I tend to be a very positive person, and that came through in my initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was published in my very first article on Medium from March 16, 2020:
Creating a better post-COVID-19 world
Global lessons for everyone from the pandemic of a lifetime!
I still stand by what I predicted at that time as the potential benefits that could emerge from the pandemic (the 7 predications are in bold text below). I follow each of these predictions with comments from today, a year after the pandemic was first declared by the World Health Organization.
- The pandemic is bringing the entire world together in a shorter period of time than anything has ever done before. Yes, international travel has nose-dived.
— However, Zoom and other ways of connecting virtually with other have exploded. More people are more comfortable (maybe too comfortable) connecting via the internet than ever before. While perhaps not always ideal, our discovery of this way of using the the internet has permanently changed how we do business, where we can live to do our work, and how we stay connected with our loved one — and mostly in positive ways.
- The pandemic is expanding the global consciousness of individuals. Yes, we tend to be very focused on our own country, state/province and town, as was the case before the pandemic.
— However, we have now had, for the very first time ever, a globally shared experience. The pandemic is something that we can talk about with anyone, anywhere on the planet for the next 100 or so years. And each of us will have our own personal story to share with others. Knowing this, alone, expands our global consciousness as individuals and as a planet.
- The pandemic is helping humans to better understand their place on the planet. Yes, there is a big desire to get back to “normal”, meaning what life was like before the pandemic.
— However, there is also a global shift in awareness of our human impact on our planet’s environment. And there is a lot of talk about how we can live, work, learn, and travel in ways that are easier on the planet and more meaningful for us as individuals. It remains to be seen how much of this talk turns into action, but I feel good about this.
- The pandemic is helping us to understand that what is good for the Earth might not seem to be good for some human activities. Yes, not everyone will be hugging trees in 2021.
— However, most of have (1) learned even more than before that what we were doing in the past was not good for the planet (related to #3 above), and even more, (2) some of us, at least, are learning that what is good for the planet is also good for us. This is a huge lesson, because it is so fundamentally transformative of our taken-for-granted world. This is how I feel, and so I guess there are at least a few others who feel the same way.
- The pandemic is forcing people to stretch their thinking and planning horizons and self responsibility. Yes, many people have been suffering and almost everyone has been challenged by the pandemic’s impacts on our societies and economies.
— However, many people (not everyone, I know) has found ways to adjust and adapt to this global disaster by tapping into their creative abilities. Governments and industries, at all levels, and in many different ways, have also sought creative ways to address the challenges of this past year (although like all politics, not everyone will agree with what they did).
- The pandemic is creating more resilient people and societies. Yes, there are many people who have passed away due to the pandemic, and other who have had serious mental downturns.
— However, and it might just be people in my social circle, I also hear many talking about how they are feeling more confident in 2021, as a result of what they went through in 2020. In different ways, 2020 was a wake-up call in which we were forced to learn how resourceful we are as individuals. 2021 is now an opportunity call for us to tap into and manifest our newly found skills and self confidence.
- The pandemic is making us less dependent on globalization and mass consumerism, and maybe more sustainable. Yes, climate change, biodiversity, ocean plastics, and other sustainability issues remain huge, even if they improved somewhat through the pandemic.
— However, if all of the items above prove true, then a sustainable future looks promising. Being mostly forced to stay home has connected people with their local places in ways that they may have forgotten prior to the pandemic. We have become more sensitive and appreciative of our local place, or home, even if we are unaware of this. This is a foundational basis of sustainability — to think global and act local.
Overall, I believe there is a sense that 2020 was a forced cleansing, perhaps even a burning down, of the past. We are now on a New Planet Earth in which we appreciate sustainability and localness, and in which we are more self confident and resilient, and that feels pretty good.
Comments, questions and typo corrections are appreciated.
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