Windemere, United Kingdom
Who’d have thought it would take a global pandemic and an economic crisis to help us see how we really affect life on our planet. The coronavirus sweeps through the world like a tsunami. Showing no discrimination; infecting people regardless of class or wealth; ignoring national borders; demanding attention, sweeping aside any attempts to deliver “business as usual”.
The ugly side of human selfishness is exposed. People stockpile necessities at the expense of others, ignoring requests to stay at home, refusing to keep social distance.
Yet it shines a light on the strength of community. As thousands volunteer to help, waves of applause ripple up and down the country in appreciation of keyworkers. The heroes who place themselves in danger every day. Providing vital services, fighting the virus, caring for the vulnerable and the sick.
Companies put aside their competitive focus and profitmaking activities, transforming products and services to overcome shortages in equipment and facilities.
Families spend more time together. A renewed discovery of the value of nature and outdoor activity as people find they have more time on their hands. People walk where they once used cars or buses. They grow their own vegetables, make their own bread and buy produce from local shops and farms.
This crisis is exactly what we needed to galvanise us. Drawing us together as one global community. Seeing more clearly what we are capable of achieving together. Bringing into focus what needs to be done globally to secure our future on this planet.
The economic cycle is broken, or at least disrupted. Usual ways of being have changed – irreversibly, maybe for better. A search for different answers has begun and a new kind of normal will quickly take shape.
Our liability could become our opportunity. Necessity is the mother of invention. As the old ways of doing things start to break down under the pressure of a global crisis, we become mindful of new ways of doing things.
Enforced social isolation dramatically accelerates virtual working. Much of the face-to- face activity thought necessary for business; meetings, briefings etc, are now firmly rooted in the digital world. At home people rely more now on the internet for connecting with family, shopping, entertainment and social activity. Working in the virtual space saves money and it may also save the planet.
As the daily busyness calms for a while, we have time to stop and think. We can reflect on some of the positives we are experiencing as well as the limitations. We can start to re- imagine our collective future where our changed behaviours will allow us to live more inbalance with nature than before.
Cleaner air under newly created “no fly zones” is prompting conversations about reducing costly business travel whilst cutting atmospheric pollutants. Dramatic reductions in harmful gases, typically created from petrol and diesel vehicles, produce healthier environments in our cities. The canals of Venice run cleaner with newly returned fish, as a result of lockdown.
As industrial activity falls, it results in dramatic reductions in greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland recorded a 25% drop in China’s carbon dioxide missions over the four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year.
Covid-19 comes on the tail of record levels of rainfall, hurricanes, bush fires, droughts and ice melts. We are seeing the effects of climate change all around us and, along with the ongoing loss of biodiversity, this represents no less of a threat to our global society than the current Coronavirus crisis. Probably more!
Companies, governments and communities are becoming more sensitive to other threats that face humanity. They are better informed and experienced to take action. Dialogue is taking place around how a social crisis has created wholescale changes in behaviour. This model could also be applied to the climate crisis. A new agenda for change is emerging, gaining traction and raising questions that will never go away.
We need leadership that embraces a new way of thinking and a new way of working. Leadership that liberates brilliance. Harnessing that brilliance to drive change and transformation, to build restorative environmental practices.
We can join up the dots. We can see the bigger picture forming before our eyes. Our experience of dealing with Covid-19 is teaching us much. It is our duty to apply these lessons to one of the biggest crises we will ever face, the climate crisis. Our approach in dealing with the virus could be applied to this challenge too. All our experience to date comes together. Pulling us into our next set of challenges. Challenges we have to tackle as a global community that the world needs us to address now. Challenges that if tackled now could restore a balance between ourselves and nature.
The time for making change happen has come. Are you up for it?
For further information
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