By Stephanie Rowe
While the devastating effects of the world pandemic have been felt harshly worldwide, our so often battered and depleted planet, has revelled in a much-needed break. In fact, it seemed for the briefest of months or two, that perhaps the peace and reprieve from constant pollution and exploitation, could stay for a little while longer.
It seems we have all been connecting to nature throughout these troubling times. We have found solace and comfort in our local green spaces and begun to treasure them on a deeper level than ever before. Perhaps for some, a new-found, first time connection with nature has been found. This break from consumerism, albeit devastating in other ways, has allowed us all to reflect upon our place as natural beings on planet earth.
While nature has been regenerating behind our closed doors (literally), the conservation sector has taken a massive hit. The RSPB has reportedly furloughed 50% of its staff, a move that has been replicated widely across the conservation sector. A recent survey showed that 80% of conservationists have been affected negatively by Covid-19, a pinch that I have felt personally. Since April, there has been around a 50% drop in the number of jobs and internships available in the conservation sector. Regarding the international scene, in Africa, those working an already risky gig on the frontline fighting poaching, now have the additional fear of Covid-19 claiming their lives. Of course, the heavily relied upon wildlife safari industry, now at a standstill, has plummeted into an uncertain future. Many rangers report that they are worried about an increase in poaching, should their jobs face the wrath of the pandemic.
Perhaps a shift to more encompassing conservation methods need to be considered for conservation charities to stay afloat. There will no doubt, be an inevitable conversion towards urban wildlife schemes. Something that should have perhaps been incorporated into our relationship with nature, much sooner. The Butterfly Conservation charity mention the possibility of a future working in partnership with public health agencies, in a bid to become involved with the post Covid-19 recovery.
While many look to establish the cause of Covid-19, could a more constructive process be one where we seek to find synergy with the natural world and transform our broken relationship with nature. Do we face a world in which we value our local environments in our everyday lives?
We are all ultimately governed by biological and physical processes and depend upon this planet and its resources for survival. Surely it is therefore time, that this is reflected in our policies. Will we use our newfound appreciation of nature to stimulate a new way of life, one intertwined with nature?