By Sophia Obrecht
Lockdown, quarantine, self-distancing…Covid-19, all words that hadn’t been part of our regular vocabulary four months ago and yet today it seems like not an hour goes by without hearing these phrases. What’s worse is that it’s so hard to look forward to the end of this whole mess because the truth is no one knows when the end will come, perhaps with a vaccine next year, or perhaps in a couple of months with an anti-body test? Who can really say? Not me that’s for sure! But, to make myself feel better I decided to search for those infamous silver-linings because this cloud like the many clouds before it must have one too…
While the Humans Are Away Nature Will Play
If anything good has come out of this crisis it is the environmental benefits of reduced human activity. Less activity means less CO2 and that means less pollution. Not only has the level of air pollution over China significantly reduced, wildlife is also flourishing; with less human activity mountain goats in Llandudno, Wales gained a new found confidence. Perhaps if this situation teaches us anything it is the profound effect humans have on wildlife and on the environment.
While I am not suggesting this lockdown should go on after the end of the coronavirus crisis, the extreme and emergency measures taken by governments across the world – travel bans, and economic packages – do demonstrate what leaders are prepared to do in a crisis which threatens lives. When we emerge from this I can only hope that it will become harder for governments to argue against strict climate laws given the ongoing climate emergency threatening to put many more lives at risk.
Maybe this is the year humans realise that we are not invincible and begin to understand our fragility in the face of climate change. If one virus can cause this much damage what can global warming do?
Our Unsung-Heroes Finally Get Recognition
Doctors, nurses, carers, shop keepers, cleaners, farmers, these are the people that keep the country going, these are the key workers who are trying to protect us from disaster. From doctors and nurses putting their lives at risk, to the critical workers stacking shelves at the supermarket, this crisis has certainly made me stop and think about how society treats those most vital to its survival. From underpaid nurses, to social snobbery surrounding cleaners and shop workers it is time that we stop valuing celebrities, influences or football players, who contribute rather little to society, and start respecting and appreciating the ‘little’ people who live among you and me, the people that save lives and keep society moving in tough times and at all times.
The Age of the Influencer Is Over
As people come to realise the sacrifice, hard work and contribution of key workers, we might also start to see how little influencers and celebrities really contribute to society. Arwa Mahdawi‘s article on the guardian website sheds light on how the coronavirus has exposed the truth behind celebrity culture and capitalism, which is that the rich and famous are rather out of touch with the likes of you and me. While they scramble to stay relevant with their selfies from their pool front mansions the general public is becoming bored and pissed off…After all who needs celebs when you have videos of Italians singing from their balconies or videos of whole nations coming together in solidarity for health workers – it is this content that makes us feel like part of something bigger…not some (however well-meaning) patronising video of celebrities singing imagine to their followers some of whom might be facing unemployment, have little or no access to testing and are in lockdown in apartments and flats smaller than the size of Kim Kardashian’s closet.
What the crisis and lockdown has revealed is that celebrities are no better or smarter than the rest of us and without their red carpet they might even start to lose their shine. I don’t want to criticise the whole of the entertainment industry, because I do think the arts are so important in lifting people up, but I can only hope that it will be the influencers and celebrities with substance, meaningful content, genuine talent and creativity that come out of this more popular, after all who gives a dam about the Love Island hottie posting a pick of her back with the caption “we’re all in this together”…thanks hun I feel so much better now.
Talking is Back in Style
Despite my tyrannous rant against celebrity culture, I do want to end the post with a positive thought. If being in lockdown has limited our physical contact with people it certainly hasn’t limited our emotional contact with individuals. I think it is fair to say that skype calls, zoom catch ups and houseparty chats have opened us up to talking to one and other more often and more honestly. Whether it means getting touch with people you haven’t spoken to in a while or being honest about anxieties and fears I have found that virtual life doesn’t have to mean closing yourself off to human interaction.
Of course I don’t want it to be like this forever, but perhaps when we get out of this small talk might find itself replaced with more open and frank conversation prompted by our few months in isolation.