Was Earth Deserving of the Year 2020?
By Katie Blair
There is not a single person on Earth who has not been affected by 2020’s travesties. From environmental disasters to the pandemic to racial injustice, this domino effect does not seem to stop. No capitulation—whether political, societal, or environmental—has softened the blow of the year 2020 and its wrath. But why has this year, the start of a new decade, become symbolic of what is to come?
Our world in its current state is based on greed. This is not news, by any means. But this greed has truly spun out of control. Greed is enough for Americans to be angry about wearing masks. It is enough to open economies back up before COVID-19’s vaccination is distributed. But greed comes with an overwhelming sense of pursuit.
If the snowballing greed of humans does not stop, we will not exist. As apocalyptic as this is, this is the truth. Corporations pursue growth like never before. Endless traffic and the overcrowding of cities is spinning out of control. Our naïve optimism yields a mindset in which we believe we are here to stay—no matter our actions. Our existence should not be politicized. The sustainability for all life should be a priority, especially concerning our planet.
It’s Not Cheap
I am not one to toot my horn about being environmentally friendly. It is extremely expensive to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Houses equipped with solar panels are not cheap. Eco-friendly products rely on fair trade and ethical production practices. As most Spokanites probably know, it is hard to be eco-friendly all the time. Convenience and ignorance create the perfect storm for someone to believe it is not a ‘big deal’ upon throwing away all of their takeout food in the trash, instead of sorting it.
Convenience and ignorance play into this equation, a fluctuating formula of how deserving we are of such a horrible year. Yes, it is convenient to just keep driving when you forget your mask at home. Is anyone going to stop you at the store if you are not wearing one, though? It is highly unlikely because it is more convenient to say, “oh well!” than to engage in a verbal confrontation with someone who believes they oppressed for wearing a protective cloth. It is more convenient to throw all of your food into the landfill than to compost it. But has sustainable composting been taught to any current adults in previous primary school curriculum? Only recently has the emphasis surrounding environmental consciousness entered public schooling. And even then, this relies on state and local governments in the United States.
I could stand on my soapbox all day and list what is wrong with our country. The United States has many great factors—do not get me wrong. But so many problems in this state are preventable. Ongoing issues cannot be prioritized right now because we failed to take care of the virus that is on track to take more than 340,000 American lives.
Ignorance Can’t Win
But ignorance is the denominator of humanity. There is a reason why the saying, “ignorance is bliss” is still a part of our vernacular. Scientists predicted this type of pandemic to occur. The Trump administration disbanded the U.S. pandemic response team. We saw this coming, so fingers are pointing in every direction to pin blame.
I could speak about the effects of social injustice and political division in the United States, both of which have contributed to the loss of American lives. Undoubtedly these issues foster But humans have a level of optimism unparalleled to any other species. It is naïve, almost. Miraculously, keeping faith alive created some hope in our bleak year. We are able to garner this faith based on religious values. Cardiologist Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy of Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute emphasized this in the launch of the COVID Prayer Study. Even in the midst of a deadly illness, this “randomized control study” is studying if prayer can improve the outcomes of COVID patients.
The prayer for a vaccine has been answered. Many claim humanity is saved—for now. This is the first of probably many pandemics to come. I am usually an optimist, but not when it comes to the current lack of Earth’s wellbeing. The call for prayer can deter the blame of humanity deserving 2020. This year will be a textbook focus for future generations. Hopefully focusing on the Earth’s environmental health will yield fewer disasters. Until then, we are deserving of what the Earth throws our way.
Katie Blair is a junior at Gonzaga University studying Business Administration and Leadership Studies. She is working with SpokaneFāVS as part of the Wolff Fellowship, a program dedicated to allowing students to engage with the Spokane community. Blair believes this fellowship is an important part of her journey at Gonzaga University and loves writing for others to read. She also loves to sing in Gonzaga’s choral program and is part of the Gonzaga Women in Business club. After graduating from GU, she plans to work in the commercial advertising industry and/or with NGOs to help make the world a better place.