Ecology

Lessons from the Corona Virus

Hear me out! Because of the dire situation, we must take a deeper look at what’s happening. And confinement away from corona virus exposure helps to do just that.

During the 1st round of the French municipality elections on March 9th, just before France’s shutdown, a lady wrapped up in gloves and a mask said to my colleague after her vote, how we all deserve “la peste” since nobody cares for Christ or goes to church anymore.

While at first the snide remark was distasteful, it still got me thinking. Maybe this very religious lady is on to something.

The concept of paying the price of irresponsibility (other than skipping church) is universal. Why should it be any different now?

People are dying. We are at war, as President Macron said in his speech. Our enemy’s invisibility is its damn superpower. We must honour the memory of those who lost their lives to this vicious virus.

How can we honour their memory, and still all move forward?

The collective efforts of massive social distancing and self-quarantine are not a vaccine. Yet the solidarity to sacrifice protecting oneself and others is very moving, almost inspiring.

Have you thought of how this terror could actually be a positive turning point for everyone in the long run? The entrepreneur in us can’t help but look at opportunities amidst risk.

This virus, this halt, is the much needed disruption, without which a PAUSE and a new RESET would not have been possible.

I hate this virus.

I hate it for the lives it claimed. The terror, the contagion, the confusion, the fatality, the economic loss, loss of jobs, possible bankruptcy, the eerily empty streets, and the distancing of families to protect themselves and those most vulnerable.

This is a pivotal moment for all of us.

I call it Life After Corona.

So how should Life After Corona be? What are we learning from all this?

Reconsider our over-reliance on distant production

Shutting down borders during the corona virus lockdown lead to privileging local solutions. Luckily France is a large agricultural producer of primary food products, and has a healthy FMCG industrial sector to sustain demand. Immediately, non-essential foods from far away locations are not a priority. South African avocados, I agree, are delicious, but the carbon footprint is less yummy.

Going to our field in fashion with the corona virus mayhem, the fast fashion industry’s reliance on distant production in Asia shows more than ever the environmental and social repercussions of over-production. Fashion supply chains now are in total chaos.

Thanks to the corona virus, we are reminded that we really don’t need a five euro t-shirt every other week or month. Giving your local artists and designers a chance to make you quality products that LAST, is much more meaningful and SUSTAINABLE.

Put the Planet at the heart of everything you do

REALLY consider the planet more than ever.

Mother Earth is also trying to tell us something. Dolphins are back dancing in Venice during lockdown. As if showing us all the middle finger for messing up their water & home! Yes, Dolphins – you’re right. Also you’re very cute!

Venice is an example of a drowning town, directly threatened by global warming and rising sea levels. It’s also been ravaged by the corona virus. Venetians noticed the clarity of water during confinement. Those flagrant signs of nature’s RELIEF that we humans are being tied home with a leash must mean SOMETHING. It must mean CHANGING NOW our polluting habits.

Stop consuming garbage, so garbage production stops

This pause-reset virus button is what we need to REDUCE our unnecessary consumption of, for the lack of a better word – GARBAGE. Any plastic product is clearly not biodegradable nor sustainable and will take hundreds of years to degrade into the earth. It is a long process that comes with toxicity for us humans, and our planet’s biodiversity. Let’s invest in alternative materials, invest in creative, smart or local initiatives to make even a small difference, reduce our waste.

YOU – Focuse primarily on the essentials

And by that I don’t mean toilet paper!

I mean making a real list of what exactly do you really need to ride out this rough period. Not much, right? Shelter, Food? Back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So when things eventually get better, and our luxuries are made available again, let’s make more use of a capsule lifestyle that connects our purpose with how we create a greener home, how we raise our young, and how we grow in our careers, while helping those in need.

Your family

Revaluating the family dynamic

Those social distancing memes are hilarious coping ways with this drama. They’re very insightful too. I did consider tying up my two-year old and duck-taping her mouth so I can reply to just one email. Then she gave me a big toothy smile, and that was that 

But thinking further, the time spent with our children is perfect to look at how we are raising them with fresh eyes – outside the daily grind of school -> work -> school -> pickup -> dinner -> bedtime -> & repeat. What example are we setting for them? Now that they’re on monster mode at home, take a chance to tame the beasts! Reconnect more with your children, and teach them what is happening to be aware and more responsible when growing. God knows we can use a more responsible generation in the future!

Women, Women, Women

Can we all address inequality already?

A recent article from the New York Times is about the higher risk of women to catch the corona virus than men, due to the typical uneven distribution of gender roles in society and at work, putting women squarely in the virus’ path.

This situation sheds light on mother’s roles at home, the heavy lifting done in confinement while still expected to deliver at work through long distance. The burden wasn’t easy before the corona virus, and will not be easier with it now. Just a couple of days ago, associations in France such as “Solidarités Femmes” doubled its phone helpline staff as the calls of domestic violence against women rise with the country’s shutdown.

Jokingly at the beginning of the crisis I said either we will experience a Corona baby boom, or a huge level of divorce – or both. As we witness the consequences borne by women, it is really no laughing matter.

The list is non exhaustive.

The moral is to press our own reset buttons, too.

We cannot come out of this in the same fashion as we did before.

We must do better.

We must do more.

For each other.

For our children.

For those in need.

For our planet.

For our future.

Because there’s simply no choice!

Because it’s the right thing to do.

So, thank you Corona for these lessons. Also – please die soon.

Sincerely

Taiseer

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