For years our leaders and decision-makers have attempted to persuade society to stop, reduce consumption and use alternative technologies. In response, we have collectively made relatively small attempts to curb our behaviours. As a society, we have creatively used off-setting theory and meagre attempts to reuse and recycle. We have continued to justify our addictive desires to drive, fly, move around, see each other, eat world foods and generally buzz around like busy global bees. Much to the chagrin of those who hold the purse strings to the world’s finite resources. We have watched disapprovingly as wars are waged over them.
That was until this year. Covid-19 has been the single most effective mechanism that has achieved what our global leaders have wanted us to do all along. Which must be enough to germ the seed of any conspiracy theory. It just seems far too convenient for my liking. Instead, maybe it’s coincidence, if you believe in them. Perhaps it is a fortunate convenience – but for who? And for how long will these new ways of working and living be a feature of daily life?
Society, both social and business, has been rebooted. Someone somewhere has switched us off and turned us back on again. For now, anyway. We’re fast approaching the milestone of six months with the reality of the pandemic. Our lives, routines and preoccupations all changed. Holidays are spent at home, or nearby, at least mostly in the UK. Those not yet able to let go of a foreign holiday have run the risk. Many squeezing in a two-week quarantine before the start of the new school term as I type. Social events like birthday parties, weddings, get togethers and even funerals have been curtailed.
Despite shortages in those early days, international food chains have remained and supplies of the all-year-round produce haven’t been affected. In quiet moments in between growing a few vegetables I look up and watch the freight flights – packed with such goods – soaring over the house, where once holiday flights were.
Our global worlds have become local communities. The car is more a weekly not daily feature. Our miles travelled have become steps taken. The goal of achieving a dramatic reduction in consumption has been achieved. The office commute is now the equivalent of walking into the next room. Work has become smaller in many ways. Although online video meetings have brought so many clients and colleagues closer. Working at home means we need to be our own IT departments, literally controlling, ‘alting’ and deleting for ourselves. COVID-19 in turn is powerfully controlling society, successfully altering our behaviours and deleting previous ways and people’s lives. What happens next remains to be seen.