Covid 19, brutal and frightening, is causing personal and financial suffering around the entire globe; its effects on the lives of millions will continue long after lockdown. As with many of the world’s problems, including climate change, the short and long-term effects of this global pandemic will to be felt more cruelly by the poor.
A pandemic is not in any way a positive event. Nobody would have wished for this. However, it does present the whole world and every individual with stark moral decisions.
Let’s face it: a lot was going wrong. Covid has revealed our fragility, our common humanity, and the injustices we have been ignoring. It also seems true that, in spite of the efforts of so many, we were very unlikely to meet the challenges necessary to tackle climate change. We knew we had to act within 10 years, but our momentum in the wrong direction seemed unstoppable. Who would have the courage to apply the brakes?
Covid isn’t a gentle braking: it’s a catastrophic crash. Nevertheless, we still have to choose our direction as we move forward. Now, right now, is the moment of decision.
Economic recovery will be, quite rightly, at the forefront of everybody’s minds, and there will be powerful forces pushing us to resume business as usual. But there’s an alternative, a better one. We can find a way to build a new, strong, fair economy which heals rather than destroys the planet we all share.
We can recover at the same time as tackling climate change. Christine Figueras has described this as ‘an extraordinary window of time in which we can do these things at the same time.’ If not now, then when?
This decade – the 2020s – is our one chance to build a fairer society, a safer world and a better future for everybody.