Could the Corona crisis provide an opportunity to create a new normal, to re-evaluate societal values and prioritise equality and sustainability?
This could be a once-in-a-century opportunity to reset the economy and to escape the clutches of high-carbon industry that have caused the climate catastrophe.
According to Dame Polly Courtice, head of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership: ‘’For some, the crisis will harden whatever views they previously held – but for others, it will shape new possibilities and understanding.
The reality is likely to be profoundly changed forever. This is the opportunity to shape the future, not just respond to it.
There are some principles we can trust in and rely upon, such as the laws of nature, the laws of physics, the interconnectedness of humans and natural systems, alongside the emerging clarity about our interdependence and what we value as societies, and the importance of science to inform evidence-led decision making.’’
This crisis is not a binary clash between health and wealth. It provides a scorched-earth chance to propel a just energy transition that can overcome a resistant political economy. It’s an epochal opportunity by political leadership that requires extraordinary vision and courage.
Former Amnesty International secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said the pandemic has challenged existing definitions of wealth and highlighted the world’s defining problem, “affluenza”.
“Covid-19 has shown us the things that we thought countries would not be prepared to do are perfectly doable.” It will be difficult. But there is hope. The crisis is proof. A global response is possible. But, in the case of climate change, a global, coordinated response, larger than the sum of its parts, is required.
Nature has been holding its breath since the first Earth Day protests this week 50 years ago.
Ever wondered how Earth Day began? 10% of the US population ventured outdoors and protested together against dangerously serious issues concerning toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides.
Since then, Earth Day has been assigned a different focus each year — this year’s is Climate Action.
On Wednesday, Earth Day 2020’s watermark was distinctive. This time it was not about the number of activists on the streets. It was about the billions of people who stayed inside. And when, for the first time in the global protest movement’s 50-year history, mother nature could exhale.
Could this be an invitation to our species — to reset our relationship with the Earth and to recognise the interrelated history between disease outbreaks in humans and the fragmentation of wilderness, as suggested in a webinar held to mark the global environmental event?
Or could this unnatural phenomenon be placing us in unprecedented contact with naturally occurring pathogens to which humans have developed no immunity?
Suggesting that political authorities were not sufficiently equipped to act as informed stewards of planetary heritage, webinar pannelists said: “We actually have to educate our so-called authorities, their way of dealing with our inheritance is unacceptable.”
The “most scientifically responsible research” had traced the pandemic to “appalling wet markets, which bring living wildlife into desperately inhumane conditions and slaughter them.
There is no logical rationale to do so.” We were reminded that “there is no logic unless it’s eco-logical.”
Fighting for climate change requires a collaborative approach between all spheres of society.
It’s a lifetime chance for the future we want.
Acknowledgement: Richard Calland – Mail & Guardian: A lifetime chance for the future we want; Gaylor Montmasson-Clair – Senior Economist at Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS); & Kevin Bloom – Earth Day: Nature and Societal Reset in the Age of Covid-19’, Daily Maverick.
Top image courtesy of: downtoearth.org.in