Hearing Ourselves Think about the World
We have been told for years that it is too difficult to take dramatic steps to deal with the immense, human-
generated environmental crises plaguing the planet: but here we are, with urgent, transformative decisions to
make about the kind of society we want to build from the wreckage – economic and social – of the pandemic.
But while this an opportunity for a genuinely green recovery, there is also the danger that the failed status quo
– duly ‘greenwashed’ for the occasion – may return.
CHANGE LAB ACTION RESEARCH INITIATIVE
When we asked for your stories and ideas we received many reflections. Some were struck most by the clean air and the resulting clarity of light – including in the night sky – while, for others, the steep reduction of noise seemed to inspire a deep sense of personal stillness and gratitude for the natural world, including those softly singing birds we now took more delight in.
Some noted that it was our invitation to reflect that led to a recognition of just how much – amidst the stresses produced by the situation – we needed to “‘slow down and stop and look around”. But the gentle reflections on spending quality time with family members and experiencing more meaningful engagements with the natural world were, alas, offset by an awareness that not everyone shared the same deep desire to relate to the world around us in a respectful and compassionate manner. In this regard we heard, for example, about the increased evidence of littering, a return to reliance on single-use items, and a sharp increase in violations of laws protecting beaches and other wilderness areas from ATVs.
The responses received raise questions about where we, as a community, want to go from here. As this very strange year of pandemic fear and restrictions slowly shifts to some kind of new normal, we must find the courage and time to ask what we have learned, about ourselves and our community, that might lead not just to a greener and cleaner, but a fairer and more caring, region and world.
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