# Our Environment Breathes: Is Humankind the Real Virus?

A revitalization in the environment across the globe has quite clearly been in effect with the lockdown.

Whether it be a lowering of air pollution levels worldwide, the clearing up of the famed canals of Venice, a growth in both flora and fauna, reduction in waste production, reduction in overall pollution and so much more, albeit sprinkled with some false news, the unquestionable positive impact the lockdown has had brings a seemingly valid question to the forefront of discourse: Has it been us humans who have been what’s wrong with the world, after all? An evolutionary mistake doomed to be the cause of this beautiful blue planet’s end? Not quite.

You see, the question is but a logical product of all that we hear about overpopulation and a constant lack of resources, which amounts to so much pain and grief for so many, but it is this very line of thinking that is misleading, and hiding a much bigger villain behind its narrative. It is shocking to learn that the total food grown on farms is enough to feed 10 billion people, and yet a significant portion of the world face chronic hunger and even die of starvation. Americans waste around 150,000 tons of food per day, on an average, and 85% of the unused food is thrown away, rather than being donated, similar to the case where fashion lines destroy unsold clothes rather than donating them. There are more empty homes in America than there are homeless people, and yet they continue to live a life of hardship and suffering*. And all these instances are indicative of a trend that is followed almost worldwide.

But why does this disparity occur? And hence, we come upon the real issue, it being a system that causes this disparity, this class hierarchy where the top sections have more than they’ll ever need and the bottom ones less than nothing, and then creates and proliferates a narrative that scarcity is the issue, not disproportionate distribution or accumulation of resources in very small parts of the population. It is a product of capitalism. We constantly see around us an omnipresent message through nearly all media, telling us to control our plastic usage, to carpool, to reduce our waste and check our carbon footprint; we are faced with a narrative that tells us to work for the environment, which though is extremely important, does not address the fact that most of the pollution and toxic waste discharge is released not by civilians, but by industries, who are operating with unenforced regulations, with few having eco-friendly and pollution control policies, and what this does is very subtly shift responsibility to the regular people, when the eco-friendly option is not one that a significant part of the population can afford to take.

In conclusion, we can see that it is not humanity that is the virus, instead it is our current system, whose shortcomings and pitfalls have been made abundantly clear during this pandemic, with the poor suffering the worst, unable to pay for food or rent, sometimes even medical needs, due to lack of work, without savings, insurance or forms of social security to fall back on. The only way to move forward now is to acknowledge these shortcomings, and to fix them with the necessary checks so that with the end of this quarantine, we’d have a new future actually worth looking forward to.

(*stats as seen on https://wearyourvoicemag.com/marvel-thanos-overpopulation-scarcity-myth/)