BITS ‘N’ PIECES
The lockdown has created a crop-growing revolution that enthusiasts say could transform how we think about nature, food security and our communities.
Growing vegetables has long been hailed as one of the most beneficial of pastimes and an initial run on vegetable seeds in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a bumper crop of early seedlings, which gardeners are sharing using social media and community groups to spread the good news about the “good life”.
And, as any long-term gardener will tell you, the process may be exactly what a stressed-out nation needs right now. A Danish study in 2018 found that 10 weeks of gardening produced similar benefits to 10 weeks of cognitive behavioural therapy.
COVID-19 is a reminder that human health and the Earth's health are closely linked. There are about eight million species of life on the Earth, of which humans are just one. These include an estimated 1.7 million unidentified viruses, recognized as the type that may infect people, existing in mammals and water birds. Viruses and other pathogens may be easily spread among animals that are kept close together; or to the humans who handle, transport, sell, purchase or consume them, when sanitary and protective practices are not followed. Any one of these could be transferred to humans, if we don’t take preventative measures now.
The most fundamental way to protect ourselves from coronaviruses is to prevent destruction of nature, which drives the spread of diseases. Where ecosystems are healthy and biodiverse, they are resilient, adaptable and help to regulate diseases. Pathogens that are passed around among reservoirs in animals are more likely to reach dead – and effectively die off – where there is greater diversity.