An older friend of mine keeps reminding me, we are living in interesting times. She’s been saying this for years, but this year she’s certainly nailed it! There are so many issues we’re facing in the United States today that it’s hard to keep up, and it’s hard to not feel completely overwhelmed!

There are fires burning out of control on the West Coast blanketing states in smoke and ash. Hurricane Laura struck recently as we were told by many that that hurricane would be unsurvivable to those in her path. I wish reporters would just come out and say DEADLY! The Gulf Coast is being pummeled by tropical storms and hurricanes. Climate change is wreaking havoc while our government continues to deny it. The current administration believes that if California just raked up all the leaves in the forests, the fires wouldn’t have started. I’m not even going to share that citation because it’s frankly too embarrassing to think of someone in the highest office in the land suggesting such a thing. Sadly, it’s not the only stupid suggestion he’s made and it will certainly not be the last. Racism is running rampant on all levels including systemic and environmental. And let’s not forget Covid-19, a virus that has brought the world to its knees!

The pandemic has been interesting to witness. At first, it appeared that most people in the US were in denial so they kept going about their business. When more deaths were being blamed on Covid-19, some began to pay attention to the scientists and stay home. Other countries took drastic measures to make sure people remained in their homes, but if they had to go out people wore masks. In the US, at the time of writing this article there are currently 6,537,627 cases of Covid-19 and there have been 194,092 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control data tracker.

Lives have been lost. Jobs and homes have been lost. The educational system was up-ended as teachers struggled to quickly learn how to keep their classes going while switching to an online format hoping parents would be able to help their own children. While the lives of humans were being thrown into chaos, our animal wild cousins found a bit of breathing room as we saw photos of dolphins swimming in the canals of Venice, and coyotes and other wild animals taking to the streets in cities and towns across the country. The air quality improved and Nature seemed to finally get some breathing space. And then, sadly, we were back to business as usual. Businesses opened up, and cases of Covid increased with no end in sight.

What’s been interesting to note is how people have reacted to this pandemic. Our destructive actions from greed have seen forests decimated and species going extinct at alarming rates. What also seems to be going extinct is our civility toward others, our empathy, and our compassion for others.

As the number of Covid-19 cases increases in the city I live in, people continue to refuse to wear masks. Summer days have seen people out on the water boating and jet skiing, and sometimes so close to the marine mammals that it appears that people are on top of them. Respect for others no matter human or animal seems to also be going extinct, at least in the US. The person in power doesn’t seem to have much respect, compassion, empathy, or civility towards anyone and his actions are accepted and tolerated so much so that people are following his lead. He appears to have normalized behaviors, and traits that civilized people in the past would never have accepted. But it’s a new day and time.

Every day that I hear or read of people not bothering to wear a mask because they have the “right” not to, I think of Anne Frank. Perhaps the people refusing to wear a mask never read her diary because wearing a mask seems like a pretty simple thing to do in order to protect yourself and your neighbors from getting sick. What’s the big deal? It’s not like we’re having to remain hidden for 25 months in a space that is approximately 450 square feet! Can you imagine if Americans had to do that today?! The protests that would ensue would be incredible!

The saddest thing about the times we’re living in today is that facts and science are no longer seen as important. Lies and hate spread as quickly as the wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington. Racism and violence are captured on television while those in power say nothing. We have seen and heard this man in the highest office mock and verbally abuse people, and we’ve accepted it.

These are interesting times, indeed. Perhaps it’s time to save what’s left of our civility, empathy and compassion. Wear a mask. Care about someone/something more than yourself for a change. We are all sharing a space on this beautiful blue dot. Let’s begin to give a damn for one another while we still can. Mother Nature always wins. This interesting time? It’s been said we’re facing the sixth extinction. Given our reaction to this pandemic, extinction wouldn’t really surprise me. But I hope people will! I hope they’ll remember how good it feels to be kind and loving toward another. And I hope they’ll vote in this upcoming election in November for someone who values education and science, and not the person who mocks it all.