Finding hope in the Corona crisis

Written by Tara Mulvany - March 2020

Photo Credit: Nasa Earth Observatory

Last September I returned to study after 20 years. It was a momentous decision for me not least because I chose to study climate change, a topic that is an enormous source of anxiety for a lot of people. While returning to study has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, there have been times when the hopelessness of our response to the emergency of climate change as a society has gotten me down.

 

That hopelessness is mainly driven out of the fact that the things that would benefit our planet the most are the very things that would enable us humans to experience life in a more fulfilling way. Slowing down; spending more time with our families; experiencing nature; getting more exercise; reducing waste and over-consumption; becoming more connected to our local communities; living in a safer, cleaner environment. These are all the obvious benefits of a less carbon intense society. But climate change mitigation has too often been framed as an attack on our lifestyles rather than an opportunity.

 

As we face into another week of social distancing  because of the Corona virus, like many of you, I have been sent images of lighting candles from friends, links to free streams of the New York Metropolitan Opera, photographs of the night sky, jokes, links to online meditation classes and book recommendations.  In times of crisis – it is nature, literature, music, art, humour, family, friendship and community that we return to and need the most. These are the experiences that cause no harm to the environment and yet, are the most comforting and fulfilling for us humans.

 

None of us know how this crisis will play out and it’s too soon for any lessons to be learned. But my hope is that this return to simplicity and the protection of all that is most vulnerable and precious in our world lasts well beyond the lifespan of the virus itself.

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