Embers and Coronavirus

Sonya, I have been thinking about…

The Western US is in the grips of a catastrophic fire season that has artificially turned the thermostat down, as crowded embers in the skies have dimmed the Sun’s scorching light.

These Martian skies invite difficult questions with uneasy answers. Is this the new normal? Are we on the threshold of a world in constant turmoil with unpredictably hastened climate change? Will the changing climate amplify the cascading threat? Will human resolve be able to answer the call and save us? Then there is the virus.

For now, masks offer us the best protection from these fires, as well as the coronavirus. Particulate matter in the air is significantly amplified by the fires. At about 2.5 microns, this particulate matter is akin to invisible missiles that wreck our immunity at multiple levels. Heart attacks and strokes can be precipitated for those at risk, and lung maladies are exacerbated for people with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory conditions.

The expanding footprint of humanity is constantly encroaching upon shrinking animal habitats. These interactions facilitate the possibility of novel pathogens being transferred to humans and precipitate pandemics. Much like in case of climate change, human actions need to be cognizant of these predictable and avoidable catastrophes, and COVID-19 is exhibit one.

Coronavirus and other diseases like to hitch hike on vulnerability exacerbated by hostile environments. Weakened immunities are like RSVP invitations to viruses, but the particulate matter and the viruses both yield to masks. Our defenses are made porous by individuals who do not take the proper precautions on a personal level, but like a phalanx, our wellbeing is impervious when we act collectively to wear masks and keep ourselves safe during this siege on our immune systems.

Let’s walk the talk. We are stronger and better together.

What’s on your mind, my friend?

– Brij

PS: This Friday, Oct 2nd, marks the 151st anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, a saintly man who unleashed the power of nonviolent resistance to dislodge an oppressive regime. To defeat oppression through peace has timeless relevance…now more than ever.

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