What's next ?
Updated: Apr 15
I don’t know about you but I have gone through ups and downs during this interesting time.
There have been moments of fear, anger, sadness, stress but also of peace, calmness, reflection and hope.
So much has changed in a matter of weeks, the world has stopped, we pressed pause and this triggers different things in different people.
Part of me believes that this virus is simply a cumulation of what we as a society have been working towards: we were doing too much of everything – work, stress, travel, waste, pollution, burnouts, constant pressure,… It probably didn't come as a huge surprise to me. We kind of had it coming... We couldn't simply continue the way we were, could we?
And maybe, just maybe, we should be grateful for the virus forcing us to press pause. Why?
Lidewij Edelkoort (one of the top Fashion Trend Forecaster in the world) says the following in VPRO Tegenlicht:
“I am grateful for the virus because all the things we have been forced to stop doing because of the virus, were things we shouldn’t have been doing in the first place: working, travelling, emailing, all the extras. We already knew it wasn’t right, but nobody really knew how to stop doing them.”
The fact that all the shops are closed and we have more time, we are rediscovering what we already possess and embrace our creativity in using what we own to create beautiful new items.
And I am hoping that more of us are now realising we don’t need all this “stuff”, no need to go out as much…and we can be perfectly happy and content with less, with simply enjoying time with family and friends, being together. That what really matters is the people in our lives, not the size of the house, the flashy cars in the driveway or a wardrobe larger than some people's house.
The crisis has also brought out a lot of positive behaviour in our society: it has become about people again, helping others, solidarity, caring, collaboration, getting creative with what is already available which I hope is there for the long run and not simply during the crisis. In moments of crisis, the weak spots in society are painfully exposed and currently, this is related to the care for the elderly and less able people around. Let’s try and make it better going forward! Learn the lessons that need to be learnt and put the necessary actions into place.
We also need to guard ourselves for the social impact when things start getting back to “normal”. Will we have to work even harder and faster than before with fewer people to restore our companies?? Focus on the financial and economic reality while forgetting the social impact and mental health of people, that is not going to end well!
2020, even though it has only just started, is proving to be the year of the big disasters. It began with massive forest fires in Australia, the worst floods in history in the UK, the locusts plague in Kenya and now the COVID-19 virus impacting the entire world. Lidewij Edelkoort: “if you still can’t see, it means you are blinded by money. Money is something very powerful, yet it destroys so much.”
Before the coronavirus announced itself, one of our main concerns was climate change.
It seems the virus is proving to be a blessing for Mother Nature: air pollution over China or much of the rest of the world has disappeared or reduced drastically, the water in the Venice canals has become clear again and swans and fish are showing themselves, the Himalya is visible again due to reduced air pollution and more. This period of non-activity will prove what it means when we produce less, travel less, use less energy, etc…
I wonder if society will take note of this and care… or when this is over, will we go back to our “old” ways rather than trying to forge new paths where there is space for people and planet to breathe?
Many production chains have been broken due to lack of supply and transport and starting them back up is not that straight forward. So, we have a unique opportunity to do it differently. Instead of mindlessly starting this as usual again, maybe we can grasp this moment and change the production: closer to home and most of all less!!
Let’s not forget about sustainability trying to get out of this, in the long runs, it will pay off, not just for your business or the economy but for ourselves, our children and our home, Mother Nature.
It is time for a massive reset! We have this unique opportunity to start over in a better way. Before we didn’t really know how, but now after pressing pause, we can choose to go a different and better way, a more conscious approach to value people’s as well Mother Nature’s health.
Let’s not succumb to the economic pressures of increased consumption like we did after WWII, let’s take this opportunity to create a better economic model, a circular economy where we design out pollution and waste and regenerate our planet. This is the only way forward, I truly believe that and with me many others.
You only have to look at all the different initiatives that are being taken today to create a better future after the crisis: #versusvirus, #goodaftercovid19, #wirvsvirus, #codevscovid19 and many more. People are ready and willing to take a different path because remember: if you do what you did, you get what you got!! So let’s learn our lessons and do better!
At the end of all of this: are we going to return to “business as usual” or will we stop, reflect, reset and do better?
VPRO Tegenlicht (in Dutch):