From the very beginning, 2020 has been a whirlwind. When we rang in the New Year with our Roaring ’20s themed parties and sophisticated looks, did anyone ever think that World War Three was imminent? Or that bushfires would ravage Australia while we all decidedly didn’t freeze in one of the warmest and wettest winters to date? Did we ever dream that all that would be overshadowed by an even deadlier pandemic?
World-ending events are inevitable. Just as the dinosaurs were wiped out, humans will be too – eventually. And possibly due to events of our own making (global warming really isn’t helping anyone) but this pandemic isn’t something we could have seen coming. Okay, sure – we knew about the novel coronavirus as early as January, but it seems that no government was able to predict how quickly it would spread or how deadly it might be.
And now we’re a quarter of the way into a new year and people around the world are locked in their houses (with some countries placing heavier restrictions than others), many workers now find themselves out of work, and small and big businesses alike find their very existence hanging in the balance.
But what does that mean for the rest of the year? Well, so far we still don’t really know what the global cost will be, in terms of human life and also to the economy. We know that a worldwide recession is likely, and that many people are going to die. But we don’t know how we will cope with these losses just yet.
But I remain hopeful that we’ll emerge victorious from the quagmire and perhaps go back to a better version of our society. Ideally, one where we truly value our key workers and pay them accordingly – and I don’t just mean health workers, but binmen, supermarket staff and transport officers, too.
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Let’s become a society that values the little things, too. Like taking a walk outside to hear the birds sing, or making a short phone call to tell someone you love them. Capitalism has consumed us with the search for money and profit in everything we do – enjoy hobbies again, don’t search for the monetary value in everything. Your mental health and happiness should be value enough.
We might also create a more inclusive society. All those jobs where we were told that working from home was impossible? Turns out it’s possible in times of crisis. So let’s demand more flexible working, for mothers and fathers, for less able-bodied people, for when you’re feeling under the weather and could be contagious, but are well enough to work.
And let’s not forget the environment. With each city’s lockdown, pollution levels have dropped and it appears the Earth might be starting to heal. So let’s give her a helping hand. Walk where possible, run if it’s further. Only take long journeys in the car if they’re absolutely necessary – public transport networks connect us all over the country. And maybe airlines will do their bit to reduce emissions or even flights worldwide.
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We have the power to make demands, and this crisis makes you wonder if the rest of 2020 will mark a big societal change, from caring only about capital, to actually caring about workers. And caring for our most vulnerable with decisive actions, not just words.
All I know for sure, though, is that I can’t wait to hug my loved ones again ❤