Within a few weeks, the world came to a screeching halt. You would not know it if you were a farmer in India, untethered from the internet, but for most of the world the coronavirus is overshadowing the news and everybody’s daily life. The virus is not just attacking our lower respiratory system but our psyche, our values and our bank accounts.
The world was spinning out of control thanks to greed, putting short-term gain over sustainability and ego before the common good. So maybe this is God’s way to put a halt on everything and give us a chance to re-group and reconsider our ways.
In the short term, we are focused on putting a halt to the spread of the disease, mitigate the anxiety and keeping civic order. The bigger question remains if will we learn from it or hurry back to our old ways: Exploiting natural resources, polluting our environment, abusing the helpless, justifying corporate greed, accepting unmoral behavior, and spreading false information, to name a few – or is this the historic moment of epic proportions that will lead us to craft a more sustainable, better world for all?
For sure, we will have accepted that for as much as we are separated, we are all connected and no wall, border or security system will change that. We will have learned that only a worldwide response will limit the damage to the current crisis.
Plagues are nothing new and a much better global response system could have been put in place a long time ago. Scientists, writers and Hollywood have long warned about the danger. The movie “Contagion,” released in 2011, is based on fiction that now eerily resembles the exact scenario we are living through. The reason that the current outbreak has become a “panic-pandemic” lies in the fact that we were ill prepared, and we don’t have a clear plan of how to resolve it. For this shortcoming we will be paying a ginormous price that at the time of publication cannot be assessed and will leave deep emotional, physical and financial scars that will test our resolves to the limit.
As soon as we have COVID-19 under control, we will be faced with an even bigger threat to our society: surviving the climate crisis. The only chance we have to come out on top of this challenge is to collaborate on a global scale and rethink our linear economic system that is based on taking but not replenishing, which nature teaches us is simply not sustainable.
In the meantime, let’s hope and work toward: “þetta reddast,” Icelandic for “everything will work out at the end.”
Marc Frey – media entrepreneur