Both the current pandemic and on-going global warming threaten hundreds of thousands if not millions of people all around the world. Numbers so large that we tend to get immobilized and numb to the statistics that change everyday. But there is a lot we can do and need to be doing everyday to fight both of these tragedies.
Trying to get some perspective on these challenges, I have noticed that there are many parallels between these two crises. One appears to be more urgent in the short term (months), and the other more significant in the longer term (years), but both require immediate responses right now- in developing and implementing a plan of attack. So what can we learn from each of these crises to help us fight both of these global challenges at the same time?
- Our federal government dismissed both crises initially.
- They came late to the novel coronavirus crisis, putting many people at risk. They are still ignoring the climate crisis and are pursuing strategies that will make it worse – putting many more people at risk.
- The federal government is struggling to figure out what strategies to pursue against the pandemic. They are still delaying action for fighting global warming except for a promise to plant trees.
- Both crises require real leadership at the local, state, federal, and global levels and extensive professional cooperation and collaboration between all countries is critical.
- Both crises require significant actions by each and every one of us. Many of us are taking both of these crises seriously and taking steps that will help. Some of us don’t think either crisis is real.
- Both crises offer us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and create a more successful future – one more in balance with the realities of the limits on our natural resources and our impacts on the Earth.
- The solutions to these crises are complicated and will require the best science and scientists to solve.
- They both will require us all to take action.
- The sooner we act, the lesser the damage and the greater the chance that we can recover.
As we continue to learn more about the pandemic, let’s keep in mind lessons learned from fighting both crises. Let’s put solutions into effect that will benefit both fights. In any stimulus package, let’s incentivize the practices (working from home, less travel, etc) and the businesses (clean energy, flexible manufacturing) which we need to solve both crises. Let’s act as effectively and timely as we can. This is the time to shift our society to a more sustainable one. These are big problems that will affect the entire human race. It’s time for us all to come together to solve them both.