TO THE EDITOR: Hard lessons: Your chances of contracting COVID-19 are much higher if you are poor, black or brown, a front line or essential worker or unable to work from home; if you live in a state where someone tells you the economy is more important than public health; or in a low-income country. Access to a life-saving vaccine follows similar paths.

Encouraging lessons: People help others more at more risk, like delivering groceries to neighbors. They thank front-line workers by banging on pots from balconies; contribute to food banks or community funds helping small businesses; give free concerts to lift spirits; learn to use Zoom to stay in touch with one another. People stay at home or wear masks even when they don’t like masks, because it protects others, and because their freedom is not as important as the heath of their neighbors. The list of wonderful, community-affirming actions goes on and on.

Despite the rampant inequities and silly politics, COVID-19 has taught us that across the world, people are more caring than apathetic.

There is hope here. It is good news, because everyone, individual citizens, state and federal governments, nonprofits, businesses, banks, multinational companies, must get back to concentrating on a much, much bigger problem.

COVID-19 affects mostly humans, so far as we know. The climate emergency affects entire planetary ecosystems.

Climatic changes and high intensity weather events are at the root of many human problems across the globe, but of far greater concern are the threats to the non-human parts of ecosystems upon which all life on this planet depends.

Although it is clearly not over yet, the world rallied and responded to COVID-19 in just over a year.

We can move fast and wide when we care enough.

KATHARINE PRESTON

Essex

 

 

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