Welcome to the discussion thread for the story, Why ‘Nature Is Healing’ Might Be the Best Pandemic Meme. You can share your comments and thoughts about the story in the conversation below.
There was a bat flying around in my house a little over a week ago, so maybe there’s something to this meme after all…
When the “Nature is healing” memes started coming out it was just more than a little bit laughable to me. People are seeing more wildlife in urban areas and the pace of human movement and activity in cities has in most cases slowed down but this is an urban phenomenon that has very little connection with what is going on in the wider world. The fact is that conservation efforts on the ground with both species and ecosystems have been severely disrupted and impeded by the pandemic.
Incidents of poaching for bushmeat and wildlife trafficking have gone up worldwide partly due to a lack of patrolling park guards in National parks, pandemic driven overfishing is occurring in marine ecosystems, worldwide illegal logging of protected areas is on the rise and of course the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is at a record high and shows no sign of halting (the current environmental minister for Brazil was actually rec0rded saying that the COVID-19 pandemic provides a perfect smokescreen to increase deforestation and land grabbing by agribusiness) .
To add to that, long-term field research on endangered species and ecosystems has been put on hold indefinitely due to lockdowns. Despite our best efforts in many cases we have no data for a significant part of this year which is all very concerning as it does have a direct knock on effect on the efficacy of conservation interventions.
To add to all this there is the looming global economic depression which will mean funding for conservation efforts will be even harder to come by then it already is. Governments will likely prioritise restarting economic growth at all costs over meeting environmental goals or improving upon existing legislation.
Ironically 2020 was supposed to be the UN’s “Year of biodiversity” but in spite of the circulation of these simplistic memes (I’m being charitable by describing it as “simplistic” as I would be inclined to use some stronger words) it has been in most cases an absolutely awful and devastating year for wildlife and conservation.