction, from a systemic risk perspective, it’s the only prudent thing to do. The more people who go out and about, the faster this thing spreads, and the faster this thing spreads, the more the hospitals get flooded, and the more the hospitals get flooded, the more people die unnecessarily.”
- We need to think through the exponential growth of this disease, and we don’t seem to be doing so on a systemic level. The way exponential growth works is that it seems tolerable until suddenly it’s an avalanche – and then it’s often too late. . . Let’s try to avoid the avalanche.
- So what can we do? Think collectively, not individually, to help flatten the curve of the epidemic.
- This virus is going to affect your life. And you get to decide if you want to contribute to flattening the curve, or spiking it.
- I realize not everyone has the privilege to work from home or to take all the measures I list below. But doing as much as possible is extremely important for EVERYONE, in order to help ease the impact of this pandemic.
- The earlier you take precautions, even if you’re not directly impacted yet by the virus, the better you can help lower the societal burden. Choose compassion for the societal burden over fear and distrust. I know it’s not easy, but as a collective we do depend on it.
- As the WHO director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on March 13th, all possible action should be taken. “Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone,” he said. “Do it all.”
- It’s selfish to complain about “changing your plans” or making adjustments to social activity when the downside of doing nothing is systemic overload and catastrophe medicine.
- It should go without saying, but do NOT fly on a plane if you’re awaiting COVID-19 results.
- We can see from Italy what happens when we don’t take a preemptive, wide-reaching approach. Let’s not squander the horrifying lesson they taught us.
- Stay home.
- Do what you can to protect the at-risk population.
- Change your schedule, your patterns, your habits to the maximum extent you can.
- Just because I’m vulnerable to this virus doesn’t mean I’m less worthy of staying well.
Advice on the environment in general
The advice above applies to the environment. By contrast, reducing pollution doesn’t require social distancing, not touching your face, or other things that make you lonely or miserable. On the contrary, reducing pollution brings people together.
Many people think not flying as the opposite of bringing people together. Or having one child or other activities. Experience will teach you otherwise.
Jodi herself has no doubt known how much her activities pollute while jet setting around, promoting others to jet set around. Now that something affects her directly, she asks others to do for society what she could have started doing years ago. Where was her advice when her behavior hurt others?
Well, as much as her condition makes her vulnerable to this virus, all of us are vulnerable to polluted air, land, and water, as well as rising sea levels and everything you read about on the front page.
To clarify, I’m not using her to criticize her personally. Nearly everyone who could fly has, as we have with most polluting behavior. I’m using her writing as an example because it’s clear and clarifies how we’ve violated it in other areas. We can learn.
What you do here, regarding the virus, you can do everywhere.
The bullets above save lives and society. If you can avoid flying you can avoid flying. The Paris recommendations don’t say you can never fly, just a lot less than most people who could afford it did. You don’t need to save your life or see the effect within a few weeks to act.
You can avoid flying forever.
You can act to help others and society forever.
You can do every thing, not just some, forever.
You can choose compassion forever.
If you’re acting responsibly on the virus, I recommend rereading the bullets above to commit to act on them forever, or at least until we bring the population down to sustainable levels—listen to my episodes and read my posts on population:
- 294: Population: How Much Is Too Much?
- 250: Why talk about birthrate and population so much?
- If we don’t lower our birth rate nature will raise our death rate.
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