Nature's glorious moment and the economy's regrowth
May 5, 2020
THE SUN CAME BACK. After the rain, everything is sparkling, a brilliant green with many wildflowers and new growth everywhere—it’s breathtaking. Our bluffs are carpeted in white “death” camas, chocolate lilies, seablush and yellow monkey flower. A large rock face that’s just a short walk away along the beach has all these as well as Indian paintbrush, red columbine, various saxifrages, small-flowered woodland star—well, it’s a long list of native plants that’s blooming there today. In the forest behind us, there are light green tips of soft new needles on fir and pine, maple flowers, carpets of moss, swaths of sword ferns and vanilla leaf, with yellow stream violets and other wildflowers growing along the edges of our paths.
I marvel that for 25 years I have missed this past month of nature peaking on Quadra Island.
I’ve also been witnessing the bird life, in song and flight. The ravens are taking food to raucous-sounding chicks in their nest on the cliff behind us. Migrating songbirds like the yellow warbler, Audubon’s warbler, Townsend’s warbler—it would be another long list just to include all “the warblers”—are busily building nests and causing us to get out the bird ID books to refresh our memories about who our new neighbours are.
It seems a perfect time, season-wise at least, to close down most contact-based commerce. Without that distraction, we are freer to focus on, and be stimulated by, the grand spectacle of spring unfolding.
It seems like everyone I talk with tells me how much they appreciate their time in nature right now, along with their time alone, without any pressure to rush out to do errands or visit someone.
I talked to a fellow writer yesterday who admitted she is feeling guilty because she’s enjoying this period so much. She’s not looking forward to returning to business as usual, which in her case means travelling the province to give readings and seminars to earn her modest living. Right now, she can concentrate on writing, receive the fed’s CERB funding, and enjoy her garden and nature walks.
All provinces are moving towards lessening the restrictions on activities. BC’s will be clarified by Premier Horgan tomorrow, but it sounds like we’ll still be encouraged to avoid any large gatherings and, while stores can open, they will maintain physical distancing practices.
Further down the road post-COVID-19, the economy will likely be dramatically different. Besides the recession and its attendant reduction of small independent businesses, there will be a super-charging of the “there’s-an-app-for-that” trend, allowing us a more physical-contact-free world. Combined with the uber-growth of the Amazon culture and its low-paid fulfillment and delivery workers, it all makes me queasy. Partly, its just the instability, the changes it will demand and engender. But it also just seems a colder, sadder, life-mediated-via-screen world.
If I was convinced it would somehow allow us to move towards “degrowth,” a less-consumptive economy, one that protects the natural world from our self-entitled demands, I’d embrace it. But if the past is any indication of the future it will likely be about selling us more of everything, making it easier for us to buy it all with our smart phones.
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