What will our lives look like when we emerge on the other side of this pandemic?
That question keeps resurfacing in my mind, particularly when I hear people say things like we will return to “normal” – whatever that means. I think “normal” is different for different people.
But I digress.
My hope is that we will emerge better than before. My hope is that we will have more compassion for each other.
My hope is that we will lose the superiority complex that causes us to judge people based on job titles or earnings. My hope is that we will have the wisdom to embrace one humanity and recognize our interdependence on each other.
My hope is that we will have discovered reservoirs of power and resilience to address critical global challenges, including economic injustices, disparities in access to quality healthcare, peace and nonviolence, and the climate crisis.
It has been reported that in China (where pollution is believed to cause as many as 1.6 million premature deaths annually) the reduction in pollution caused by the COVID-19 lockdown may have saved 50,000 lives.
Could it be that our concept of commuting and polluting needs to change, at least in part? Could it be that we need to re-evaluate our travel patterns and the effectiveness of things like working remotely, online education, limiting air travel, carpooling, public transportation, smart energy, and alternative fuels?
Could it be that we can create a peaceful environment, free of violence and war?
Could it be that we can implement a plan that provides quality healthcare for everyone?
Could it be that we can stop treating “essential” workers as if they are expendable and provide a living wage to all workers that will eliminate poverty?
Through our response to the threat posed by this pandemic, we have demonstrated that it is possible to rapidly and drastically transform our systems and societies.
It is possible to carry our “new awareness” beyond this current emergency.
We can change our behavior —why not change it for the better, for the common good?