This coronavirus crisis represents a critical time in the evolution of our society, or at least changes in our behaviors and our culture. We need to change in many ways to continue living in balance with the planet and this challenge provides us with a great opportunity to do just that. However, we could also slide in the wrong way. Please join me in identifying both the good and the bad that could happen over the next year to 18 months.
- We might realize that we are all in this together and pull together to combat this virus. We could then apply that realization to other critical challenges, e.g., climate change, other pandemics, income inequality, racial inequality, and gender inequality.
- On the other side of the coin, we might not learn how to work together and our democracy might fail.
- We might realize that commuting to an office is expensive, inefficient, and dangerous to our health and to the planet. We all might switch to working from our homes, saving us time, costs, and energy. As a result, we would dramatically reduce our dependency on and misuse of fossil fuels. Our greenhouse gas emissions would drop, and the related health impacts and premature deaths would decrease as well.
- We might all make the switch to having our groceries delivered to our homes – a big time and cost saving step. Just think of how much more time you will have if you didn’t have to commute or shop.
- We might find different ways to educate ourselves and break down the barriers and costs to online learning.
- We might find a way through the cumbersome medical arena that works for all the people.
- We might all learn how to take care of each other (especially single people and the elderly), learn how to check in more often, and use video-conferencing for all sorts of things.
- We might have fallen in love with the great outdoors by the end of this crisis, and we might all be heathier and have adopted heathier outdoor activities as a result of this period of time.
- The international community, and especially the public health systems, should be stronger and better interconnected as a result of this experience and hopefully will be able to respond and work much better together on a full range of challenges that are global in nature.
This is just a start. So after you have taken all the actions you can do to slow the spread of the virus please send me your ideas of how things might change. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have to make the most of a bad situation. So let’s think of where we want to be 6 months or 18 months from now and make sure our actions help us get there.
Ned Tillman is a climate and health advocate, a blogger, and an award-winning author. His latest book, The Big Melt, describes how a community can come together to help everyone fight a threat to their community.