One day, and globally all over the world, Man domesticated the dog. It was over 12,000 years ago. Both shared the same prey, the same shelters. A friendship was created which continues to this day. The man was hunter-gatherer and moved in small tribes of about 70 members, according to the seasons, the flora and fauna that fed him, his tribe and his four-legged companion.
One day, another day, Man became interested in the seasonal plants that he could cultivate and produced every 3 to 6 months. It was 6 to 8,000 years ago. And Man cultivated cereals (barley, corn, millet, quinoa, sorghum, wheat, …), bulb vegetables (peas, lentils, beans, peanuts, …), fiber plants (flax, hemp, cotton, …) And cucurbits.
One day, therefore, from a nomad, Man became sedentary. He created fixed dwellings and protections against unwanted animals and the possible assault of other men by wanting his reserves.
And so, Man domesticated large mammals: sheep, goats and pigs 10,000 years ago, cows 8,000 years ago, horses and donkeys 6,000 years ago. And also the gallinaceae and the pigeon.
Thus, 4.000 years before JC, the Man had fixed what marks it still today: the fixed dwelling and its protection (village then city), its food of culture (cereals and vegetables with bulbs) and of breeding to which we must add the production of some “free” trees and fruits at the start and the abundant and available sea and freshwater animals (fish and crustaceans).
One day, therefore, Man prospered and multiplied. And when there were too many, he migrated. Thus the Gauls were 10 million around 400 and 300 BC. J.C, which brought them to Rome (-390), Delphi (-279) and Asia Minor. Depending on whether the climate was favorable, it multiplied (for example low Middle Ages, 1000-1500), or when the climate was unfavorable, it decreased by famine or disease (for example high Middle Ages, 500-900).
For thousands of years, humans have chosen and improved the flora and animals around them. He had domesticated some complementary herbivorous mammals, the other animals being generally considered as harmful or wild.
Environment and Nature
Man has therefore shaped, globally on Earth, the environment that surrounds him. Few wild spaces, free from human intervention. The Man intervened on all the spaces which were useful to him and which he could modify to his taste. The flora and fauna meet its needs and pleasures.
The Environment has encroached on Nature until it almost disappears. Nature is spontaneous, without the intervention of Man. The Environment is nature organized by Man.
Nature and the Environment have no borders, no barriers. Nature is not exempt from developing diseases in humans. In the XIVth century, the black plague would have been born in Asia from a drought which would have pushed the gerbils towards Chinese cities then the black rats towards the cities of Europe. Migratory birds displace non-zoonotic viruses which affect, for example, birds. It was said during confinement that Nature resumed its rights by seeing un-domesticated, wild animals, walking in the streets of cities, by seeing plants growing in deserted streets, by hearing the songs of birds.
Man believes he dominates the environment. This is not the case.
We have learned a lot from the Covid-19 from human, animal, climate and environmental reports.
- Many pandemics or recent diseases have arisen from animals, most often from bats (paradoxical anagram: virus strain). Zoonosis, an infectious disease that spreads from vertebrates to humans, uses an intermediate host (pangolin for Covid-19, great ape for AIDS)
- To feed his animals, Man widens his Environment and cultivates new lands, therefore deforests most often and uncovers hosts of Nature and imbalance of ecosystems composed of Animals, plants, soils, reservoirs fauna harboring a biodiversity of microbes, some of which could be pathogenic for humans. Everyone remembers that the drying up of the wetlands of Alsace made the frogs and storks disappear.
- Now Nature is a whole that is balanced. Animals, insects and birds whose ecosystems are disturbed are getting closer to humans, vulnerable to unknown infectious agents. Among the zoonoses, have known tuberculosis, brucellosis, rabies and even small pox. And today SARS-Cov1 (or SARS, from 2002 to 2004 in Guangdong Province in China) and SARS-Cov2 are zoonoses. Tomorrow, with the notable acceleration of pandemics, there may be a Sars-Cov3 or a mutation of Covid-19 into Covid-20, the appearance of a new pathogenic microbe from an ancestor that was not not even a zoonosis transmitted from Man to Animal!
Man, Animal, Climate and Environment
Let’s go back: Man has bonded with the Animal. Not all animals. Man, Animal and Nature have a balance which is broken by the Environment created by and for Man.
In this balance, the climate can be versatile. But Man, by expanding his environment, especially through the city and transport, is upsetting the climate. We agree that in the current climate change, warming is linked to human activity which impacts on its environment. This warming can, for example, develop Chikungunya, Nile disease, and Zika in Europe and strongly impact humans. The drought in some regions can displace the terrestrial and aerial fauna towards other regions. The melting of the 20 million km² permafrost in the north of the northern hemisphere (North America, Siberia, Greenland). can move, attract or disperse species with consequences unknown to date for humans. Rising seas and oceans can change coasts and coasts and invade many cities. Etc. Man has a definite impact on Nature.
With the Covid-19, Man has shown that he is not capable of mastering everything. The Anthropocene – time when Man dominates Nature, commonly dated since the discovery of the steam engine – and the Covid-19 crisis reveal to Man that he cannot dominate Nature to this day, except at live in a totally closed universe, like a bubble, a huge greenhouse, where everything would be under his control. As it is not the case, Man must live with Nature.
The momentum that preceded Covid-19 for the past 30 years has been broken. It is called into question on energy sources, raw materials, the expansion of urbanized and concrete areas, etc. which impact Nature with pollution, the reduction of the living spaces of fauna and flora species, even transform Man by urbanizing it and weakening it towards nature [une question reste ouverte à ce jour : l’Homme plus en contact avec la Nature a-t-il été moins contaminé par le Covid-19 que l’Homme urbain ?]. The destruction of Nature is accelerating, entire « wild » areas, very many species are endangered.
Wanting to resume the movement as left in the fall of 2019 would be a profound and even fatal error.
The world of yesterday is not the answer. We must invent the world of tomorrow. You have to invent it now, today. In a year, when yesterday’s machine has been restarted, it will be too late.
The answer to Covid-19 is that the world of tomorrow is a balance between humans, animals, climate and the environment. It remains to locate this balance. It is not a question of planting a tree to give oneself a good conscience, but of imagining how this balance can live with what Man wishes according to his experiences and his knowledge.
What future do we want? Get to work quickly!
I’m going back to diving …