This pandemic has been a learning experience. For the first time our global world has been brought to its knees. More worrying is this is not over but just beginning. The dynamic lag effect in science called hysteresis assures consequences ahead. It is likely these consequences will be dramatic and it is also possible they will cause a movement to an alternative state well explained in ecology of living systems. We are talking thresholds, regime shifts, and perturbations.
This means this virus is now much more than a health problem. The right or wrong of the response in some ways is irrelevant now except as a meaningful marker to learn from. It is inevitable our system would eventually have such a pandemic because of our interconnectedness and movement to increasing urbanization. We are now much more specialized and delocalized. This means our survival is more than ever dependent on elsewhere. Pandemics are white swans meaning they happen with regularity in human history. This means the degree of disturbance in our society should be a warning to the risk of more pandemics but also other disruptive events.
It is unclear how many mistakes could have been prevented. We are held to account to respond to these things. We have a worrying limited response ability when the response is global. This is because the world is joined together globally making responses brittle. Do one thing here and affect another thing there. So, we have a multilevel consideration here. One is the medical but another is the systemness of everyone’s lifeline. This points to localization as a solution but within a trap globalism has created. Doors have been shut so only so much constructive change will be allowed. It may be more a limiting of destructive change that is possible.
What I see from my REAL Green point of view is the need to degrowth within a wisdom of what degree of globalization and regional interconnectedness is safe. This means now that we see just how vulnerable society is there should be an effort to move away from this dispersed risk. This means less affluence and less comforts. From this complex brittle condition should come more flexible simplicity. One is localism and another is less complicated support systems locally. The problem with this is competitive forces of globalism and capitalism. Will they allow this retreat to simplicity? My feelings are that nature will force this issue instead of proactive policy. This means abandonment, dysfunction, and the irrational will create a vacuum that local of people and places will fill. This also means disenfranchisement that will disrupt positive attempts at a reset. There are forces at the top who will be pushing policy which is almost always growth based and status quo that will get in the way of local people and places to change constructively to simplicity. This means it will be destructive change that will drive responses. I am discussing what comes after the medical disruptions. This does not mean the medical disruptions are over.
What this points to then is individual actions within these greater forces of change. It starts with the individual’s behavior of acceptance of inevitable destructive change. Getting out of paralysis from the shock and moving forward into constructive change locally. Unfortunately, the medical situation is one of social distancing so this makes these efforts even more local. We are now isolated and facing disruptive change.
The key to this is accept destructive change first. Second is prepare for a difficult time ahead. Do not get caught up with a crowd feeling of getting back to normal. Normal is gone but still trapped in the surreal. Downsize with dignity because this is where meaning is. Your discomforts will be lessened if you realize meaning. Do house cleaning and entertain new activities that prepare you for the worse ahead. This means fundamental lifestyle changes. If these are not possible becuase you are trapped then at a minimum begin mentally preparations. Getting to acceptance is the stages of grief so these changes center on behavior. There is no easy fix for destructive change there is mainly fortitude. Even if I am wrong about the changes ahead it is likely something else worse than this pandemic is ahead. This situation then is a warning to seek more resilience and sustainability if you can. Those who can should. