The pandemic and ecocide: what chance a turning point in our destruction of the natural world?

As many have commented, one unintended consequence of the lockdown has been a sharper appreciation for the sounds, smells and sights of the natural world – especially coinciding with weeks of beautiful weather.

– The rich scent of gorse on a walk.

– The music of birdsong

– The clear air giving bluer skies and crystal clear visibility – I have never seen Scotland as clear from the Irish coast.

– The night sky – have a look at Venus this evening.

Here are some more photos I took yesterday and today of the uplifting beauty of the natural world (and yes Grey Squirrels are an invasive pest but this one is particularly cute).

Coal Tit


Male Bullfinch (with line caught in beak – later gone)
Grey Squirrel
Ailsa Craig
Looking across to Ailsa Craig off the Ayrshire coast
Galloway (2)
Looking across to Scotland (Galloway)
Full moon (taken a couple of weeks ago)


Peacock Butterfly

These photos to me are reminders of how, given the slightest chance, creation is bursting with life.

But they are also poignant reminders of a darker truth. That it takes a pandemic for humanity to take a break from our frantic lives and rapacious exploitation of the natural world and get a tiny glimpse of a healthier world.

Humanity is in the process of committing the crime of ecocide – the destruction of the environment created by God and all that that means for millions of species and of course humanity itself – especially the poor.

Covid 19 itself is likely a result of human arrogance and interference in the natural world, breaking barriers through trade in wild animals that faciliated the jump of the coronavirus into the human population.

What chance the pandemic is a significant turning point in changing our self-destructive ways?

Or are there too many vested interests committed to propagating the lie that our current capitalist ‘Western way of life’ can be sustained without destroying the planet? Is there too much pressure on the natural world caused by a rapidly expanding global population for a change of course to be achieved?

I pray for a turning point.

And if the response to the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that unimaginable and previously unthinkable politicial action is possible if there is will to change. It will take global co-operation at government level to make a significant difference.

The last few weeks have shown us that there is nothing inevitable about the destruction of the natural world. It is the result of human policies and human choices.

If something good comes out of the pandemic it will be that there is an increasing global consensus to make better policies and better choices regarding the world which we have the gift to inhabit.

Comments on what role you or I can have in making a difference are welcome.


8 thoughts on “The pandemic and ecocide: what chance a turning point in our destruction of the natural world?

  1. Mindfulness, in remembering that our relationship with the Creator is necessarily a relationship with creation–with attendant responsibilities. Easier written than effected, I know.

  2. The Psalms talk about the moon as a faithful witness, while all these birds we see daily but often do not appreciate simply glorify The Lord. Many were talking about the dawn chorus the other morning. There is no doubt we need to change our ways individually stating with The Church (Gods people). – see 2nd Chronicles chapter 7 verses 13-15. . While Psalm 102 verses 25 and 26 are a joy. 25. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.
    It makes you wonder what the New Heaven and the New Earth we have been promised will be like. We need to change and be changed. We need perseverance and patience at this time.

    • Thanks Tristan. Perhaps the pandemic has reminded us of our mortality and vulnerability, and the illusion that we are in control of our own lives let alone the world. And for Christians that future hope makes a huge difference in the present.
      I love birdwatching – John Stott wrote a book many years ago ‘Birds Our Teachers’ on lessons they teach us.

    • And may I say Colm (if we are on soul-refreshing topics) that, despite my daughers telling me to, I have not read much poetry, but your blog has been a revelation.

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