Much of science fiction would have this pandemic started by an evil leader to dominate the world. Human beings would fall ill with a mysterious disease creating much psychological and economic damage.
People would die and governments would weaken and fall.
But suppose our storyline follows another plot, one where Mother Nature, weary of humans’ failure to heed earlier warning signs — such as water unfit to drink, air too dirty to breathe, human bodies with toxic cancer-causing chemicals — strikes back. So exasperated is Mother Nature she sends yet a more powerful signal, a pandemic the inhabitants cannot fight except with extreme measures.
Suppose the only way to avoid illness and death is physical isolation, driving less and shopping less for several months?
Eventually the world’s scientists develop a vaccine allowing return to normal activities. But suppose humans like what they gained from Mother Nature’s anger?
Suppose folks embrace clean air and water, the pleasure of growing their own food, even if just a tomato plant on a balcony? And suppose support for polluting industries stops and we invest in alternative energy? Suppose folks see how endless accumulation of stuff is not what brings happiness?
And what if more people got to know their neighbors, had dinner parties and cookouts, or just sat in conversation with one another? The possibilities are endless.
What will we have learned, and what will we value when this pandemic is over?