Friday, July 3, 2020 | ePaper

Corona Proved Life On Earth Is One Organism

Abu Hena

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James Lovelock, a British scientist, in his Gaia hypothesis suggested that life on earth regulates its environment as if it were one huge organism. The earth's Co2 level changed because the living things on earth keep the environment suitable for the continuance of life. In his book, The Ages of Gaia, he deals with the way in which life can regulate the saltiness of the oceans, rainfall on the continents and the temperature of the atmosphere. Cells constantly feed themselves and rid themselves of wastes. So do whole organisms. So do the ecosystems. Rain Forests regulate themselves exquisitely. The same is true on a global scale. In James Lovelocks Gaia hypothesis the earth is a living body with a survival mechanism of its own. In that body, all living things from microscopic bacteria to humans work together like the parts of one vast organism. Lovelock claims that Gaia science is geophysiology, which presents a new theory of evolution observing that "the species are not independent of the evolution of their material environment" (i.e. species and their environment evolve as a single system).
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.  CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease. It is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and same types of common cold. There is no specific treatment for the disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and its treatment is based on patient's clinical conditions.
WHO DG's opening remarks at the media briefing on Covid-19 - 24 February 2020:
As of 6 am Geneva time this morning China has reported a total of 77,362 cases of Covid-19 to WHO including 2618 deaths. Earlier today the WHO - China joint mission concluded its visit and delivered its report.
This is a time for all countries, communities, families and individuals to focus on preparing. We do not live in a binary - black and white world. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every country must make its own risk assessment for its own context. This is a shared threat. We can only face it together, and we can only overcome it together.
For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and are not witnessing large scale severe disease or death.
The time was different on 24 June when DG WHO briefed on Covid-19:
More than 9.1 million cases of Covid-19 have now been reported to WHO and more than 470,000 deaths. In this first month of this outbreak, less than 20,000 cases were reported to WHO. In the last month about 4 million cases have been reported. We expect to reach a total of 10 million cases within the next week. According to update on 28 June coronavirus cases spiked to 10 million confirmed cases with half a million deaths.
One of the most effective ways of saving lives is providing oxygen to patients who need it. This has been an area of intense focus for WHO since the beginning of the pandemic.
Left untreated, severe Covid-19 deprives cells and organs of the oxygen they need which ultimately leads to organ failure and death.
WHO estimates that at current rate of about one million new cases a week, the world needs about 620,000 cubic meters of oxygen a day which is about 88,000 large cylinders.
Since pre-industrial times, human activities have led to the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen from about 280 parts per million (ppm) before the first industrial revolution some 250 years ago to a new high of just over 417 ppm. As a result of continued increases, the global average temperature has climbed just over 10C since pre-industrial times.   
While these long-lived greenhouse gases have raised earth's surface temperature, human activities have altered atmospheric composition in other way as well.
The former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, argues that with the trillions of dollars being spent around the world in economic stimulus packages following the Covid-19 pandemic, we need strong commitments to a low-carbon future if the world is to limit warming to 1.50C above pre-industrial levels.
The central point concerns planetary environment which is the aggregate of a myriad of factors. Life forms are co-evolving and sharing the same host.
It's a microcosm, a tittle world, a situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature, the characteristics of something much larger. In this situation humankind is regarded as the representation in miniature of the universe. It is the human race or human nature seen as an epitome of the world or universe, an epitome of a larger unity.

(Abu Hena is a former Member of Parliament).   

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