GIGO OR BINGO? Let’s bend the curve…

Posted on
12 November 2020

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) is a computer science phrase which means bad input will result in bad output. The phrase is often used to describe failures in decision-making due to faulty or incomplete data. Today, when our planet is facing an ordeal of pain and devastation induced by human actions, the phrase could be reset to sound the alarm. An alarm set by Newton’s Third Law of Motion and reinforced by Buddhist belief in Karma, the principle of cause and effect. An alarm that sounds the wrongs of human action and lights the beacon of hope for betterment. An alarm that warns of vanishing biodiversity and habitat loss. The current state of the global environment is not attributable to an individual or a nation alone, but to the collective impact of human activity. The adage “As you sow, so shall you reap” has never been so true! What logic could best explain the universal truth unfolding discreetly in all forms and in all places, the consequence of human activity. Planet earth is suffering and so will humans if what is done is not undone and if environmental sustenance is not taken seriously at the least. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world in a manner possible only in nightmares. The size of nations did not matter, the wealth of nations did not matter, and the location of nations did not matter. It was only time that mattered for the virus to spread into every nook and corner of the world. On the other hand, Covid-19 is a reminder of how globalization has connected all nations and all peoples, and a stark reminder of how vulnerable human beings are. Panic creeped in when the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of Covid-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on the 30
th of January 2020. The fact that the virus was a new strain and there was no vaccine or medicine available to control it brought in fear, and the media reports of soring Covid-19 related deaths around the world almost projected the virus as a death squad on a rampage. 

As the pandemic spread across the globe, businesses and all forms of travel came to a halt. Movement of people got restricted and several countries locked down to control the virus spread. The shutting down of grocery shops and food marts, vegetable markets and convenient stores made items of basic necessity scarce. In such difficult times nature followed its course undisturbed. Birds were chirping as usual, plants were flowering and fruiting as usual, and rivers and streams were flowing as usual. Everything in nature appeared normal. Only the human world was affected by Covid-19. That was the time when the race for developing Covid-19 vaccine set off. It was a race to help save human lives. It was a race of urgency and universal goodwill. Top global scientists and virologists plunged into work tirelessly to understand the biology of Covid-19 and develop a vaccine. The task was tedious and clinical trials are said to take months and even years to arrive at a sound conclusion. But there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. The only constrain is the race against time, a race to discover the vaccine before Covid-19 turns disastrous. 

The human spirit of unity in combating Covid-19 and the help and assistance rendered by developed nations to developing countries is a display of unity in diversity, the innate nature of human beings that is shrouded during ordinary circumstances.  The concern for our lives and the lives of our loved ones, the lives of friends, neighbors and countrymen, and by in large the lives of people around the world is the universal feeling of being human. If we value human lives in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and can work together with a singular goal and objective, we can also get together to heal the wounds of our planet and make our world a better place. The post Covid-19 recovery plan should not be for economic recovery alone. It should also be a plan for recovery of nature. A plan to help “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss, rejuvenate ecosystem functions and ecosystem services which are deteriorating worldwide. And above all, a plan to heal nature and to ensure sustenance of life on earth, and that would be Bingo!

Tandin Wangdi

Program Specialist
WWF Bhutan