Some are calling this time of self-quarantine The Great Pause. I’m realizing that so much of what we thought was essential to life really isn’t. And that what’s truly important are the most basic things such as clean water, clean air, healthy soil to grow nutrient-dense food, basic necessities, access to healthcare, access to information, and connection to community.
I don’t want things to return to the old normal when this is all done. I want a new normal. A better normal that’s sustainable for everyone: humans, as well as the diverse and yet intricately interdependent ecosystems we all live in.
So many are focused on what we’ve lost during this Great Pause, and yet a part of me is grateful for what it is also showing us. A lot of human activity is unsustainable for the planet and our ultimate survival as a species. And yet, with the little time that we’ve stopped, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of the environment that is very encouraging.
I don’t want to lose any of the gains that this lockdown has given us. I want to keep seeing the mountains in the distance because the air is clean. I want to see us humans living as part of the natural world instead of apart from it and not being constantly aware of the balance we must maintain with our environment.
So here’s my preliminary wishlist for the reality that will be once we come out of quarantine:
Employers giving incentives to work from home in order to not only reduce operational costs but also alleviate traffic.
Zero carbon emission engines and machines. I don’t think it’s possible for us humans to stop using engines and machines, but we can definitely figure out a way to keep our air clean.
Urban permaculture food forests and household food gardens, including container gardens, rooftop fruit and vegetable gardens, medicinal herb gardens all over the place!!! No one has to go hungry.
Community-led composting and planting workshops to teach everyone how to turn their kitchen scraps and green waste into rich, food-producing soil. And then how to start and maintain food gardens. Self-sufficiency and food security are beautiful things.
Easier transition to solar energy. Lessen our dependence on fossil fuel. We have an abundance of sun. Let’s find more and more ways to harness it!
Switch to plant-derived and biodegradable plastics. Everything should be able to go back to the earth.
A reassessment of our educational goals as a global society. What sort of information do we need to learn in order to live sustainably on this planet? What core areas of competency do we need in order to support the inherent interdependency of our natural world?
Now is the time to reimagine the world we live in. I’m already a mother, and I want to leave a beautiful world to my kids. I want to teach them how to be good Earthlings that know how to find equilibrium with their ecosystem. I want them to be able to see the web of life and realize that they can never be apart from it.
I want to hear from you what your wishes are for the better world we’ll be fashioning together. It’s time to dream big and create a beautiful new reality.