The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live. It has forced us to take unprecedented measures, with countries in lockdown, children being schooled online and people working from home. However, amid these events, some positive developments could redefine the way we live after this crisis.
- Dramatic drops in pollution levels
It is no secret that our day-to-day lives leave a tremendous carbon footprint on the planet. Transportation, travel, restaurants and factories all have a direct impact on the environment, most notably in cities. However, our day-to-day life has come to an abrupt pause, and we’ve had to adapt. We’re getting used to a more efficient and economical lifestyles, working from home, buying more responsibly and being less wasteful. The effects have been far and wide. Skylines, shores, rivers and canals are visibly clearer. The air is cleaner. This is most prevalent in countries hard-hit by pollution that have been in lockdown over this period. It is estimated that this pollution reduction could save up to 77,000 lives in China alone. While this exact setup might not support the economy in the long run, the crisis will have revolutionised the way we go about our business and will hopefully teach us to live more sustainable lives, today’s clear skies give us a preview of what may come—even if it takes decades to get there.
- Nature’s comeback
The drop in pollution levels has had a majestic impact on wildlife. These beautiful creatures have slowly started to venture back into our cities. The lure of empty streets must have them dumbfounded, wondering where all the humans are gone. Nevertheless, they’ve slowly started to take over land that used to be theirs, and they’ve done so in style! Goats crossing the streets of Wales, coyotes in San Francisco, ducks on the Las Vegas strip, pumas in Chile and civet cats in India. For our fellow animal lovers, this is nothing short of stunning. The perseverance and grit of wildlife, and its ability to revive itself is something worth celebrating. It’s great to know how fast nature can heal, and we’re excited to see the developments of the Aqaba reef!
- Social bonding
The coronavirus has confined us to our homes and forced us to isolate. We’ve cut out hugs or kisses, high-fives or pats on the shoulder, and this has been hard on us. But in reality, we are more close knit than ever before. We are reminded of what makes us human: kindness communication and compassion. Modern societies are short on these traits, but the crisis is making us more united. Despite the challenges, we are communicating more, calling each other on a daily basis, interacting with neighbours from our balconies, collectively celebrating the heroes fighting this battle. We are finding new ways to connect, and hopefully, we’ll maintain this spirit on the long run.
- Connectivity, speed and innovation
The challenges brought to us by the crisis, and the subsequent isolation has made us craftier and more innovative. We’ve been forced to think out of the box, to come up with quick and easy solutions. To forgo the annoying and time consuming formalities of a rigid system we thought unbreakable. Many procedures are simplified, meetings are shorter and rules are side-tracked. People are working from home without supervision, and many businesses have gotten stability from this model. Innovations have also facilitated this approach. A lot of apps have come to the limelight, making communication, conference calls and file sharing more accessible and effective. This revisited form of work has cut time-wasting practices from the way we conduct business, and has us working more efficiently.
- Working from home
How some of us have longed for it! An extra hour of sleep, a dress code of pyjamas and slippers, with the occasional shirt thrown over to look decent on a video call. For some, these days have finally arrived, and to the dismay of employers, they have been just as productive as a day at the office. Of course many businesses include field work and have shut due to the crisis, but those able to carry on by working from home have shown that it’s possible. After all, constant supervision should be limited to school… or should it? Classes are also being taught online, and they are more gripping than ever. In Hong Kong, school teachers have taken their classes online with very interactive apps. This is developing children’s computer skills from a young age, and opening up many opportunities to revamp our methods of education. This crisis has taught us that there is a lot we can get done from home, and this can become a trend that carries on into the future.