The year 2020 began with the world getting afflicted with a pandemic so unyielding that even after four gruelling months of advanced research (all over the world) no one has been able to find a definitive cure for it. This is what we all know and believe and remember. But, the consequences of human actions leading to Australian fires and killing 1 billion + animals are forgotten, ALREADY. Wish we reacted more on that, and not just for the pandemic. Eventually we shall realize that nature and economy ought to be linked.
All of humanity is currently holding back its normal social and economic activities to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases. The global lockdown and social distancing is taking its obvious toll on the economy and people’s day-to-day lives.
While the situation is undoubtedly grim, we do not need to keep a grim approach all the time. This time could be a great opportunity to turn away from a dog-eat-dog era to a benevolent new world. This crisis is hovering over our world like a dark cloud but not without some really bright silver linings. Here are some of those silver linings:
Environmental Changes: As a result of worldwide lockdowns, many of the pollution causing activities have come to a halt resulting in some very positive changes in the environment. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this pandemic is also acting as a detox for our planet.
- Air pollution levels have dropped across the world (especially in the world’s most polluted cities like Beijing and New Delhi).
- Global warming has reduced and thus climate change has slowed down over the past few months.
- Reduced global warming can help keep the temperatures at desirable levels which would bring significant reduction in forest fires thus saving billions of animals and plants.
- Low human activity also means no road accidents and pollution-related deaths.
Changes in Spending Behaviour of People: We’re seeing a sea change in the way we are spending our money in this time of global quarantine. Since the economy is experiencing a deep recession, people are beginning to spend more cautiously.
- We’re spending only on what we need and not on what we want.
- The habit of endless borrowing that leads to overspending has dropped significantly.
- Hopefully, we can learn from our old (bad) spending habits and use this time to learn smarter spending habits for a more sustainable lifestyle in the future.
Emotional Impact: While social distancing and lockdowns are making people more isolated than ever, it is also giving people a chance to be more sensitive human beings.
- People have begun to appreciate and prioritize their family and home much better.
- Everyone is realizing that love and support is what they need to keep going on.
- People will, hopefully, become more empathetic towards each other, including towards animals and the environment too.
Social Impact: Hopefully, humanity will begin to take a fresh new social outlook.
- People are beginning to think beyond themselves now as they need to think about society and nature as well since that’s required to control the disease.
- People can become more responsible as citizens with the right thought, conduct and speech.
- More and more individuals, families and communities understand the importance of good health and immunity and are beginning to make efforts for it.
- Media can (and should) use this time to share useful and positive information and help bridge any communication gap between the people and the administration.
Change in Political Outlooks: This crisis has revealed the real face of political leaders across the world. It has helped people differentiate between good, efficient leaders/governments from the bad, inefficient ones.
- People are eventually finding out which leaders are worth choosing since some leaders have shown true leadership in this time of crisis.
- People are realizing that political leaders’ actions can have powerful effects on citizens, corporations, institutions and even other countries.
- Voters can utilize this time to reflect on their choices for the future elections for their country/state/local body.
Developmental Impact: The time is testing us but it is also inspiring us to make developmental changes for more efficient systems in healthcare, governance, technology and other domains.
- As nations, hopefully, our “wasted” defence budgets shall move to healthcare budgets.
- Drugs development programs will evolve much better to handle future challenges.
- Healthcare systems and medical researchers will be better prepared for any future viral outbreaks.
- People, governments and businesses will now be more cautious to avoid actions that may lead to viral outbreaks/epidemics.
- Innovators can and will use this opportunity to develop solutions/technologies that will address the economic and social challenges of lockdown.
Economic Evolution: While the economy is suffering from a recession that is likely to extend till the next year, we can use this time to rethink economic models.
- This crisis has given an opportunity to the world to reinvent economic activities to suit the challenging times (e.g. more & more economic activities would go completely online).
- It’s an appropriate time to begin a global and local transition to circular economy
- WFH/remote work culture is already coming into force which can help to reduce a lot of excess spending on commuting and other infrastructure (reduces carbon footprint as well).
- People shall begin prioritizing local businesses, supply chains, and agriculture produce more.
Spiritual Impact: While all aspects of life have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis, people’s spiritual domain isn’t untouched either.
- People have stopped taking things for granted and have begun appreciating the beauty of smaller things in life.
- There is a greater sense of solidarity among people all over the world to fight this crisis. The quote ‘We are in this together’ is growing popular on social media as it reflects the mood.
- While the lockdown may have isolated people, it has given them a chance to introspect about their actions towards society and the planet as a whole.
- The loss of life from this crisis has made people realize the transience of life. People will hopefully stop taking their own and other’s life for granted with this realization.
- This should also help people practice more mindfulness in life (knowing that life is transient).
Adverse situations like these can break our backs but human grit is a powerful thing. People we will not only come out stronger but smarter as well. This time should be utilized for a deep introspection about where we want to be tomorrow and how we want the world to shape in the coming decades.