Updated: May 11
Coronavirus puts us back home. There we find our partners and our family, and we are "forced" into intimacy with them. We all have the choice to get along and enjoy our companies, maybe learn more about each other and express and receive love. Or to make our lives miserable. Coronavirus takes the aeroplanes out of the sky, and we can more clearly listen to the birds, birds we may not have ever noticed before or in a long time. With almost no cars in the streets, the sky shines blue again in São Paulo, Beijing and, even the Alps above Zürich See are brighter.
We stay at home and all of a sudden, we realise we do not really need much. We do not need to compulsively buy whatever we see at the store’s windows or what is offered in promotions every corner around the city. We have the chance to learn about what we, in fact, need and like. Coronavirus makes us cancel our vacation, and that sucks. The next minute we remember that book we always wanted to read and never had the time. Some of us dance at home with our partners, and others create a full wild trip for their kids in the living room. Coronavirus makes many of us realise there is more about the internet and online life than the divisiveness that comes with Facebook and Twitter. There we can also connect with loved ones as we start feeling lonely. And we learn to converse more and listen to our colleagues from work in a different way and level. Coronavirus brings us suffering and death. It brings even unemployment and famine for many. No, it is not a happy event! And with that, it reminds us that black and white are not the only colours of the spectrum. With all the challenges that for some are just inconvenience and for others are life-threatening, we have a choice to learn from them and use them to grow personally. With Coronavirus, many of us think about what really matters. Coronavirus reminds us we could simply not be able to breathe from one day to the next. That may happen as easily as we breathe in and out now, without even being aware of it. And we could die then. Someone we love could die. Maybe someone did. The obvious question of “What am I using my life for?” screams inside.
We are destroying our planet and the possibility that future generations will have even the right to fight their viruses, as maybe they will be fighting for air or water instead. We think of growth as a goal, but only in material terms and forget to improve ourselves. Could Coronavirus give us the motivation to change, to choose to do better? While the oil price sinks, we may not go into the temptation of using more of it and instead take the opportunity to notice we may not need it so much. And for what we do need energy, we can use better, renewable sources. We may decide to support local restaurants as soon as they can reopen paying more for our meals, because now we have learned to cook, following a plant-based diet with products from local farms and most of our meals are at home. We can afford paying more outside if we balance our options. We may buy slow-sustainable-fashion clothes and pay the fair/higher price, because we know now, we do not need so many pieces in our wardrobe, we can make it with less.
Coronavirus shows us the vulnerability of globalisation. It also brings to us the risk of stronger racist behaviour and discrimination in the form or a dangerous type of nationalism. This “Chinese” virus! Is this the opportunity to finally understand that sometimes simplistic solutions, as all or nothing, are not optimal. That in the end, we are all vulnerable if we do not work together, in an integrated or interdependent way. We do not need to resume to blinded globalisation. Nor we need to live in isolated nations.
May we find ways to contribute online with our knowledge and connect with people in need and, together, find ways to reduce inequality. Because Coronavirus shows us, we are all equals. Small businesses close their doors because of Coronavirus. We may support the ones who will use the crises to be creative, innovative and find cleaner, healthier and more sustainable ways ahead, as Coronavirus fades off.
The virus will go away. It will take a while and lots of suffering, but it will pass. And at this time, humanity will still be here. Will humanity be here for long, though if we do not change our way of living for better? I believe we are facing a powerful possibility of positive change. We will only make it into positive reality if we choose so.
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