Monday, March 23, 2020

Elizabeth May - How Covid-19 Could Change Us - If We're Lucky.

Former Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, has penned an op-ed for the National Observer. She concludes that there might be a silver-lining to the pandemic if we're lucky and we're smart enough to grab for it.

Will this bring about long-term change? The climate emergency remains a much larger public-health threat than COVID-19. We have been told for decades that societies cannot turn on a dime to embrace a new climate reality. Does that feel true anymore? Does it seem possible to insist that humans will not accept rapid transformational change after watching people all around the world accept that they now work from home? 
We now find ways to help each other. We band together in the hope of saving lives. Is this not a moment to proclaim that is what we must continue to do? 
In a recent opinion piece in the Globe and Mail, Thomas Homer Dixon wrote: 
“Today’s emerging pandemic could help catalyze an urgently needed tipping event in humanity’s collective moral values, priorities and sense of self and community. It could remind us of our common fate on a small, crowded planet with dwindling resources and fraying natural systems. 
“We won’t address this challenge effectively if we retreat into our tribal identities and try to wall ourselves off from each other. COVID-19 is a collective problem that requires global collective action — just like climate change.” 
Pandemics cause long-term change. What will the legacy of this one be? It is too soon to know, but it is not too soon to hope.


Owen Gray said...

Tribalism will not get us through this, Mound. We will need our better angels -- if we still can call on them.

The Disaffected Lib said...

That is an iffy proposition, Owen. Across the West, societies are divided. Social cohesion has been weakened.

The United States is the worst of the lot when it comes to tribalism. I don't know if they can hold the American people together.

Anonymous said...

The Covid-19 pandemic is showing a speeded up version of the climate change dynamic - scientists calling for immediate and fundamental change, with right-wing extremists denying the science and prioritizing economic growth at the cost of human lives. So far, Trudeau's been following the science. It'll be interesting to see if he stays the course after Trump does an inevitable 180 to prioritize the economy.


The Disaffected Lib said...

We're spectators to a riveting play, Cap. It's one of those great mysteries where you never really know how it turns out until you, yourself have reached that end.

Interesting times, eh?

Phillip Huggan said...

We are going to need spare parts for a variety of future disasters, including a potential mutation. Power transformers. A way to effectively decontaminate different surfaces needs to be researchers using virus in human fluid secretions as well as airborne. Airport hangars, airplanes and trucks can be decontaminated and power transformers are light weight enough to transport easily. When a mining community is already afflicted, workers can reopen a mine. A mini-wave will follow cessation of SD-ing. It shouldn't be 18 months as this will result in a winter wave. It should end next May at latest. Certain supply chains can be decontaminated and function. Watyer utilities where there are lighter parts that can fit in a trucks; these parts should be made. Climate controls parts housings should be made, perhaps with a copper coating. Essentail elderly staffers for such should train a younger replacement. Our WW2 veterans should be givens vaccines and every opportunity to tell their lifes tales now using tele-media. We will need winter decontaminated indoor places and summer parks to wait out the heat waves. A tent coffee shop anti-viral should be ready ASAP with markings 10 meters apart on the ground. Cleaners can be trained to disinfect COVID.

The Disaffected Lib said...

All intriguing ideas, Phillip. You've spent a good while on this. There's a flow to your thinking. Thanks.

Purple library guy said...

I have been thinking that the resistance to action on climate change comes from a societal feeling that we're untouchable. We've felt that no matter what the facts it can't happen to us, business as usual is unstoppable, humans are in control.

The pandemic is currently putting a substantial dent in that feeling. People are suddenly being made aware in no uncertain terms that we are NOT in control, that bad things CAN happen. I'm hoping that lasts for more than ten minutes, long enough to help us come to grips with climate change and take some long overdue action. Don't have a clue whether it will, though.

The Disaffected Lib said...

That's not too far off the mark, PLG. There is a group that sees climate change as something today's young and the generations after them will have to cope with. There's a well-documented reluctance by this group to sacrifice now for people they don't know and never will.

How this pandemic will affect that attitude of course can't be known until it's in the history books but, judging by how the paper products aisle is still empty, I don't have a lot of confidence in humanity.