Yes, this article mentions Covid-19. Yes, it is optimistic about our future.
There have been a lot of justifiable discussions arguing that we needed this, a break from the stresses of modern day life, to spend more time with the family (even if that is in virtual form), have a ‘daily walk’ and just slow down a bit. If that is contentious then there is certainly no argument when discussing how much wildlife needed this, natural habitats needed this, our planet needed this. Deaths attributed to poor air quality have plummeted by some 11,000, mostly in the UK, as a result of the current lockdown, begging the question ‘what next?’ once restrictions are lifted.
A lot of us have forgotten the meaning of the word ‘gratitude’ – be grateful for what we have. We have a stunningly beautiful home (Earth), it is our only home, so let us protect it. We have been largely ignoring the supposedly ‘subtle’ message of climate change for too long but Earth has now sent us a message that we cannot ignore; we are pushing nature and our planet to its limits through mass habitat destruction and illegal wildlife trade – just read those two bits back; ‘mass habitat destruction’ and ‘illegal wildlife trade’ – how unnatural do they sound? Therein lies the problem, the fact that Covid-19 (which had existed within bats and other species for some time, harmlessly) was passed to us by exterminating hundreds of horseshoe bats at a live slaughter market in China with horrendous hygiene levels sums this whole mess up.
The global call to “halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics” has led to the ‘One Health’ approach – the health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of wildlife, the health of the environment, the health of our planet. It has been truly wonderful to hear birdsong whilst walking along previously busy main roads, we have even had a few bats magically flittering around our yard in the evening for the first time (as an aside I think bats are amazing creatures, totally misunderstood and quite cute in their own way) whilst further afield deer and goats are taking back the streets, coyotes wander back to their ancestral homes and turtles return to beaches they’ve not visited for decades.
The fact that this originated thousands of miles away can leave a feeling of helplessness and in the face of this overarching issue many businesses are struggling and will continue to do so. The important thing to remember is that this will pass and life will, eventually, return to normal. It is up to us now what that ‘normal’ looks like – we must learn from our mistakes and not slip back into old habits.
As lockdown restrictions in the UK look set to be lifted, to some degree, it will be interesting to see what happens next, particularly in those sectors and industries that have carried on pretty much as normal, will they change their office working policies? Has productivity increased as a result of working from home? How comfortable will people feel about commuting and returning to the workplace regardless?
There are a lot of questions, including how to re-start the economy. For many, especially the self-employed and SMEs the coming months could be lifesaving and incredibly busy as they make up for the shortfall in business earlier in the year, which could have its own set of problems. Even for the most environmentally conscious person, the issue of climate change has taken a back step recently, despite the fact that it is still happening, every hour of every day. It needs to become a national priority, quickly, not just to save businesses, or even to have something different to talk about, but to save the economy as a whole by creating green jobs, improving air quality thus reducing stresses on the NHS and increasing productivity, in turn allowing businesses to earn more and people to spend money and get the whole big wheel turning again.
Humans are excellent at making mistakes, but we are also amazing at learning from them – it is how we grow, it is how we learn, it is how we survive. Now, more than ever, we need to learn from our mistakes and accept that it is ok to get things wrong (“that’s why pencils have erasers” – that great philosopher, Lenny, from The Simpsons).
kW Energy Consultants provide consultancy support to all sectors and industries to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions within buildings and deliver building energy compliance – Display Energy Certificates, Energy Performance Certificates, Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme, bespoke energy audits & reports. To find out more visit www.kwenergyconsultants.com