In the beginning, as a new-born, we are at one with nature. As we grow our actions challenge this balance as we consume resources. If we act without thought, our actions threaten our environment, quality of our own lives, and our combined actions could ultimately lead to the extinction of humans. Can the world respond to address the critical environmental challenges we face and create a greener world both whilst we are in, and after, the pandemic?
Lock-down measures hit the poorest families the hardest. From the economic fall-out of the lock-downs, poverty in the UK is forecast to become an even greater issue. In life, poverty denies peoples development both physically and emotionally. It creates inequality that can, in turn, breed resentment, unrest, and ultimately lead to conflict over unequal (or limited) resources. How should we respond to this issue individually, as a society, and globally?
During the lockdown, we saw programmes that tried to remove the homeless from our streets. Evictions were stopped. These programmes have now ended. Shelter and safety are fundamental human needs that support our well-being and development. Should we dedicate resources to this problem that will be growing fast due to economic fall-out of the pandemic, or accept homelessness as a natural economic consequence we can’t stop?
The pandemic saw issues arise with connections between COVID-19 and BAME groups, and Black Lives Matters demonstrations across the UK. These both seemed to point at social issues, and systemic racial and economic inequality within our society. As babies, we are born equal, without prejudice and without comprehension of the persecution of others. Why is it that inequality and discrimination exists in the world of adults?
The pandemic has impacted the mental wellbeing of millions. People have been cut-off from physical contact. Fear made some prisoners in their own homes. Domestic abuse and suicide increased. Humans have basic needs for nourishment, shelter, security, love, friendship, and self-actualisation. Absence, or loss, of these things, undermines our mental well-being. Has the pandemic reminded us about what we really need to be happy?
Schools, colleges, and universities closed during the lockdown. Exam results were in chaos. Millions relied on home learning. Post lockdown the virus continues and the long-term impact on a generation is still unknown. Through education and learning, we maximise our potential and our contribution to society. If education and a desire for truth create an enlightened society, what will the consequences be for society with education systems damaged?
We have seen issues with PPE, testing, and Care Home policy. 10’s of thousands lost their lives prematurely. A national effort ensured the NHS was not swamped, and we supported those on the frontline with rainbows and clapping. But the NHS for many was closed and people died as a result. Has the pandemic reminded us of the importance of access to healthcare for all, and will this be supported post-pandemic in a depressed economy?
Science & Technology
We live in an age of rapid technology change some have termed the 4th Industrial Revolution. The pandemic accelerated some of these changes. It highlighted issues for those without access to technology, created structural impact on our use of cities, High-Streets, and travel. We also saw extraordinary speed in the development of vaccines. Post-Pandemic, what will the impact be on society from even faster technology change?
Love & Loss
There were 10’s of thousands of excess deaths in the UK this year, and 100’s of thousands died alone. But these are not statistics, these numbers each represent real people who will be dearly missed. Let us ensure that as a nation we choose to remember this sudden, early, and tragic loss and support the bereaved. Give thanks if this time we were not the ones affected by loss in a pandemic. But, ensure we remember those who were.