“What Can We Do?”
A few days ago I posted this:
“imagine if we cared this much about our planet being destroyed, about the tens of millions who are starving to death, about the thousands of bombs still being dropped daily and about all of the laws being sneaked through our governments now because no one is watching…all we are doing now with this virus is proving once and for all that we are all perfectly capable of changing the world and that we are just choosing not to 😦 “
In response to that, I have heard from many people, “What else can we do besides quarantine? Those other problems in the world you bring up are not things we can do anything about, especially here, and isolated. Staying in quarantine is what is within our power to do.”
I thought about this a lot, and although I have completely changed a lot in MY life, I have a great friend/brother in NY who keeps reminding me to not be a hypocrite. I am always pressuring him to change his community, but I live nowhere, so I have no roots to lay down. But, when I keep having people ask me, “Well, what else can we do?”, I realize now that my roots are everywhere. I am always calling for solidarity, but, now I realize with this thing going on that solidarity really CAN be achieved worldwide. I always believed ideally it could, but never had the hope that anything would really bring a large majority of the world together (and I am still extremely skeptical that humanity really will take action like this, continually, permanently from now on, for the things that really matter.). But, Brian, and everyone, here is to hope!
(If you need references or contacts for anything below, just write me a private message)
What can we do?
- STAY HEALTHY (and I am not talking about the virus). There are some basic principles to GENERAL health, stuff we should have been doing anyway, and continue to do when we are not panicked for our lives..
- Eat FRESH fruits and veggies. All the fruitarias and most markets are open and fully stocked. (Support local business…see below). Make COOKING your new hobby.
- Avoid as much packaged or processed foods while you are inside.
- Do not use this as an opportunity to catch up on all of your “sweets” baking. You are creating unhealthy (and even healthy) foods (carbs, fats) that you will not properly burn off in the way you normally do in your everyday lives.
- EXERCISE…A Lot! We do not realize how much we walk around and exercise in our everyday lives without even trying. Every time we pick something up, even something as small as keys or change, every store we walk to, the walking around the office or where you work…once you become very aware of this, you realize that exercise is a constant part of our everyday lives. So, if you are going to lock yourself inside the house, EXERCISE 2 to 3 times more than you would intentionally do in your everyday lives. Use Youtube!
- Breathe fresh air and get sunlight. Seriously…Your body needs this to properly keep your immune system strong so when/if you get the virus, it will be, at worst, exactly what WHO says…a mild cold. I take long walks everyday. The virus is not airborne, it can be caught if a person is having symptoms, and carries itself in droplets that land on surfaces. So, if you avoid contact with people (VERY easy to do now) and just keep your hands in your pockets and force yourself to not touch anything, you will be fine, and healthier. Carry wipes around with you if you need.
- Find your way of meditating, control your thoughts and STOP WORRYING! Seriously. There are a dozen reasons why you should not worry, or worse, panic because of this. However, the more you worry, the more stress you place on your body and as a result, your immune system. You need to feed your mind and body as positively as you can. And, I promise, if you do the proper research, you will understand that there really is nothing to be too concerned about. (At least no more than you should be in your everyday lives). When the final numbers come out, it will be predicted that the mortality rate will be less at 1%, far less than most everyday illnesses. It is just scary because of how it is spiking. But we are going to be ok. 😉
- EDUCATE…Just in the last day, I have gotten panicked messages from people saying they read and saw on the news and heard from others that “It is an airborne virus”, “this really is so bad that most humans will die by the end of this”, “there is a rapid rise in infant deaths”, “many healthy, 30 and 40 year old people have died in the last couple of days in Italy” and on and on. Stop Reading Headlines and break the social media addiction. Just this morning I saw a headline “Coronavirus Likely To Be Airborne” and when I clicked on the article, the entire article was about how this virus most likely is NOT airborne, and that we really do not have anything to worry about. If you go to the CDC or WHO websites, there is a very different picture being painted of this. Yes, it’s a bad virus. Yes, there will be unfortunate consequences for a lot of people, but this is not the end of days. Life is already getting back to normal in China and across Asia. Just focus on the facts, and be careful about what information you ingest and spread. Social Contagion, or Psychological Mass Persuasion, allows everything we feed into our heads to act as a seed that we will replant in other minds and not even realize it. Create good research and education habits and be extremely researched before you share “I Heard” or “I Read” with anyone.
- Shut the damn news off. This is not a zombie apocalypse and human beings aren’t dropping dead in the streets. It is “fast moving”, but not so much that you have to watch 24hr news. We are not at war. Yes, educate yourself, but find times in the day, 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there to do so, and live your life the rest of the time. That is more than enough time to get caught up on anything new. And be diligent about shutting off when you do.
All of those are necessary, I think, to stay healthy yourself (besides everything you already know about Tylenol and hospitals).
Now, for the bigger stuff. What else can we do?
- TEACH! This is probably one of the greatest teaching opportunities for us to have with our kids and ourselves. NOT schoolwork, but proper wisdom, practical knowledge. I was so disappointed by the school climate strikes because rather than organizing alternative schooling on those days outside the walls, or in community centers and such, everyone either picketed or just went home. Every single person has a laundry list of things that are wrong with humanity and the world right now. START TALKING ABOUT IT. Forget math…It will be a bit shocking for the kids, but have an honest and open conversation with them and others about how the human behavior that we ALL participate in has led to the creation of a situation like this. Talk about climate change and how positive this has been for the planet, though frightening for one of its creatures. Talk about how we can implement permanent change. I hope this really is the slap in the face everyone needs in order to realize that everything that is happening in the world right now is all connected (disease, storms/fires, wars). The more we educate ourselves and others on the patterns and connectivity of it all, and the more we take the humble pill and truly admit the full scope of our individual responsibility, well, we might be able to take real, concrete and PERMANENT action finally.
