As the world goes crazy about the coronavirus—and even crazier about succumbing the panic of the coronavirus—it’s time to look both outward at the effect the disease is having on the Earth and inward to determine how we want to respond to it. Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Moderate your portions of the news. How many times a day do you really need to update yourself on the latest mortality numbers?
  2. Never ignore an impulse to do something generous and unexpected for someone. You could bring surprise, relief, camaraderie, and delight to somebody you know or to a complete stranger.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Don’t touch your face. (Turns out that’s a really difficult thing to do.)
  5. To us humans, this disease is cause for freaking out. Think about it from the Earth’s point of view. The graphic to the right, from the New York Times, shows a comparison in the density of air traffic around Wuhan in the month before the virus hit and the month when people were quarantined. The coronavirus is good for climate change!
  6. It’s just possible that the virus is teaching us all kinds of new ways to meet with colleagues, use the internet instead of the car, and become more aware of ourselves as global citizens. Let’s keep our attention tuned to what we can learn from all this.
  7. If you read advice on Facebook on self-diagnosing and treating the virus from somebody who knows somebody who heard it from an infectious disease specialist, double check. It’s probably filled with errors.
  8. Replace panic with curiosity. Notice how people are behaving in response to the virus and determine how you, personally, want to act. When are you being cautious… and when are you rushing to join the herds of over-reactors?
  9. Laugh when you can. Here’s one slice of humor from outabouter.com—a comment from a pangolin, the animal from which the coronavirus apparently came.
—Trebbe Johnson

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Coronavirus 1: Graphic by Noor Al-Ahmad, Collegian

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.