Corona memorial forest

On Current Affairs

Marita Coppes would love to see municipalities or individuals designating and protecting forests in memory of all those lost to the coronavirus.

Sônia Guajajara
Sônia Guajajara, indigenous spokeswoman from the rainforest

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus we need new words to adapt ourselves to the ‘new normal’. We are on our way to becoming a ‘six-foot-society’ by making ‘distance visits’ and we are creating ‘distance shame’ by reminding others – even squealing on them – to safeguard the six feet distance.

The new words help us to take responsibility for the consequences of the coronavirus but what I miss is reflection on the causes. And I don’t mean going into all the conspiracy theories that are humming around but rather contemplating an x-ray image of a lung. If you watch carefully you can see our lungs looking like trees standing upside down. The trachea looks like the trunk, the respiratory tract looks like the branches and the alveoli look like leaves.

Our lungs get hit very hard by the coronavirus and the resemblance to a tree reminds me of all the news items over the past year about the lungs of the earth, our forests. The bush fires in Australia, the murderous rate of deforestation of the Amazon since the rise to power of Bolsonaro in Brazil, but also the deforestation in the Netherlands. Relatively speaking deforestation moves at an even higher pace here than in the Amazon.

To me there is a direct relationship, a cause and effect, an ‘as inside so outside’. That is why – within the scope of dealing with the coronavirus – I would love to see us planting trees for every casualty on the pretext of #rememberingyou4thenext7generations. It would be lovely to see municipalities or individuals designating and protecting forests in memory of all those lost to the coronavirus, with different kinds of trees at six feet distance from one another.

First published on Marita’s blog – English translation by Srajan – maritacoppes.nl

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Marita Coppes

Marita Coppes is an artist and author. She runs a storytelling school in the Netherlands. maritacoppes.nl

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