Before the coronavirus crisis, there were many warning signs that our society was simply going too far, in excesses reminiscent of the famous orgies of the Romans before the fall of their empire.
Maybe this will help find some more balance in certain areas and move forward in a slightly better world, once this is over.
Here are three areas where we went too far:
In the last few years, tourism probably reached a peak beyond the breaking point where it’s beneficial for local economies. Already, many cities in Italy were complaining that they were receiving too many tourists, that AirBNBs had made it impossible for local residents to live in their own city, and that the ecological burden of this much tourism was unsustainable.
I’m certainly guilty of having participated in this excessive enthusiasm for world traveling. But a couple of years ago, I realized that in today’s world, it simply didn’t make sense to travel so much by plane, contributing to climate change and the uglification of the world. So I haven’t been on a plane since December 2019 — which for me is a record.
Traveling can be a beautiful thing, but taking three or four vacations overseas a year is not sustainable. We travelers have tried to save as much money as possible, but we didn’t think about all the consequences of our choices.
There can be too much of a good thing, and mass tourism has been a perfect example of that. After this crisis is over (hopefully), we’ll still travel, but more responsibly I hope. I’ve already decided two years ago to restrict my flying to maybe once every 4-5 years. What about you?
Open borders and trade certainly has its advantages, but also serious downside. What has made me upset over the last few years is how every city in the world has become the same place, and sometimes not a very pretty one.
We’re on track to all be speaking the same language: bad English. Local minorities are absorbed by globalization. I personally take this issue very seriously as a French Canadian, who’s seeing my language and culture slowly disappear.
Now we’ve gone in the extreme opposite direction: closing all borders. When we open borders again, I hope it will tone down the excesses of globalization.
The world is not ours to take. We have to respect other people’s cultures and find peace in the fact that we do belong somewhere.
The naive idealism of many people who thought they were “citizens of the world” is coming to an end. Too many people in our community (raw vegans, fruitarians, etc.) have moved to places like Thailand simply because it’s cheap and sunny. They’ve never paid much attention to local politics, which eventually caught up with them. Many came back disillusioned that they didn’t find the promised “paradise.”
Diversity is not having people from all over the world live together and then all speak the same language, dress the same way, and adhere to the same values.
Diversity is respecting different cultures, different values, and allowing them a place to be.
Factory Farming and Eating Animals
How many viruses that have plagued humanity for so long have come from our close proximity to animals, and more specifically our habit of eating them?
HIV came from chimps that were hunted and eaten by residents of Congo.
Most strains of influenza, as I understand, come from birds and animals like pigs that are raised for food. This disease kills millions of people every year.
This coronavirus was probably transmitted to humans through the consumption of exotic meat.
We went too far with factory farming and eating meat in general, and this goes also for fish, wild game, and “grass-fed” meat, loved by Paleo dieters, which is not exempt from risks.
Hopefully, although I doubt it, we’ll take this as a lesson for the future and change our ways.
Your thoughts are appreciated as always.