Given the harsh realities of COVID-19, it’s abundantly clear that we cannot afford simply returning to comfortable but obsolete “business as usual.”
Nothing clears the mind like a deadly virus, especially after its mortal consequences have been worsened by politically deluded delays and the futile defiance of facts.
Consider that the pandemic is only one of many problems that – though less immediate – are nonetheless ominous: - A rising rate of “premature deaths” – long before COVID-19 arrived.
- The declining survival of newborns.
- The hottest decade on record.
- Rising sea-level that threatens at least a third of humanity.
- An unprecedented, extremely high rate of extinctions among most species of wildlife.
This is a time for pragmatism, not dogmatism. COVID-19 is a grave warning that orthodox practices and outworn policies will imperil our very survival.
The magnitude and range of human activities are producing cumulatively dangerous worldwide impacts that simply cannot be controlled with ad-hoc, incremental market adjustments and political reactions to a series of escalating problems.
Whatever your beliefs about individual freedoms and self-determination, unless hard-nosed policies are adopted to address these harsh realities, our future will be increasingly dire.
The daunting risks of this ongoing pandemic are caused by circumstances that also make climate disruption a very serious challenge. Both issues are global, their impacts spread with exponential rapidity, and they have deadly outcomes made worse by delayed and deficient governmental intervention.
However, unlike COVID-19, no matter how tragic its consequences, the pandemic will end, while the climate crisis will continue escalating unless fundamental reforms in public policy are quickly adopted – above all, phasing out fossil-fuels and transitioning to clean energy.
Returning to conventional neglect of these interrelated, global-scale problems will have increasingly tragic, irreversible consequences.
It’s crucial that we learn from the imperatives revealed by COVID-19.
David Kyler Center for a Sustainable Coast
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