A NEW NORMAL
With attention focused on Covid-19, health threats posed by climate change remain unchanged and existential.
By continuing to burn fossil fuels, coming decades could experience average temperatures up by 8.8 degrees Fahrenheit, water supplies reduced by two-thirds, areas burned by wildfires increased by 77%, and most of beaches severely eroded.
How we treat the natural world affects our well-being. Loss of habitat and biodiversity create conditions for lethal new viruses and diseases to spread. With lung health so critically important, there are dire health consequences.
Front line communities, like South Portland with its tank farms, disproportionately bear the brunt of fossil fuel pollution-induced disease – including asthma, heart disease and diabetes – putting such communities at high risk of complications from C-19.
The virus is revealing fundamental flaws in our societal and economic norms. With the current crisis, however, the planet is the real winner with air and water pollution down, and emissions that have dropped precipitously.
So, how do we proceed? We took inspiration from www.resilience.org in writing this article.
BRIGHT IDEA: Imagine a brighter future.
Holding on to a vision of a just, peaceful and sustainable Earth may give us strength for the future. We could remember this as a time when we were suddenly forced to stop what we were doing, pay attention to one another and take action.
If we absorb the lessons of the pandemic and fight for a world in which everyone can thrive, what would it look like?
BRIGHT IDEA: Clarify your priorities.
The decision we face is of epic proportions. We can allow discomfort and fear to overwhelm us and put all our energy into getting things back to the way they were… OR… we can create a new normal.
We are currently locked in an abnormal space of relative stillness. With life-as-we-have-known-it paused, it’s the perfect time to ask what would we like “normal” to look like?
- What kind of work do we do?
- How much would we work?
- Would we need to drive to work every day?
- What kind of businesses would we like to see in our community?
- How and how much would we travel?
- Are we really OK with so much wealth in the hands of so few?
- Are we really OK with ecological destruction that has been normalized?
- What actually makes us happy?
Let’s not waste this crisis. Let’s not let the lives and livelihoods lost be collateral damage of a broken system. Instead, let it be the impetus for creating a world that works better for all of us.
This is our chance to create a new normal.
HEAR THE CALL FOR A GREEN STIMULUS!
Bright Ideas is brought to you by Portland Climate Action Team which during the pandemic meets online the 4th Thursday of the month, 6-7:30 p.m. All are welcome to join in. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org.