International Policy Digest

World News /02 Apr 2020
04.02.20

What to do at Home?…Change the World, that’s What.

In the end, COVID-19 will be a common punctuation to the life story of billions of people: “Where were you when COVID-19 hit?” will be asked in twenty or thirty years and everyone now alive will remember the answer. But that is what makes our time now important. Some people can help in the medical process but what about the millions of people just trying to keep track of what’s happening?

How would it be, if as we sheltered at home, we thought about climate change? Do we each realize that our own reticence to come to a common consensus is allowing us to drift past the point of no return where the seas will rise, the forests will die, and the face of the Earth will be unrecognizable to the generations that follow?

How would it be, if as we sheltered at home, we thought about the biodiversity crisis? As individuals, we are viciously killing off countless species of plants and animals.

How would it be, if as we sheltered at home, we thought about our human population? The human race has been very successful but to the detriment of all other living organisms. Even as we look around and see that the very catastrophe we are trying to avoid is caused by our own lack of restraint. Pandemics come from overpopulation. We know we will eventually need to limit our growth. Isn’t that the message we are getting right now?

How would it be, if as we sheltered at home, we thought about the imbalance of power and wealth? Undoubtedly humanity has progressed over the millennia of our tenure. We have put in place systems to organize ourselves which are both evil and good. Democracy is undoubtedly the vanguard of the good but its present variant is actually hiding the fact the money is in control, not the vote. Solutions are there but only for those with open eyes.

The pandemic is a terrible thing and hugely dangerous. It’s sending us home where we will self isolate and do our best to keep our families safe. If at the same time we take the opportunity to think through a few of the bigger questions of modern life, we may be doing ourselves a real favor.

The four things I mentioned above are all issues that rise up because we don’t. We don’t in the developed world because we want to keep what we have. This pandemic could be an opportunity to find a new perspective. So many millions now have to stay at home. Maybe that suddenly different situation will allow us to find a consensus we didn’t know existed just by taking the time to think about it. What to do at home? Change the world, that’s what!