I think it’s safe to say that all of us globally have had a chance to reflect in these last few weeks. To think about what’s essential in our lives, how fragile our systems are, how most of us fail to plan. The list goes on and on.
In times when things feel dire, it’s important to keep perspective. What can we learn from this situation? Where can the situation make us stronger?
The virus underscores the weaknesses in our supply chain. We’ve built a world that places a premium on cheap, low-quality shit that maximizes profits without much regard to the environment or the rights of the worker. When the supply chain breaks, the parts, and supplies needed around the globe fail to reach their destination, placing us at risk. Those working hard in the factories lose their incomes when the factories close, and this puts them at risk for the basic necessities of life.
For over 30 years, we’ve spoken about climate change, the climate crisis, global warming, ozone holes. We’ve done LITTLE to address these things, perhaps now is the time to take a harder look.
Let’s focus on a balanced supply chain where our basic needs are met by our factories and industries in our home countries. Where we pay more for the things we want because we value labor, we value quality and environmental health. Maybe we don’t need 25 cheap shirts, but rather 5 high-quality ones.
COVID-19 will reduce our carbon footprint. It’s my hope that during this #globalsnowday we’ll collect data on how the environment reacts to less carbon being pumped into the atmosphere. By refocusing on the supply chain and location of industry, we could also cut down on our carbon footprint.
The biggest issue I see is leadership. We’ve placed a value on being right and dehumanizing those that disagree with us. Isolation and groupthink have become the norm and are only accelerating. Finger-pointing has replaced accountability. Our devices have distracted us and pulled us apart. Can you honestly say that today you are closer with your neighbors and physical community then you were 20 years or more ago? I think the general consensus is no.
Let’s put dialog, understanding, and accountability on our list of new priority values. Focus on our immediate community. Meet the neighbors, have them for dinner. Invest in a small garden inside or in your backyard. Grow food to share, make food to share, rebuild the community. Make block parties a seasonal event and get to know young and old, and those of other races and persuasions. I bet you’ll find we have far more in common than different.
Buy less, trade more. Swap your goods with neighbors and reduce our reliance on cheap disposable shit. Do more with less. This can be sexy, we just need to decide that as a society rather than letting the media tell us what we value.
Bring community debate and discourse around decisions to the forefront. Take stock in our communities a make them a better place, communities you can be proud of. Let those that lead us locally rise higher in their responsibilities until they reach the top.
We Americans are fat, depressed, and overworked. More than ever, we’ve come to distrust or even vilify those we disagree with. As we do this, we are disconnecting with the very ones we need to connect deeper with. 9/11 wasn’t that long ago, but I remember the love and empathy this country had during the weeks that followed that terrible day. I shed a tear thinking about the love we all had for each other, the sense that “we’ll get through this.” In time, we let that slip and morph into the bastardization that it is today.
It doesn’t need to be this way, we can decide to flip the script. I’m guilty as anyone when it comes to not making enough time for those I love. I’ve let busy-ness and screens get the best of me. I’ve allowed myself to become a cog in the system, where I’m contributing to the same issues that most of us are. Let’s put the screens down, reinvest in our families, and our personal health. Ask the older generation their secrets for happiness and joy. I’m not suggesting we re-wind the clock on history, but we can bring some of the good from the past into our modern age, like technology-free evenings or days. Reading as a family, congregating with friends to discuss world events, laugh and sing with each other. God damn, we are all craving this at some level. Let’s use this event as a time to change the course of history.