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Abandoned street in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Mishaal Zahed on Unsplash

Some lessons to be learned from the current crisis

People all around the globe are currently directly, or indirectly, affected by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The Levant News publishes voices from a wide variety of people with different backgrounds. After stories from the Netherlands, Lebanon and Italy today Saleh Abdulwahed writes from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

While driving through the rocky mountains of Alberta, Canada, you have to be cautious not to hit a crossing deer. You might as well find yourself facing a bear. In this corner of the world, the beauty of nature is much appreciated and is preserved by putting a limit on the number of visitor (by regulating the number of hotel beds for instance).

In other terms, the money generated from tourists visiting the much sought after Banff and Jasper National Park shouldn’t come at the expenses of the nature. The principle is simple: nature is beautiful and can only be preserved by keeping greed out of the picture.

With airplanes grounded, factories shut down, and students at home, one issue only seems to be positive in this situation: the earth is breathing again. If one lesson should be learnt by this crisis is that self-control is possible.

The one million dollar question is: would the environmental issue be worth losing innocent lives and trillions of dollars of losses at the global level? We need to acknowledge the toxic levels that we are enduring in our daily lives and how much this contributes in the development of different types of diseases.

Each natural disaster can cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars wasted without thinking about the consequences. Now, for the first time we have the opportunity to appreciate the preventive measures recommended by doctors to wear masks and their tireless efforts to develop a vaccine. Preventive measures are way better than managing us as patients.

Economists of all countries are focusing on leaving resources for our future generations. Have we ever thought of leaving a “healthy” planet as well? What would our children or their children do when they have to use all their “funds” to manage a tsunami every now and then?

The amount of clear air around, the rejuvenating effect for the earth, the loss of trillions of dollars, and being locked for a few weeks at home are definitely worth it.

We have enjoyed the use of our poisonous cars and air conditioner for very long time: one month without them is a short time in comparison. The earth was choking. For the first time we can see wild animals around and clear water streaming again.

The comparison of the mortality rate of coronavirus and other diseases or disasters should shed the light on the other causes as intensely as we are doing with corona. every life counts, any durable solution should be attempted.

The fact that we are losing more lives to the seasonal flu or due to car accidents should just alert us that our business schools need to change and improve their programs. What a great disaster among the way that we are handling a single crisis.

No unified opinion, no clear plan! Countries like the UK have to go through trial and error, “let’s follow the route of “herd” immunity,” but as soon as top leaders are afflicted with the disease, They pull the social distancing plan off the shelf.

The UK is the home for the unequivocal source of science and top world leaders graduated from its prestigious schools. What did our generation learn from schools like Oxford and Cambridge and the London School of Economics?

Same question is asked to the super wealthy and source of world technology. Without entering the controversy about Bill Gates, there is a huge difference between developing an Iphone or a Windows system and finding a solution to a problem that we expected to happen.

My thinking leads me to the simple conclusion: that we really did not appreciate enough the people who made discoveries such as the polio and smallpox vaccine, while we admire people who obtained it with no patency, and distribute it around the world.

If we come out of this crisis with more conspiracy theories and baseless wars and narrow vision solutions, then what a waste humanity would suffer. The death toll from the flu is commonly posted on the internet. And yes, it is more than 600,000 people dying every year from common flu. Not just one Pandemic, it reoccurs EVERY YEAR.

Nevertheless, even this number did not teach us that this is something that someday might kill our economy and take our lives! Trillions of dollars vanished due to the lockdown situation and thousands of people lost their source of income to face a situation as hard as death in some parts of the world with poor social backup programs.

Even when support is provided, dignity is extremely important, as one suffers a great deal waiting for support by the hour to put food on the table.

The smartest people on earth are working hard to develop all kinds of inventions, from a music box, that can store more music, to self-driving cars and tube transport that shortened the distance and time of travel. But all this did not take in consideration the hunger crisis suffered by millions on earth.

The earth is filled with our toxic waste that is a result of our intense innovations and development program. It is time to think of developing an answering machine to respond when mother nature calls back.

Saleh Abdulwahed is a retired surgeon. He has a profound interested in Sustainability and Renewable Energy Business Development.

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