The effects of the coronavirus epidemic in reducing travel, and economic activity in general, are exactly what the world needs. Climate change caused by carbon and other emissions, and the destruction of habitats and ecosystems by unrestrained economic growth, are the greatest threats to life – ours and that of other species – we face. Survival depends on controlling them.

The coronavirus crisis is an opportunity for our species to change direction, to limit and halt the devastation we are wreaking on the planet. The great question is whether our political systems are capable of taking advantage of this crisis – as we failed to do with the financial crisis of 2008 - and reforming the way we live to make future existence possible for all Earth’s inhabitants.

Martin Brown