- CONSUMPTION…Talk and learn in great detail about the totality of our consuming. Talk and learn about the products we use and the companies and individuals behind them (and behind them) and dig deep down that rabbit hole. Be extremely thorough and go through your house, analyze all the products you use on a daily basis. Think about these products from ALL sides…the packaging (from its processing to its waste), the actual product (from its processing to its waste), what are all of the ingredients and what research is out there about what they do to us, inside and out, what their environmental impact it (from raw material to waste), the histories and work environments of the companies which make them (and, again, their parent companies and owners). Think about how all of these factors relate to each other. This virus has proved, for once and for all, that we can mobilize and change the world in weeks if we really wanted to. Exponentially more people RIGHT NOW are dying because of climate change (than covid-19) due to the everyday items you and I just about ALL of us use. Here and now, take these weeks to educate our kids (and ourselves), clear all the shit out of our homes and lives, and start right now, today living TRULY responsibly. Eliminating straws and plastic bags is going to do nothing unless we completely reverse all of our daily habits we do not even realize we are participating in. You have 3-4 weeks. You only need 21 days to change a habit mentally.
- COMMUNAL PROMISE. Make a “Green New Deal” right there in your home. Maybe even get some neighbors involved. Why does the government have to pass climate change regulations when we can just take responsibility ourselves?
- REAL FOOD….Teach kids about the medicinal properties of it. How to grow it, prepare it, how it works in our bodies, what actually happens from ingestion to utilization/waste. This will have immense ramifications worldwide in regards to responsible agriculture and manufacturing if we just realize we are condoning doing everything all wrong. 🙂
- SOLIDARITY: Support local and non-local individuals. If you go to a supermarket, you are making the sociopolitical problem worse. There are “mom & pop” stores that will not survive this, because they will not get bailed out like the big chains will. Stop believing in the hope that the government will help, because most governments have already started aligning with Big Business (just look closely at the literature coming out). They never have helped the smallest and poorest, and they never will. It is time we all take a huge dose of reality (alongside our paracetamol) and accept where our societies are right now and start practicing some concrete Solidarity with your neighbors. There are very small shops who have to stay open because they literally will not be able to survive if they close their doors. Be smart when you go out (social distancing, etc), but be supportive and shop there. We need solidarity with each other. We are not each other’s enemy. There are also artists, like me, who are not allowed to teach, to sell at markets, to make the few euros or dollars a day that keep them going. Search these people out and buy something from them. This is a great education opportunity again for your children on how to act as a community. But, do not limit it here. For example, in Greece right now, there are tens of thousands of refugees stuck there, getting abused there, living in overcrowded camps and they are in for a massive wave of illness…And all because of the absolute failures of EVERY ONE OF US and our governments. The EU and the US have not only abandoned these people, but have actively been passing legislation punishing them. And as of a couple of days ago, the Greek and European governments said they will not offer any additional assistance to these people. It is time we reach out to those on the ground to directly support them in any way we can. Even if it means connecting into Skype calls with them and just have a conversation to give them hope that the citizens, at least, still think of them, even if our governments we participate in (or do not participate in) do not care.
- Everyone talks about the responsibility of not getting the elderly sick. Well, who is taking care of them in their homes? Are there community groups who are going around, safely, making sure those who are home alone, who may have no one, are properly looked after? Are these community actions also taking place for the poor and homeless, who may not have access to either the information or the healthy stuff that can help them? I get it, we want to stay inside and “protect” others that way, but, there are people who need you to help them in other ways right now also. Life goes on for these people and most of them have no one and nowhere to go. Your community is just as important as your family. DIRECT ACTION: Create a little flyer that you can drop off door-to-door in hopes of reaching the elderly and less fortunate with your contact info and some information about “I know you cannot leave but if you need anything, please contact me…” etc etc.
- Government is still continuing, wars are still being declared and fought, civil rights are still being legislated out of existence. Now more than ever you need to be diligent with your local authorities and keep the pressure on them. I am astonished at some of the laws I am seeing going through our parliaments and congress. And how? Because no one is paying attention. Trust me, everything is not about coronavirus. They just want you to believe that. This is a PERFECT time to pressure governments to stop blowing each other up (or supporting those who do). Everyone wants to be proud that we can stand on our balconies and sing in unison. How about standing on our balconies and making our voices heard for what really matters! How about taking all of that solidarity and flood our reps with all of this change I hear on the daily that we so want and need.
- Be there for old people, please. Yes, keep your distance and be smart., but poor mental health due to isolation and loneliness will not help them stay strong and healthy. Everyone needs to find their own way of reaching out, but, please, find a way. Even if it means sitting in a hallway on the other side of a door to talk to an elderly person locked inside might give the hope to save a life
If my tone sounds a bit off putting, a bit sarcastic, a bit condescending at times, it is because it is! We have major problems still in this world, far far far worse than this virus that is going around. And, until this virus hit, when I would debate with people daily for the past 5-10 years, all I keep hearing is “what can I do? What can we do? The problem is too big. I am just one person!” And on and on. Well, ladies and gentlemen, now you know. In a matter of days, the entire western world has come together for a common cause that is “not for me but for the safety of others”. Maybe this really is the wake up call that is needed to realize that all of those excuses we keep making are really just that. Excuses. And we have gotten SO good at justifying them, not only do we not even realize that we are doing it anymore, but we expel massive amounts of energy defending them. Remember, Hope and Thoughts and Prayers and Positive Thinking and all of that does nothing if we do not match our actions and our lives with it. Believing is esoteric. Action is concrete. Let’s BE better. But, let’s BE smarter. I am better than that. You are better than that, too.