“It is about putting our economy on a healthy footing for the long term”

by Nicole Duprat*, France

Nature reclaims its space and the curfew benefits the animals. We could see in different places around the globe how the plant world is recovering and getting closer, and we were often speechless.

  • Dolphins swim in the Calanques (local bays) of Marseille and on the coast of Cagliari in Sardinia.
  • In Venice, in the Serenissime, the water is clear again because the big ships of mass tourism have disappeared. The inhabitants of the city of the Doges could enjoy numerous swarms of fish.
  • Hinds went for a walk in a city in Poland.
  • In Chile, a puma ventures onto the streets.
  • On the sidewalks of Paris waddling mallards can be found next to joggers.
  • Through Lhanduno, in the south of Wales, a flock of beautiful goats is walking.
  • To the great delight of the children, deer, which probably didn‘t pull Santa‘s sleigh, immediately made the greenery of the residential areas their breakfast table.
  • In Milan, a swan has even ventured into the city centre.

The curfew has brought animals and plants back to rest, and people have more time and take their time to observe nature. The city dwellers have rediscovered the song of birds. But the birds are not more numerous, you just hear them more. Forgotten the penetrating noise of the horns! With the calm, the song thrush and the robin return to the streets and delight us every morning with their song.
The declining road and air traffic leads to less air pollution. In the capital cities, noise pollution has been reduced by 90% in some traffic arteries. Animals are recovering from the noise that humans normally make. The same applies to plants. The unmown lawn sprouts, and bumblebees, bees and butterflies can collect nectar untroubledly.
People who are not fortunate enough to live in the country realise how much they miss nature.
Being in the fresh air has become a pleasure again since the acrid smell of polluted air has disappeared. Nor have we ever had such a clear sky. The pollution has clearly decreased.
If there is one lesson we can learn from this situation (the curfew) in terms of ecological problems, it is that it only takes a few days for nature to reclaim its right - if given the opportunity.
This breeze of fresh air for fauna, flora, for our lungs and the climate must lead us to behave more reasonably.
This also means that the dream of respectful interaction in a common habitat cannot be reduced to the simple equation that fewer people means more animals. A radical new beginning must be made in dealing with this.
Once this crisis has been overcome, it is important that we understand that it is not about reducing air pollution for a short period of time. No, it is about putting our economy on a healthy footing for the long term.    •

(Translation Current Concerns)


* Nicole Duprat (*1955), after her university studies (law and international relations) at the Institut d‘Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, has worked as a teacher for many years. Today she lives in Vallabrègues, a basket making village near Avignon. She is a regular contributor to Horizons et débats, the French edition of Zeit-Fragen.

Hymne à la Vie

Et les humains demeurèrent chez eux
Ils se mirent à lire, à jardiner, à réfléchir
Dans l’incertitude de demain
Ils comprirent enfin ce que signifie
Apprécier l’instant présent
Peu à peu les publicités vantant
Des produits dont ils n’avaient guère besoin
Leur semblèrent bien vides
Ils commencèrent  à distinguer
L’essentiel de l’accessoire
A relativiser leur condition
Ils prirent conscience de leur besoin des autres
Du sens du mot Humanité
Et à voir combien ils étaient fragiles
Ils n’étaient pas en train
De survivre mais bien de vivre
Ils venaient de recevoir un présent merveilleux
Et précieux : on leur avait donné du temps
Et la Terre les trouva digne d’elle
Et elle commença à respirer

Nicole Duprat

Hymn to life

And suddenly people stayed at home
Started to read, tended the gardens, also contemplated
Faced with the uncertainty of tomorrow.
Did they finally understand the treasures of the
The moment we are given today...
Gradually faded also
The glamour of advertisements praising all this
What they didn‘t need and so they started
To see what was essential and what was accessory
Questioning their conditions
Now, sharper came out that they needed the other
What it means, the word humanity
Even how vulnerable they were
It wasn‘t just about surviving anymore but rather to live
A gift had been given to them
Wonderfully precious: They had time...
And the earth deemed them worthy
And breathed again.

Nicole Duprat

(Translation Current Concerns)

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