Post 58: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…

lessons learned.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 58. 

Tonight’s blog

Mother Nature may be forgiving this year, or next year, but eventually she’s going to come around and whack you. You’ve got to be prepared.
~ Geraldo Rivera

I can’t believe I quoted Geraldo! I also can’t believe I agreed with him on something! But he’s right – Mother Nature eventually gave us a whack, big time. And so tonight our blog is about lessons learned in the context of #Covid-19.

Don’t you love the thought of lessons learned? The concept that when (not if) we screw up, we can learn from our mistakes and avoid making them again in the future. “Lessons learned” implies that we pinpoint our errors, learn what caused us to make them in the first place, and stop making them going forward. Now that would signify progress. Can we do it?

I hope people around the world take stock of the lessons they’ve learned over the past several weeks. Has it been so bad to attend meetings online? You’ve saved on the commute. Has it been such a struggle to avoid traffic and pollution and frustration and noise? You’ve been healthier and more productive with your time. Can you make do with what you have? You learned you don’t need to constantly consume. We don’t need to always want more, more, more – just about everything we have is really just “stuff.”

If I’ve learned anything at all over these past 58 days, it’s to have a healthy respect for Mother Nature. To keep my hands and space and thoughts clean. To appreciate the blueness of the sea and the sky, now that they are so much less polluted. But also, to make do with less. To feel with others as we mourn the loss of people, jobs, and security; as we celebrate births, fresh starts, and do-overs; and best of all, as we survive long enough to see the next day, and hopefully make it better.

#Malaga, #Spain

The good, the bad, and the ugly

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The new normal is being hyped by all sectors and industries, from education to work to shopping. But will we manage to embrace and implement some of the changes to which we had to adapt during the lockdowns, or will human nature revert back to its comfort zone?

Let’s start by establishing that as humans, throughout history we have been endowed with an adaptability gene. With #COVID-19, we had to adjust our lives to being at home all the time. We adapted by shopping, working, learning, cooking, exercising, and visiting with friends remotely, all from a desk chair or a mat in front of a screen.

What this did was it reduced pollution due to fewer cars on the roads, people traveling for a “meeting” or a “conference,” and fumes from factories and machinery.

I read somewhere that we should close down everything on Earth once a year for a month. To me, that makes a lot of sense. The Europeans have been closing down Europe for a month every summer in a staggered manner. Why not call it Earth Month instead of dedicating 1/365 days a year to this planet? Implementing this can be done on a global basis and can be organized by the United Nations.

I also came across an article that highlighted that many people were traveling to meetings unnecessarily and can do the same job with teleconferencing. Big corporations need to realize that their contribution to the overinflated airline industry has hurt not only the environment but also made travel less desirable for many others.

Yes, this will affect the hospitality and airline sectors, but when travel becomes a good experience (once) again, more leisure and tourism will bridge the gap.

Finally, and on a more positive good note, individual responsibility is a must here for change and implementation to work. Just like we were able to teach our children not to drink and drive, we can teach them to be more minimalist and more aware of the world they live in. Now that’s easy to implement, no?!

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Save the world

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

During this coronavirus lockdown, we’ve all had time to recharge and re-assess our lives. Many of us have developed new techniques to ensure our personal fulfillment during the crisis. However, the environmental side effects that have come to light after only a few weeks and now almost 8 weeks into our lockdown demonstrate that the earth needed a break from us.

Whenever I go for a walk, I am amazed at the beauty of Spring. The greenery, the floral smells, the blue skies, and the birds chirping in the background. Gone are the fumes and traffic and all the other forms of physical and noise pollution.

We have seen many photos from around the world showing clearer horizons, now that the smog has dissipated. Representing to me that of all the lessons we have learned since the lockdown, #environmental protection should emerge as the most essential. What can we do to ensure that this important lesson is implemented in the future? 

First, I think employers should encourage telecommuting. They can save on rent if 50% of employees work remotely. Business meetings that require flying from country to country could be replaced by Zoom meetings, thus cutting expenses and unnecessary travel. Steps should be taken to improve and facilitate the availability of electric cars – that would take care of a small part of emissions pollution.

We hope that the UN Climate Summit can provide global guidelines and place the responsibility on governments to find ways to reduce emissions from their industrial activity. The Clean Air Act issued in the US in 1970 and revised in 1977 and 1990 was a step in the right direction, and proved that we need to protect our environment and the public’s health. However, it has not been revised for almost 30 years. In fact, the current administration has worked at reversing some of these environmental regulations. 

We cannot emerge from this pandemic without understanding the urgency of protecting our environment, which in turn, means protecting our own health and well-being. We must not wait for the governments to make change; rather, change can be made by each individual.  In the words of a very young environmental activist, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference [Greta Thunberg].

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