Over the past month, we have taught ourselves ways to adapt to this secluded lifestyle, while anticipating a ‘flattening of the curve’ scenario in our countries. The number of people on lockdown right now is greater than that during the world-war even! While reminding ourselves that we’re slowly inching towards the end of this war-like season, some of us have begun to wonder what the future holds.
It isn't calculus to realise that this pandemic is merely a consequence of our dysfunctional relationship with nature. And if there’s one thing this lockdown has taught us all is that the Bare Necessities are all we need. It’s safe to say that life in the post-crisis era will be a world apart from its pre-crisis state.
Slowly, but steadily, this has opened our eyes to the fact that we cannot afford to go back to the ‘pre-corona normal’. Back then we normalised hate, selfishness, enmity and misogyny.
Consumers will surely be more mindful of the waste they generate, corporations will reduce air travel for their executives, and companies will recognise the efficiency of conference calls over the frequent face to face meetings. Now that we all have discovered the Masterchef in us, we will think twice before we rush to dine out. Also, having realised the importance of being resourceful with our food, we will try to throw out minimal kitchen waste.
WhatsApp or WhatsApp University, as it is widely satirised, is being notoriously misused for fake news on the virus. If anything, this should teach us to be cautious about the internet. Photos of swans in the canals of Burano, ‘Venetian’ dolphins, and drunken elephants in China went viral a few weeks ago. All of these were debunked by local authorities clarifying that these animals, in fact, grace the public with their appearance quite frequently.
Workers have been adopting creative methods to sustain themselves during this crisis. As profits dwindle, farmers in the UK are switching from seeds to solar panels. Owing to the fact that these panels can provide a steady stream of money and security, alongside their regular farming practices.
Pragathibandhu, an innovative programme promoted by Shri Kshethra Dhamasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), trains small farmers on various activities related to sustainable farming. Activities like multiple cropping to give continuous income, sustainable farming, sustainable water supply and other resourceful activities are given due importance while preparing the programme. It is crucial to support endeavours of this kind to provide the financially challenged a secure source of income.
While businesses and economies are grasping at straws to endure this hardship, a good outcome of the crisis would be greater global financial coordination and clarity. Transparent supply chains and reformed business strategies are of paramount importance. The switch to quick delivery of quality products, sustainably at reasonable prices for the mass market is imperative.
It is heartening to see how this dark period has brought out our best versions as well. Volunteering to feed the homeless and street dogs, lending a hand to the abused and depressed, appreciating the role of women especially, comprising 70% of the world's health workers, and of course, showing support to mindful small businesses. We’re constantly reminding one another that while this tunnel is certainly appalling, there is light at the end of it.
Most importantly it would have brought out a deep sense of gratitude for being alive and healthy.
This new normal is being created now, as we’re reading this. Through the way we work, live, communicate, and care, this new fabric is being created. Our actions will decide if this pandemic will turn out to be the black swan that society and businesses have feared or an extremely demanding challenge that we have conquered together.
By Reshma Bhat