Time for Nature to Take the Driver’s Seat

The Reverted World: Time for Nature to Take the Driver’s Seat
contribution: Anh Dinh

As the Covid-19 situation is urging all over the world, people are subject to social distancing –either refraining as much travelling as possible or keeping distance from other people. The incident indeed grants us with a chance and much time to step back and rethink our surroundings. To expand on this quest, Zone2Source call on artists and our public community to submit input on new perspectives on the relationship between humans and nature.

At the very same time that humans desert public areas and recoil into their domestic settings, the urban environment is indeed bursting with various life forms: animals, plants and flowers. Many images and footages of animals taking over normal human space have been reported all over the world, from the monkeys in Thailand, coyotes in the US, deer in Japan, to mountain goats in Wales … Now that the pandemic keeps humans in check in our domestic settings, it is time for other animals to come back to where they supposedly call “home” as well. After all this, what is the human space on this earth? What justify as criteria to set up borders between the human space versus animal space? Is it a signal that humans are not in full control of the earth, but only nature has the power to distribute its components?

The creatures that are coming out to the public are not only wild animals but also the ones that live among and rely on humans. While some are lucky enough to find new sources, some are not and starve to death, which lead us to think of this incident as a natural selection process, where those animals that can cope with the lack of human presence will survive. From that, should we rethink our way of interacting with city animals? Are humans responsible for the wellness and survival of such animals?

On another note, zoo animals are also at a dilemma because they had been kept captive for most of their life before the quarantine happened. Now that they are already used to human contact, it is unusual to remove human presence from the animals’ daily routines. It’s been reported that some zoo employees had to play as “visitors” once in a while to keep the animals up.If it is the case that zoo animals are in need of human interactions, is the issue of ethics in captivity still relevant? It is also the question of ecological imbalance. Should we still deserve our leadership over this planet? Even we still do, our privilege is the ability to choose to be in quarantine for protection, in contrast to zoo animals which have no free wills at all. For the sake of ecological equality, should we and how do we give zoo animals their free wills?

Besides the absence of human activities as a threat, one reason for this extraordinary transformation is the reviving environmental conditions such as clearer air and water quality. While is relieving and inspiring to see nature’s resilience by recovering from the human damages, it rings the alarm of our awareness of humans’ impact on nature. What are our solutions for a more sustainable environment during and after the time of quarantine, when the pandemic would pretty much modify the world’s economic, logistic, political, and ecological operation?

By rethinking our relationship with nature during the crisis, we not only fasten our way out of this but also make way for better acknowledgement of the post-traumatic world. We appreciate the submission of your thoughts and reactions to any of the perspectives above as well as stories, images, footages, and artworks of nature replacing humans in the urban setting or interpretations of the crisis. We will incorporate your responses and ideas in a discussion project that will be publicized weekly on our website and social media to keep our community aware and engaged, even when just from home. Your input will help diversity and intensify the understanding of this historical transformation we are in.

Open Call for multispecies storytelling