Umar Saud is a percussionist in Quadrum, the band, and WWF-Pakistan’s Goodwill Ambassador.

“Amidst the crippling outbreak of COVID-19, nature has literally taken over for a moment, which is lasting longer than expected.”

Humans are supposed to be the superior species begotten by the Creator, with the highest level of intelligence and a supposedly substantial emotional quotient. Unfortunately, taken over by consumerism, these claims about humanity have proven wrong. In the rut of confusion and not comprehending the mantras of ‘living beyond our means’ with ‘making ends meet’ we have become selfish rather than being selfless – contrary to what we were supposed to be on Earth.

© Mauri Rautkari / WWF

"Industrialization has done more damage than good to our planet."

Industrialization has done more damage than good to our planet. Cities suffocating with smog, forests burning for the good of a few, plastic waste from manufacturing industries polluting the oceans, irresponsibility of the big corporates who conceal this behind the veneer of corporate social responsibility has brought us to a crossroad where something drastic has to be done. Despite all the efforts of environmentalists, opinion makers, conservationists, and enthusiasts, flags were not raised high enough to make people realize that we had invaded and destroyed the habitats of almost every other species on Earth, with an almost shameless sense of entitlement. May it be developing skyscrapers in cities and building networks of roads or creating access to the most beautiful natural landscapes and destroying them with human filth, we have selfishly turned every place into a money-making opportunity, giving back to nature only as a joke worth mentioning on channels such as National Geographic and Discovery

© WWF-Pakistan

How else would you have gotten to breathe clean air in Lahore during the lockdown, which only a few months earlier was the most hazardous and deadliest in the world? How else would the sky be so blue during the week? How else would the wild animals have felt secure in their habitats? How else would we get to see clean oceans and beaches, less burdened by plastic waste hurled by humankind? And above all, how else would we have appreciated the beauty of our natural world and had a chance to be intimate with nature?

All these questions need answering, not to prove anything or to be right or wrong, but for ourselves to make amends and realize how difficult we have made our own lives because of self-imposed compulsions of filling our trolley with junk that eventually makes our planet a less hospitable place to live. No matter how much you sell the idea of making terrestrial bodies like the moon or Mars the next destination, where you were sent by the Creator will always be a better place to live. The choice is entirely ours.

Conserve today for a better tomorrow.

Amidst the crippling outbreak of COVID-19, nature has literally taken over for a moment, which is lasting longer than expected, all across the world. It makes us wonder how this industrial mayhem would have come to a halt otherwise. Now that it is a question of saving human lives, with the lockdown in place, we have begun to realize (which I still doubt) how endangered wildlife all over the world has felt when humans claimed and encroached on their land, making them unwillingly retreat to a compromised habitat thereby causing distress. Now that an intangible menace has incapacitated the entire human race, which is forced into lockdown for its survival, some of us feel the pain of birds, animals, fish and insects who suffer at our behest, some of which have become extinct because of humanity’s capitalist race and technological advancement.

The outbreak has awakened the realization that self-created haste and urgency was never really of any consequence, and has prioritized what we truly need for survival. Deadlines postponed, targets reconsidered, plans cancelled, vacations rescheduled, weddings made simpler and smaller, working from home, family time valued, spirituality revived, bodies rejuvenated, time crawling than running by. A lack of urgency is one of the gifts given to us all during this pandemic. 

© Mauri Rautkari / WWF