What does ‘Cast a long shadow’ mean?
‘Something or someone that casts a long shadow has considerable influence on other people or events, usually negative.’
I have been thinking about the long shadows being cast by the pandemic and the climate fires.
Thinking about the pandemic:
- Worldwide there have been 942,000 deaths, of those 197,000 have been in the US and, of those, 748 have been people in King County. From what I know, dying from COVID is not a pain free, peaceful passing. And we know most these people died without family or friends at their side.
- Business closures are increasing. As of August 31st, over 160,000 businesses have closed. Of those, 60% won’t be reopening.
- People have lost their jobs, and many of those could least afford to take the hit.
- In classroom education is up in the air….indefinitely
- We still have spotty shortages of PPE and inadequate testing capacity. While mask use has increased, 11% of adults say they won’t wear a mask.
Now the climate fires:
- Our air quality has been unhealthy for a number of days, much worse than Beijing. I went out for a walk because I was going nuts and it was the equivalent of smoking 7 cigarettes. Note: the people in Portland have been breathing hazardous air. The only way to be outside safely is with a N-95 mask – see shortage above.
- Over 587,000 acres have burned in WA so far. California and Oregon have fared much worse. Over 500,000 people and countless animals have been evacuated.
- Fourteen people have died so far. I don’t know how many animals have died.
- The forecast for improving air seems to be a moving target.
While these too shall pass, I have been thinking about both catastrophes from a ‘long shadow’ perspective.
People will be grieving the loss of their loved ones from COVID, the loss of their livelihood, and the loss of the world they once knew for a long time to come. Yes, businesses fail all the time. But this feels different due to the magnitude and the fact starting over in a pandemic isn’t a slam dunk. The wealth disparities and impact on people of color will/could get even worse. And what about the kids and their education – can they bounce back?
I think the climate fires have foreshadowed the world we will be living in as our climate continues to change. Now I don’t think that grim future is all that far away!
I realize this isn’t a very uplifting way to end the week. Then I found this quote:
“….I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”A Christmas Carol
Back on Monday, hopefully breathing cleaner air by then. Have a safe weekend.