The Lessons Ecohealth Celebrates

The end of May brings a celebration of heroes who died defending us as well as the going forth of graduates entering their next phase of life. It all looked different this year, didn’t it? We at Ecohealth took time to evaluate the lessons we hope our grads learned, lessons we hope all of us have learned.

WE THE PEOPLE learned that unseen life, the tiniest of viruses, can topple the vulnerable as well as the healthy. Put aside all political views. Admit that many have died and changing understandings have clouded our landscape. We hope our 2020 grads have learned just how precious life is, and value life all the more.

WE THE PEOPLE learned that opinions divide. A hundred thousand armchair virologists tweeted and published their views as experts, and the murky waters got even murkier. Did you ever see The American President? In a presidential debate one candidate says, “People want leadership. And in the absence of genuine leadership, they will listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone…

They’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.” I think we’ve seen a lot of people drinking the sand of illusory answers.

The response in the movie is important. “…we’ve had Presidents who were beloved who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand ‘cause they’re thirsty. They drink the sand ‘cause they don’t know the difference.” In all the rhetoric on the airwaves and throughout social media, we’ve seen just that. People have embraced opinions and been willing to slay their neighbors with words to defend those positions, sowing division. We hope our 2020 grads learned that opinions divide, and we hope their parents are learning that as well.

WE THE PEOPLE have learned that people are more important than things. Whether we sheltered in place or had the opportunity to bring home the bacon, we all grieved the losses engendered by COVID-19. Many of our citizens died. Our frontline workers earned respect. Closed businesses were reminders of just how fragile our lives and livelihoods are…and in the midst of it, we learned to value people over things.

WE THE PEOPLE learned how to adapt. Many of us recognized the moral imperative of wearing a mask to save the life of someone around us. Many of us learned how to wash our hands a hundred times a day, and to wash them as we never had before. Many of us learned that sanitation is a part of life, not just a social function of our communities. As a species we learned to adapt to the unseen to save all we want to see.

As we close out this chapter in our history, it’s time to evaluate and write down what we have learned, the lessons we want to pass on to future generations. Our lessons in 2020 may not be over, but have we learned enough to survive? A thinking people who take the time to formulate their observations are better equipped than those who rush recklessly into danger. We at Ecohealth are trying to learn both the practical and esoteric lessons of this changed landscape. We hope our lessons resonate with you.