It’s taken me ages to work out how to start this article. Covid-19 is provoking so much change across the globe. There is much hardship, loss, pain and suffering. And yet I also see HOPE.
By writing an article about hope I do not want to be insensitive to those of you who are losing loved ones, stuck in places you do not want to be, financially struggling, or suffering in any other way.
But I do want to paint a picture of the good that Covid-19 will do us. This thing which may well be the earth’s way of fighting back against the strain we have been meting out on it. And we need to take full advantage of the opportunity it affords us.
Hope for the global climate and ecosystems
Bigger picture, I see a turn-around point in 2020 which could never have come without Covid-19.
Governments were never going to implement what was necessary in terms of air travel, road travel, etc. in order to reduce emissions. And yet here we are with Covid-19 (which somehow seems so much more personal), and people are willing to stop: Stop flying, stop driving, close down polluting factories. You could ask why it took something like this to make governments put down laws, when climate change is a reality and very personal indeed for many people across the globe. Good question. But we got there.
All of this is great for the environment . We’ve probably all seen pictures of fish appearing in Venice’s canals, or nitrogen dioxide pollution levels dropping drastically over China / Central Europe. I’m sure there are many more versions of this all across the world.
So with our window for halting the rise in global temperatures decreasing, maybe this is the best thing that could have happened to our planet.
We have a huge opportunity to decide how “normal” we want things to get once we come out of lock-down. Do we really want the aviation industry bailed out? Do we want to go back to flying / driving / polluting / shopping in the same way? Is there a different way to invest in the future of our planet?
Could we redefine the way we live, now that we’re used to living with less? What might that look like? Answers on a postcard to…
I’m not sure I have any answers right now, but I sure do want to ask the questions!
Those of us who have travelled have long bemoaned the fact that the West does not seem to see the importance of community in the same way that the rest of the world does. And yet during this Covid-19 crisis, I am seeing people pulling together in ways that are unprecedented (I had to get that word in here somehow!).
Street champions are working to make sure that people around them are looked after and / or checked in on. People are singing together in the streets. Street parties are happening (from the safety of their own front doors). Extended families are phoning / zooming / skyping / house-partying one another more regularly. And nuclear families are spending more than just a few minutes in each other’s company each day. On a bigger scale, more countries than ever before are working together. They realise that the more we can act and share together, the more future all of us have. How amazing is that?
All this is leading, I think, towards more care and compassion for our fellow human beings. We’re all struggling with different aspects of survival at the moment. Financial worries, too much job stress or too little, illness or lack of being able to do what we would rather be doing, not finding supplies… But we see that we are all in this together: family, neighbours, friends, even strangers. Smiles are being exchanged from our two metres apart, acknowledging each other.
Compassion and empathy are beautiful things! Could this lead us to be more compassionate in a world that had got rather too busy to notice each other?
Hope for ourselves
One thing Covid-19 is doing for us is making many people less busy. Not the case for everyone by all means – and apologies on this one to all the amazing doctors, nurses, teachers, health workers, delivery drivers etc. etc. for whom this is not the case. Finally we’re seeing the value these people bring to our society, and yet are mostly underpaid and undervalued.
For those who cannot work at the moment, for whatever reason, life has slowed down. Majorly.
For a long time Western life has been getting more and more manic. Technology has enabled us to do so much more, and we have filled it to the brim.
That’s not always a good thing. We’ve lost the ability to slow down, to smell the roses, to meditate, and to enjoy and appreciated the small things in life.
What if we as a global society could re-learn to slow down? To get in touch with nature and realise how closely we need to be aligned to and in touch with the earth? The number of people I have seen out walking or jogging recently has massively increased (for the moment, unless we go into total lock down) – helped by amazing spring weather in the UK. I’m spending increasing amounts of time outside just listening. Now with less traffic noise, the bird noise is more obvious and it’s a joy to hear.
More and more is being offered online, whether academic (learn something new), musical (join online choirs), artistic (numerous Youtube and other videos showing you how to do all sorts of things), spiritual (leaving this one for you to work out as there are so many different strands!) or physical (e.g. Joe Wicks’ morning workout). How amazing that our technology also allows these things. So there are all sorts of things we can be and do if we are intentional with our time. What a privilege.
This is our chance!
What if this is our chance? Our possibility of slowing ourselves down. Of becoming more in touch with ourselves, our fellow humans, and our planet.
More questions raised in my mind:
- What do you want to continue doing / do less of / change?
- What do you want to learn from this time in isolation?
- Who would you like to be in the world?
- How would you like to engage with your community / family from now on?
- What would you like to start or get involved with that is going on locally?
- How do you envisage the world being from here on in?
- What would you like your government to do differently as a result of all of this crisis?
May we as a global family be able to be more human, more caring, more tuned in to our planet than ever before. May we heal together, care for one another and recognise our place as part of a huge global community, caring for planet earth as we can.
I would love to hear your comments on what you think we can do differently as a result of this crisis. Where do you see the hope, the opportunities and challenges facing us later in 2020 and into 2021 as we fashion a brave new world?
28th March 2020