I hadn’t written on social media about the Covid19 crisis. I’m not an expert on pandemics nor do I feel like giving advice to people on themes I know little. I believe we always need to follow official information and trust the institutions. If there is criticism to be made, I leave them to epidemiologists, emergency management experts, at the most I can make some criticism of the information system, in which I work. We must all undoubtedly keep an ethical behavior of a very high profile, being careful of our every gesture, every lack of us, which can cost human lives. Like we should always do, but we don’t.
What I have been dealing with for a long time is the environmental issue and how to support a transition to a more sustainable and circular economy, where wealth is redistributed most, where cities can be livable places, where nature is not an extractive well of matter but the fundamental picture of functions and organisms that all contribute to maintaining planetary balances. It was written abundantly how COVID19 has been facilitated by the devastation of nature and atmospheric disturbing. And how the economic paradigm puts GDP in front of people’s lives. We experts know how the destruction of biodiversity, pollution and climate problem can generate even more complex situations in the medium term than the current pandemic (and with many more deaths).
What to do?
We have 3–4 months of severe restriction before the arrival of an effective vaccine (hoping for summer parenthesis), of great suffering, of difficult choices, of those that many of us have never had to face. We can’t hide it. It won’t end April 3th. When the virus is under control, we will have celebrated for a week, we will face an unprecedented economic system crisis since the Second World War II (2008 will seem like a joke in comparison). It will not be a financial crisis, but economic, systemic and social.
Walter Stahel in a recent chat via Zoom, recalled Zen Chinese history of what good luck or bad luck really is. Certainly at the moment this 2020 seems to us as the worst year of our lives. Yet for the first time since the Bretton Woods agreements the overall status quo of our economy is in crisis. The state form is fighting to survive with digital and real flags, national pride here and there. But we are crying for a international response. We unconsciously realize that we have lost contact with our place (it took the coronavirus to know your neighbors) and at the same time we seek global solidarity and an effort “as one humanity”. Let’s find out that we can change habits, and how precious certain values are — the free movement of people. Can we make this tragedy the greatest opportunity to stop a bigger and harder tragedy to grasp?
The present offers those who are visionary a great chance to radically change an economy, a management of our common home, putting the health of people and the planet at the center. We can rethink our cities, our transport, the way we work, the weight that environmental issues really have on the development agenda, the weight of neoliberal globalisation. We can partially dematerialize our economy and start right in the most damaged sectors to relaunch them future-proof, resilient, near zero emission. It’s the most interesting work we can do in the coming months and I already see brilliant minds in action, organizing, where the webcall is no longer a trivial social moment but a social construcens situation. To relaunch you won’t need a trivial Marshall plan or the IMF that will reaffirm the usual tears and blood recipes, but will need systemic designers, circular economists, resilience experts, social enterprises, new cooperative forms, enlightened capitalist CEO, financiers who can create wealth by subverting classic models (I wouldn’t have said it but today they are there too). This is the pool of people that needs to be created. A network, doesn’t matter italian or mexican, but a great global network. All to be designed.
Do we want to go back to how it was before (with thousands of deaths from pollution, elderly people left alone, selfishness, nature on the verge of collapse) or create a truly better world? It would be a noble way to remember and honor all the people we’ve lost and will lose in the months to come. This enormous sacrifice we have to make, at least, won’t be in vain.
Emanuele Bompan is journalist and communicator with an international experience. Reports on energy, climate change, environment, US Politics. He has published the book “Che cosa è l’economia circolare” (Ed. Ambiente), about the rise of circular economy.
Has been awarded with the Middlebury Environmental Journalism Fellowship and four times The Innovation in Development Reporting Grant. In 2015 he has been awarded with “Reporter per la Terra” 1st prize. In 2016 he got the DNI Google award with La Stampa. Has interviewed prime ministers, industry leaders, environmental gurus, intellectuals, all around the world.
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