Over the past weeks our lives have changed- there has been a pause on our social life, our travel, our shopping habits and many people are confined to their home. Our lives as we know them have changed. The fast-multi-tasking pace that we lived our lives has come to an abrupt halt for many.
The impact of the virus on individuals, communities, businesses, economies and the fabrication of our lives is devastating and not a sacrifice we would have wanted to make under any circumstance. This pandemic will end, at some point, and modern life will be restored, but how will we emerge from this? Our habits are embedded within us, having been cultivated over years by the desire to keep up with modern society and many people will potentially simply revert back to their ‘normal’ pre-pandemic habits and routines. An endless desire for more has been fuelled by businesses and media/social media for years, with such things as fast fashion and the influences of celebrity/influencer always tempting us as a consumer.
The damage that we are doing to our planet has been well documented, particularly with our fashion clothing shopping habits. Carbon emissions from the producing and making of garments, coupled with over consumption and our disposable culture has been an increasing concern. However, in this time that our lives have changed dramatically, our natural world is benefitting, not only physically through lower carbon emissions, but from us having the time and fewer distractions to be able to open our eyes and see and appreciate what is around us. Such as:
Taking joy from bees and butterflies to hearing birds tweeting
Clearer skies and horizons from less pollution opening up visibility to previously distorted horizons. It has been reported that people living in parts of ‘Northern India are seeing the view of the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in their lives’ (Standard, UK)
Noticing the beauty of nature around us and watching the growth and change as the days progress. A noticeable increase has been seen on Instagram with people posting what they are seeing in their new restricted space. From pictorials showing the blossom trees flowering, to pictures from walks in parks to close up imagery of flower petals. A new reinvigorated appreciation and love of nature has been fuelled.
Photo: Poppy Trayner
If any positives can be taken from this journey then it is one that we look after people and our planet in a more considered and less impactful way and accelerate our desire to create new habits to help create a cleaner, more caring world. Whilst halting production and closing the world down is not the answer to helping our environment, economically or for peoples’ livelihoods, we do have choices moving forward to have a more positive impact. For those of us who suddenly have time to think and breathe, we can use this time to reflect on our previous busy schedules, appreciate the things and people around us and maybe rethink the impact we were having and start to engender change in our habits.