“Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” – Barbara Kingsolver
The analogy of things
I happened to sneak peek a diary penned by a close friend of mine, a tech graduate who had worked as a computer professional with a MNC for two straight years and then one fine morning found himself up rooted with nowhere to go. His story smarted of nothing short of torment and humiliation.
Rightly so, for mayhem is different this time and impact will continue to ravage the world for some more time to come. Millions like him have raced against the time to self preserve.
the verdict has finally sunk in…. The biggest takeaway of this crisis is going to be not sports or glamour, but health and family; not politics or social order but predictable actions and social justice? For once we have been shown that what happens to one of our kind in Wuhan, can humble stock exchanges around the globe and even kill leaders and Army commanders in Iran.
The virus has shut down markets, museums, theaters, clubs forcing fashion shows to draw curtains and talk shows to play to empty halls. On March 12th this year, an Olympic gold medalist had lit the torch for a small, private audience and then had run through trees …alone.
Today, as lockdown continues, every morning I could only greet the danger that lurks outside. Absence of annoying ruckus in streets, people in shopping malls and even small grocery shops is strangely menacing. The virus has cornered our lives and …it is terrifyingly real! More than a million families have already lost someone and we couldn’t tell them that this had to happen.
Most of us would agree that the virus has left us with little choice but to keep reminding ourselves that tomorrow could be a wonderful day; that no matter how bad things are they will end somehow at some point of time.
ot just everything is lost. The flip side of this crisis has also borne some interesting green shoots for us which will help shape the mosaic of our future lives in an interesting way.
Climate for once smells healthy
Many environmentalists had predicted the year 2020 to be the year when global carbon emissions could begin to decline. And now it’s happening at a scale none of us could have imagined, though it feels like nothing to cheer
The Chinese carbon footprints- the world’s largest emitter- have mercifully shrunk by a quarter as the country sharply scaled back its heavy industries in a bid to combat the virus. Electricity demand and air pollution have plummeted in EU nations while global air traffic has hit a dead-end.
Of course there is nothing good about reducing emissions like this. It can always shoot back once the crisis is over and life begins to turn to normal. If this happens, climate goals could go for a toss once the nations scramble to put their economies back on rails. What if the Oil prices remained low? Wouldn’t that mean spike in consumption and an enormous strain on environment?
But I think that it need not be that dismaying either
The Governments can always put climate at the center of their recovery plans. Bailout packages and stimulus could offer tax credits for renewable energy and electric vehicles and include investments in green infrastructure projects like energy storage facilities, E-vehicle charging stations, solar and wind farms etc.
To make a bounce back like that of 2009, bailouts and stimulus need to roll out some harsh guidelines to cut emissions. This in turn could stave off what current science calls ‘climate catastrophe’.
Whatever rational the people who govern, rake up to exemplify their Covid efforts, it’s only the Will over Wisdom that will demonstrate the fate of what we breathe and how we breathe.
Renewed concern for public health and social security is now in focus
For now, public health concerns are overshadowing and that’s a good thing. But as we start rebuilding our lives- whenever the virus backs off- we need to do it in a way so that far more deaths and sufferings are prevented to happen in future. It would be so foolish of us not to take advantage of this opportunity and roll out capable and sustained governance.
Now is the time more than ever to build a better world for workers. Protections like paid sick leave and healthcare assurance could go well with the most vulnerable among us. It’s time to set aside the brutal and punishing changes brought about by the capitalism of the past and work together to rebuild a life in which everybody learns to be human.
For the sake of hundreds of desperate Venezuelan refugees living in desert shacks in a Colombian border city, migrants of tent city on Mexican border, hapless children trapped on Mellila the tiny piece of Europe on the coast of North Africa and half a billion strong migrant workers across the Indian subcontinent, to name a few ;It’s time we paid reparations to those who suffered, it’s time we made amend to what we had left unattended.
For these deprived millions, this world is the only place to live, call and remember as their Home.