Some have the luxury to be in lockdown in their homes.
Others have no choice but to put themselves in harm’s way every day.
Some will enjoy the weather in pleasant gardens, while others are stuck in small flats.
Eco/green/nature therapy is the perfect way to balance things out – especially in difficult times:
We are very lucky in the Sid Valley to have so much easy access to the countryside – and most people have access to some sort of garden too.
The problem is that some have more access to greenery, gardens and nature than others:
The question is to what extent we are willing and able to share a bit of our garden to those who don’t have one:
Because some are more equal than others – and this is exposed during such times as these:
A Harvard study has found that long-term exposure to air pollution may significantly increase the risk factor for many of up to 240,000 Americans predicted to die from COVID-19. From a survey of over 3,000 U.S. counties it found people who have lived for decades in a place with high levels of fine particulate pollution are 15% more likely to die from the disease. “If you’re getting COVID, and you have been breathing polluted air, it’s really putting gasoline on a fire,” said the study’s lead author, Francesca Dominici, a Harvard biostatistics professor…
Dr Zubaida Haque, deputy director of the race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, said ethnic minority communities were over-represented among families living in poverty and over-crowded housing. “They’re also more likely to be in low-paid jobs or key workers – crucial transport and delivery staff, health care assistants, hospital cleaners, adult social care workers as well as in the NHS,” she said. “All of which bring them into more contact with coronavirus and so increase their risk to serious-illness and death.”
In places like the Bronx – which is 84% black, Latino or mixed race – the sidewalks are still bustling with people making their way into work. There is still a rush hour. “We used to call them ‘service workers’,” Jumaane Williams, the public advocate who acts as the official watchdog for New Yorkers, said. “Now they are ‘essential workers’ and we have left them to fend for themselves.” She pointed out that 79% of New York’s frontline workers – nurses, subway staff, sanitation workers, van drivers, grocery cashiers – are African American or Latino. While those city dwellers who have the luxury to do so are in lockdown in their homes, these communities have no choice but to put themselves in harm’s way every day.
Dr James Dyke is a Senior Lecturer in Global Systems at the University of Exeter; here are extracts from his piece for the weekend i-newspaper:
The coronavirus lockdown rules may not be fair, but we have to follow them
This weekend, some will enjoy the weather in pleasant gardens, while others are stuck in small flats
Exercise is allowed because of the overwhelming evidence that it is needed for physical and mental health. This weekend, some people will perhaps make their case to a hot and harassed Community Support Officer that their wellbeing demands the consumption of a four-pack of Stella in the park. It’s not as if it’s hurting anyone. But the thing is, it is.
The reason no one is allowed out is because a small number of people cannot be expected to behave appropriately in the absence of such draconian measures. To slow down the rate of infection, we need people to reduce their contact with others by at least 70 per cent. Many people were doing this before the lockdown was imposed. But not enough. It took unprecedented laws to get people to comply. Luckily, there is some evidence this is working: a recent survey indicated that interactions are down 73 per cent.
The situation is an example of a collective action problem. If a sufficient number of people play by the rules and stay home, we all win. Given that not everyone needs to comply, there is temptation to take a free ride on other people’s sacrifice. But then the more people do this, the less incentive there is for others to play their part, as they feel they are being taken for a sucker.
This is the language of game theory, the branch of mathematics that explores how humans, other species, and perhaps even genes interact and compete. Depending on the rules of the game, chaos or co-operation can emerge. This year has brutally demonstrated that rules matter – but such rules do not affect everyone in the same way.
At 8pm on Thursday nights we stand in our streets to applaud the bravery and sacrifice of NHS staff. We now understand the value of key workers – and that the costs and burdens of this crisis are not shared equally. Some responded to the early school closures and calls to stay home by travelling to a rental cottage in the countryside. Some volunteered to deliver food parcels to vulnerable people. This weekend, some will enjoy the weather in pleasant gardens, drinking wine that was delivered by someone on a zero hours contract who, after their shift, will go home to a small flat.
Covid-19, like climate change, shows us that collective action is necessary. We all have a role in decreasing rates of infection and carbon emissions. And just like climate change, the Covid-19 crisis is finally exposing the great inequalities in ways that we can all understand. The brutal reality is that winning together means some people will pay more.