Written By VP
When was the last time you thought of your breath? Did you pay attention towards oxygen – the life-giving gas? Were your hands ever joined in prayer for small mercies the Almighty has bestowed on humans? For most of us, the answer would be a big no! We took it for granted, of course.
Then came about a deadly virus, Covid-19, seeking answers. Ask the people who have lost or are losing their loved ones every minute across the globe. In India, the worst-hit country as of now, more than four lakh cases and four thousand deaths are being reported each day. Going by conservative estimates, the figure could be more than double. Or even triple, given that even peace-time estimates in India are often a bit dodgy. And this certainly is not peace-time; rather it’s a war, maybe the dreaded Third World War! Only the enemy this time does not fire bullets; it kills silently, without remorse, as if on a mission to teach the human race how to respect nature.
So when people are falling like nine-pins in New Delhi; some reaching the hospitals and then dying inside their vehicles for lack of oxygen cylinders to feed them the elixir of life, it sure is time to reflect. What is even more heart-rending is that some of the ones admitted to hospitals, hoping they could live another day, suddenly died due to lack of oxygen supply for a few minutes. They gasped, then passed on. Painfully.
Agreed Indians are too many, but does that give a license to the government to remain apathetic? Let people die for something as basic as oxygen, something we all take for granted? Then there are the black-marketeers and hoarders, who are making a quick buck. Maybe, they will pay a price one day. Hell has broken loose in India, but can anything be done? Seems a far cry, as of now!
Yet, there is always hope. Let us turn towards that. Trees give us oxygen; they nourish the human race. Now consider this information, which is easily available on the internet – humans cut down approximately 15 billion trees a year and re-plant 5 billion. That’s a net loss of 10 billion trees every year. It’s a rate that would mean the loss of all trees on the globe within the next 300 years!
Alarming, isn’t it? Of course, the world is suffering, yet for the many that die, there are the ones who beat the deadly coronavirus and recover from the edge of death. They make a return from the hospitals, which look more like morgues as of now.
So, should it not be made mandatory for every recovered Covid patient to plant at least one tree, even if as a mark of gratitude for Mother Earth? If not us, maybe the future generations will not die for want of oxygen.
(From the editor’s desk, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)