Coronavirus Offers Sabbath to Nature
Nature also claims its share of rest and freedom. And we are learning hard lessons these days. All creation needs to co-exist in the same single home, the planet earth. Sabbath, the contemplative rest, is needed not only for humans but for the entire creation. Humans and nature are not made for Sabbath, but Sabbath for humans and nature alike.
Since November 2019 till date, the nature virus Corona has killed millions of people all over the world. In just a matter of eight months it has devastated the whole world, much worse than WWII. This tiny virus, which originated in the Wuhan province of China, has forced every human being to be confined to their homes, made to vacate the streets and roads, rivers and oceans, forest and air from human dominance.
We are deeply saddened by the massive death caused by this merciless virus and mourn the loss of thousands of innocent people at a stroke. The world is also shaken at the abrupt downfall of the world economy to almost recession level and wondering what the world would look like in the post-Covid19 era, if there could be one.
In the midst of this human pandemic, we also see a new development in the nature of the same planet earth. There is “the Coronavirus silver Lining” too on earth.
Just quickly consider the systematic plunder done by human beings to nature in order to serve the consumerist demands of the people on the globe. On average about 102,465 flights fly in the air over the globe. And every minute there are about 23, 600 flights take off to air. And these massive movements of flights around the globe costs the ecosystem dearly. For instance, a Boeing 747 plane uses about 4 litres of fuel every second. So for a 10 hours flight it burns about 1,50,000 litres, emitting 43 gigatonnes of CO2, greenhouse gases.
In fact, the aviation sector contributes about 2% to the world’s global carbon emission. There are also thousands of trains carrying millions of passengers. It is said that there are about 7,421 freight trains in the world with heavy consumption of fuel (diesel). On an average, a train burns 7.97 litres of diesel per kilometre. Trains also produce heavy air and noise pollution.
Apart from airplanes and trains, there are more than 2 billion motor vehicles running on the road. Emission of smoke from cars is just next to industrial pollution of the earth. Besides, there are thousands of industries, factories, and other machineries and human-made activities that are environmentally disastrous and threaten the sustenance of the planet earth.
According to the world environment survey, China tops the rank of the most polluting country with 30% contribution to global warming. It has an enormous export market, which has seen its industry grow to become a serious danger to the planet.
Next is the United States of America with 15% and India with 7%, and many other nations. Interestingly, the world's most polluting country China has been the epicentre of Coronavirus. The country that cares only about money and technology and has trampled upon earth and human beings by giving birth to a virus that forced them to stop all their greedy and bloody activities on earth.
Although the US is so far away from China, in no time the virus has reached the second most polluting nation America and forced the Trump administration to declare a national emergency against the coronavirus, halting all the commercial and consumeristic activities, except catering to basic human needs.
The world fashion, food and party nations of Europe have come to a complete standstill and they are now sandwiched between the death and the sick, forgetting about the economy. India with 1.37 billion population is fighting hard not to make it a national disaster with about 500 active coronavirus cases and 5 death records. Almost all the states of India are shut down with all commercial and educational activities stopped.
When nations and people upon the earth have almost come to a complete shutdown both on air and land, nature begins to move free. We have heard WION news executive editor, Palki Sharma saying, “As Humans Retreat, Nature Returns.”
Just in 2 week time of forced retreating of human activities, the nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen drastically, otters are roaming freely in Singapore empty parks, Egyptian geese were spotted crossing the Tarmac in Tel Aviv, Israel; dolphins return to the coast of Italy, penguins roam free in Chicago aquarium administrative block, and Venice canals now have clean water, and even in Kohima and in many parts of Nagaland which was almost like a drought-like situation started to pour down rain, and many more things to be noticed soon. All these things are ‘the Coronavirus silver Lining.’
God is the Creator of not only human beings but the whole nature. Creator God cares for both nature and humans on planet earth. He died and rose again for the liberation of the whole creation.
Romans 8: 20 – 22 says, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, with the hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
We must know that if human selfishness and greed continue unlimited, nature will also react in its own way in the power of the one who created them to teach extreme lessons to humans. Nature also claims its share of rest and freedom. And we are learning hard lessons these days. All creation needs to co-exist in the same single home, the planet earth. And the present pandemic coronavirus crisis teaches us this lesson. In such a time like this let us retrieve the concept of Sabbath.
God has been reminding us over thousands of years through His Word, but we forced ourselves to disobey the command of celebrating Sabbath. Sabbath, the contemplative rest, is needed not only for humans but for the entire creation. Humans and nature are not made for Sabbath, but Sabbath for humans and nature alike.
Tiatoshi Longkümer is currently serving as the Pastor at the Ao Baptist Church, Kohima
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash