Sustainable living
Sustainable living Image Credit: pexels

“No treasure is more useful than wisdom” – Imam Ali.

Sitting at home with my family during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with feelings of isolation. With questions and doubts, we are using our quarantine time to reflect and to regain control of our feelings and to appreciate what we have with a sense of gratitude, patience and faith in God.

Facing a global calamity of this sort is not easy for anyone, and indeed we are in need of each other in this unexpected time of trouble. We are grappling with questions about this novel disease, and just as rapid as it spreads, we are looking for a cure to contain its damage. At the heart of the issue is that people’s health is at risk - and we need to do something quickly if we are to save humanity at large.

As much as this has been a global health crisis, it has also been a time of great camaraderie, cooperation and kindness. People have shown their solidarity all over the world, helping in countless ways. Governments have spent generously on countering the virus with protective healthcare measures and facilities.

Businesses have played their part in offering support during this health emergency. Civilians have shown their cooperation and have donated to charities and funds to help those in need. These people and their acts of kindness and generosity during this emergency remind us that it is indeed love that makes the world go round, and that our hopes must be greater than our fears. Like Noah’s ark, we need to navigate this storm together.

Facing a global calamity of this sort is not easy for anyone, and of course we are in need of each other in this unexpected time of trouble. Personally, my reflections from home have given me an insight on some of the things that have helped me and that I could simply not do without. It has humbled me to realise the importance of gratitude, the importance of humanity, and the way that we all have to live together in a complex and interconnected world.

We are interdependent creatures, and we have always lived that way. We live in neighbourhoods, in cities, with communities. We need to engage responsibly as global citizens.

The bees were relocated to the Bee Garden at Sustainable City. More than a month later, the colony has doubled in size. and fill four full comb frames. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Take the beehive, for example. Bees work together to produce honey, which is so essential for our nutrition and healing. Bees work tirelessly to collect the pollen from the flowers, which in turn they store in their hives to make honey. Their teamwork is phenomenal, and the honey that is produced is vital for their sustenance. Everything, down to the smallest detail, is a miracle in its own right. We learn how to be responsible when we slow down to reflect on nature.

Our lifestyles are altering the way we exist on this planet. According to the WWE documentary, ‘Our Planet, Our Business’, our world is more connected than ever. ‘We have replaced the wild with the domestic.’ Businesses have boomed, and the period of growth and productivity has resulted in GDPs rising, diets changing and lifestyles developing.

Around two thirds of land and three quarters of the oceans are used globally to maintain the pace of human lifestyles. About 60% of global deforestation occurs to make farms. Mangroves are being cleared away to make shrimp farms and hotels for tourists. At sea there is extensive overfishing, which is changing the biodiversity of the oceans. Our personal ambitions are making us forget the bigger picture, and how we all are impacting the world that we live in.

Could this quarantine be ushering forth a change in the way we lead our lives? Could this be the start of a more conscious relationship between people and the planet? Is sustainable and ethical living the way to move forward for the future? Can making the right choice for ourselves and for others pave our way to security and recovery?

According to WWE, ‘Sustainable development means balancing local and global efforts to meet basic human needs with the need to preserve the natural environment from degradation and destruction. It means meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.’

Let’s do what we can to make better and more enlightened choices. We need to slow down and realise how interdependent we are. We need humility to realise that we are not as self-sufficient as we think we are. We are a part of something much greater than us, and we are as responsible to protect and to nurture this environment that we live in.

From Ms Iman Tahir

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