Thanks to Bisharah Saeed for contributing this article! The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of its author, not necessarily this organization.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire world has confined itself to homes to wait out this terrible situation. While a lot of conversation online focuses on people discovering new-found talents and free-time, we also see lots of posts about how the world is healing altogether. Yes, I am specifically talking about the fact that dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice due to the water turning so clean, the northern state of Punjab in India can view the Himalayas for the first time in decades due to the immense decrease in the levels of pollution, and so on. Many of us are incredibly happy to see and hear about these changes. But here comes the major question: is this sustainable?

"One person can make a difference in this world but one person alone cannot make a difference in this world."

Let’s rewind a little. The country which was initially hit by the coronavirus was China. Slowly, it started spreading and, one by one, countries went into “lockdown,” a word that I had only heard of in the movies. Within the span of two months from the outbreak of the virus, the majority of the world was told to stay at home. It literally looked like the earth was dead, times were frustrating, and suddenly everyone had been banished indoors. But it’s not as simple as pointing fingers at countries and governments.

When we heard the news that there was an outbreak in China, how many of you were actually concerned about the people of China? Were you only concerned when people started dying in large numbers? Or did you only understand the seriousness of the pandemic when it reached your country? That’s the thing. I am not trying to accuse readers of irresponsibility or point fingers at you. I am just saying that this is the life that we lead nowadays.

We are told that “our own interests should come first.” I mean, haven’t you heard the air hostess in airplanes say ”Put on your oxygen mask first and then help the person next to you”? But this type of thinking when applied broadly can be extremely damaging. This is exactly what people all over the world thought when a report said that U.S. President Trump tried to secure exclusive rights for a coronavirus vaccine under development in Germany. Such tales of self-preservation got me thinking — what are the two things that are necessary for humans to survive this virus and lead a remarkable life?

Well, the first thing is cooperation. Several countries are now doing an amazing job at diverting supplies and doctors in the direction of those most vulnerable, which is a good thing. But what I mean by cooperation is — why can’t we all cooperate like this all the time? Do we actually need natural disasters to bring out the cooperative power in both individuals and countries? Of course, the coronavirus was really unexpected but even then there have been incidences of countries intimidating others for the sake of supplies. We need to share innovations and scientific cures rather than implementing them only in the countries they were developed. This is not an exam in which you hide your answers so that the person next to you does not copy it and get better grades than you. This is real life.

The second thing is refraining yourselves from believing and spreading hoaxes. Take the case of the current pandemic situation, for example. When it first started, we were told to drink hot water because it was believed that it could kill the virus. Then, we were told that coronavirus does not spread to countries with warm and humid temperatures. Did either of these work? No. Then there were all these speculations that I mentioned earlier claiming that China was responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus. The only reason why I believe China wasn’t responsible is that it has been scientifically proven. That’s right. I am the sort of person who believes in facts and figures because I feel it is a lot safer to trust something when there is proof, than random speculation. This is not just about the coronavirus, economies, or countries. It is about each and everything in life. If you have a habit of believing in such hoaxes or are pulled into such conversations, today is the day to stop. 

I know this article started with the issue of coronavirus but I would like to conclude with a message to take home. We have all heard that ”one person can make a difference in this world.” I would like to modify that a little. In my opinion, I would say, ”one person can make a difference in this world but one person alone cannot make a difference in this world.” What I mean to say is that you can start protecting nature in any way which might be from fixing a small leak in your bathroom to proper disposal of waste or developing some new innovation. Whatever it is, all you have to keep in mind is that you must share your methods and inspire the world to adopt them. Because in the Earth’s classroom, we don’t succeed by hiding our exams, but by sharing our ideas.

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