Q: Welcome, Elizabeth, thank you for joining us on this webinar.
Thank you, Purnima. It really is a pleasure to be here with you.
Q: The COVID-19 situation has affected our basic understanding and assumptions of how our society operates. Things like, “Can I go to a restaurant?”Is it safe to get a haircut?”Can I meet my friend?”These questions do not have the same answers they did six months ago. So, when humanity has endured this health crisis, what will the new normal be like?
You know, history helps us here. Human beings have been through many such crises. There was the 1918 Spanish flu, the bubonic plague, and many other pandemics that have affected humanity, causing us to reset and recalibrate the way we do things. Some people would say that such crises come only to force us to recalibrate because we are not looking at ourselves well enough. Why is it that we need a crisis to push us to change? Certainly, COVID is a crisis that is forcing humanity to look at itself in many ways.
The little coronavirus has transformed our behavior. We are experiencing a period where people have the opportunity to reflect, to go within, to figure out what has worked, and what has not worked from the past. We have the opportunity to pause. And we have many very serious social, economic and cultural issues to reflect upon.
One of the first things I learnt at university is that any species that destroys its environment will either go extinct or it will change. In genetics it’s called mutation; in behavioral sciences, it’s called adaptation.
In the ’80s, climatologists knew about the way our climate was being affected by human behavior. Governments knew, too. But we have all had our heads in the sand. We have been too focused on our own desires and wishes to have things the way we want them. So, we have long been headed on the path of destruction of our species, and in that sense, we can thank our COVID-19 friend.
I’m not saying it’s easy; there is suffering, death, heartache, and hardship. And yet it’s forced us to stop. It's forced planes to stop flying, cars to stop driving, and polluted cities have seen clear skies for the first time in decades.
This is a time of recalibration. It’s a time to ask, “What have we done well, what have we not done well, and what can we do to change?” One hundred years from now, people should look back at this time and say, “They really tried to fix this.” They shouldn’t look back and say, “They were blind, they did nothing, they didn’t take advantage of this opportunity given to them.”
This is a time of recalibration. It’s a time to ask, “What have we done well, what have we not done well, and what can we do to change?”
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