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Coronavirus -- the Upside

Jeff Hall

Posted on February 27, 2020 17:54

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If lots of humans die in a massive worldwide epidemic, it might just be good for the planet -- especially wildlife.

This will sound like a joke or the ravings of a lunatic, but hear me out. 

I know someone in the world of wildlife conservation -- with a PhD and all that -- who has taught me a lot about how dire things have become for wildlife everywhere.

Chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, birds, bees, coral reefs, lemurs, fish -- all are dying out in huge numbers that only accelerate each year. 

Some are hunted for food; some are poached for tusks; many are surely affected by climate change, pesticides and plastic bottles that litter our oceans. 

Some say zoos and aquariums are the only safe places left for animals.

One factor that doesn't get enough attention is deforestation.  As humans cut down trees -- or as they trees burn in massive numbers as they did recently in Brazil and Australia -- animals have less and less room to live and food to eat.

When roads are cut through forests, that can make it difficult for animals to find each other and reproduce.  If many of the same species are trapped in a small patch of forest, that leads to inbreeding, which weakens a species over time.

Almost all these assaults on wildlife start with mankind.  We hunt the animals, we trade in ivory, we toss plastic bottles that choke fish and other sea animals, we burn down trees to create pastureland for cows so we can eat more burgers.

My very smart friend -- who probably should remain nameless for now -- has said a huge epidemic that wipes out a third to half the human population might be the best thing that could happen.

That would give nature a few centuries of breathing room.  Forests could grow back.  Species could repopulate.  Fish could swim around and not be fished to extinction. Our air could become clean.

I'm guessing surviving humans, once things settle down, might all find something to their liking. There would be far less traffic.  Teachers will no longer complain about crowded classrooms.

There won't be as many Democrats (or Republicans or Socialists or hippies or whatever group you don't like) to complain about.  Irksome in-laws and neighbors might vanish from the earth. 

While the advantages might be many, it's easy to see how everything might devolve into a "Mad Max" world.  It could take a while for the Dark Ages to lead to the next Enlightenment. 

Or maybe losing a huge swath of the population would lead survivors to IMMEDIATELY embrace the next Enlightenment.  Rather than waiting for the next calamity, we'd take advantage of the wake-up call and do a better job of taking care of our planet.

There have been huge epidemics before.  We are reportedly in the middle of "The Sixth Extinction."  So another huge epidemic at this time, leading to a huge reduction in the number of human beings on the planet, might just be normal, part of the natural cycle. 

Take comfort: If it's your turn to say "sayonara," your animal friends will thank you.

 

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on February 27, 2020 17:54

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Source: CNN
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President Donald Trump expressed optimism Thursday that the novel coronavirus would eventually be contained and eliminated...

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