Then, now, future
When I was seven years old, COVID-19 didn’t exist.
Growing up in Wakefield in the 70s was very different: Hillcrest was an empty open field; the Havre Wakefield was a wetland; going to Lac Philippe was free and not crowded; I lived on Rockhurst and we used to go into the “Hundred Acre Wood” to play.
Now, I live on Lewis and I walk in those woods every day since COVID struck. I think about my niece, who is six, and whose face clouds over when she is asked not to go so close to her grandmother. And how powerless we all feel because of COVID.
I think about the future we are leaving for our kids, and I think about how blessed we are to live in this little gem of a village. I think about things I ‘can’ do. And I think about the links between COVID and the importance of the protection of nature and biodiversity.
COVID is a zoonotic disease – one that has jumped from animal to human – and the rise in zoonotic diseases – like COVID, Lyme Disease and West Nile virus – are linked to climate change and land-use change. Seventy-five per cent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. There are currently 1.7 million zoonotic viruses, and 263 have transmitted to humans. It is impossible to predict where or when the next pandemic outbreak will be, but studies show that epidemic diseases may become more frequent as climate change progresses.
The time to protect our planet is now. We need dedicated stewardship of nature and biodiversity — in every village, town, and province across Canada.
There isn’t much we can do about COVID, but we can help nature and keep Wakefield green. Development will keep coming to Wakefield; let’s be wise about what we allow, and protect what is there.
Help protect Hundred Acre Wood in any way you can: support us on Facebook; write to your municipality; appeal to your local MP; pledge if you’re able. We’re all in this together. And above all else, be kind and be safe.