For most of us this (CV-19 events) is the most impactful collective experience we have had in our lifetimes. Even more so than the collective admiration of cats on the internet.
It is like nature felt us malfunctioning and decided to force us to reboot. We are in the real life equivalent of being turned off and on again.
The stalling of the economic consumption machine as we know it, jolts us into realizing that reducing individual carbon emissions is not as impossibly difficult as we thought. This is our time to shine, to show, that we are a truly evolved species and that we can put all the brilliant technology we developed to good use. No-one is escaping our mutual dependancy (unless they are completely self sustained and live on an island), so how we connect with the people in our immediate surroundings defines our quality of life more than ever since there are no more distractions.
To minimize strain on resources in logistics and exposure of workers, we suddenly think twice about how much to buy, consume, use. Who would have thought that by minimizing human density we would help each other and also help our planet…? We can reduce, reuse, recycle. We can learn a new normal and redirect the course of history.
As a ski instructor I am acutely aware of the hypocrisy in my job. I donate to Protect Our Winters, yet I am a huge part of the problem. I spend my time creating carbon emissions in a technically unnecessary recreational industry, whilst preaching about being environmentally conscious and lamenting about our winters getting warmer and less snowy. Here is what I do: I question my clients choice to fly if they could have taken a train. If appropriate, I have a conversation with them about climate change. I use the ski busses instead of my car during the season. I don’t buy Mangos and Avocados, I buy apples. I show my clients the breathtaking beauty and stillness of the mountains we live in, and make them pause (and quietly pray) and hope they connect so deeply to nature they will want to protect it. My fellow instructors and I are trying to work together with environmental organizations and resorts to support them in their efforts on becoming carbon emission neutral. (More on that by next season).
After these initial restrictions have lifted, would it not be epic if we used the momentum of having been able to cope and translate it into action?
Maybe get involved in politics? Have a voice again? Speak up and act for the jobs and people that are truly valuable and keep civility running, and convert #bullshit jobs (recommended book by David Graeber) into value? Reassess what is purposeful and say “no” if we get given a task that instinctively we know is not? Or convert it into something that has true, tangible value or purpose…or at the very least instils it with the faint smell of rebellion?
We can ask ourselves who has provided true value and effort towards our lives and reward them with loyalty and positive attention. We can check on our quality of human connection and maybe even reboot our personal perceived truths on the relationships we have (or are missing).
We are all worried what will happen to our jobs and lives. My winter job for example is based on people traveling and having disposable income. Things will have to change. I will have to change. But to be honest, I am excited about it. It is a scary time, but after chaos comes calm…
Corona may be the storm we all needed.