Primeval Flame

December 10, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scarfield

There has been a lot of talk about how Covid-19 might change human behaviour. To my mind, one great concern is the effect all the much needed distancing and masks will have on our children. I watch them in the supermarkets, little tots, two and three years old, walking along side their parents or seated in the trolleys wearing masks, keeping a solid distance from strangers and I worry for them. What we live with early on becomes our normal and the masks have been around long enough to have become a definition of “normal.” 

When I made a recent visit to the family farm where I buy my eggs, their little boy watched me walk in his direction to get to the building, which is their shop, and he flinched to move well away from me, even though I was not near him. His was a movement of fear in spite of having seen me there many times. So, our children are at risk of becoming fearful, worried at having anyone not their parents, their bubble, near them. In family circles, are children being held back from grandparents, from hugging them, touching them? 

When the dawn of healing finally breaks over the horizon, when – as must some day be the case – it will be alright for them to embrace those elders, will they hesitate, maybe even refuse from the fear being installed in them now? 

How can these fears be lessened? 

The handling of Coronavirus has been a litany of errors and part of this is the way we have handled this with reference to our children. Since September, we have been hearing from teachers about the chaos and confusion the Ford government has inflicted on the education systems. Neither teachers nor students have had much idea what the morrow will bring by way of what teacher is handling what class; whether schools can be open or not; what sort of protocol is best, is daily. 

In the middle of all this uncertainty are the children, as if dealing with this strange and frightening time has not been hard enough. 

The media, in my opinion, have also done a poor job of handling Covid-19, speaking of fear. From late March on, they have hammered it at the public mercilessly, every program, newscast, talk show – on and on, as if there were absolutely no other news. In the long run, there has been more harm than good, for fear was replaced by boredom and even disbelief. Rebellion against the never-ending clamour. 

People suffering from depression and domestic violence has escalated; drinking alcohol went up and, yes, I do blame the media for much of this because they lost their balance in reporting, programming and news coverage. Politicians helped themselves to the shadow they were offered and made bad decisions about other policies. 

This includes Doug Ford’s undercover dealing with developers to reduce the care of the Green Belt and major conservation areas must have. Most recently, he has been stripping Conservation Authorities of their power, to open the way for development where none should be allowed. Only now, is the media making a show of this scandal and it may be too late to stop the pending environmental disasters. 

Especially radio and television have failed and continue to do so with their content, even in the face of failure. It is, frankly outrageous that Canada has more than 439,000 cases of Covid-19, in a country that is geographically as wide as this and a population of only 37,887,000. This is because of the imbalance of governments’ information across the country: not insisting on the three precautions of masks, distance and hand washing early enough – not until May here in Ontario, plus the recklessness of too many Canadians who have given into conspiracy theories denying the dangers of the pandemic. They march to protest wearing masks and staying home. Or they simply opt to go out and ignore them. 

Now will come the hope that a vaccine can be the magic wand that makes it all go away. Nearly there, honey, we’ll be able to party soon. 

These days of this pandemic will end. Chances are, terrifyingly, that it will not have changed anything, that we will maintain our wasteful and dirty ways. The world has seen a huge increase in garbage disposal without a huge hurry to contain and re-use it to create clean energy, for which several technologies exist. 

There is so much to do, yet we are still distracted by the resurgence of Covid-19 rather than the decline in numbers we hoped for. In too many parts of the country, caution has been abandoned. 

What will humans have learned from this? That our way of life doesn’t work? That we have to work hard to stop rampant development that ignores completely the needs of the environment? That we have to care how many birds and bees are dying off? 

We have to learn to apply balance and wisdom to how we live on this earth. 

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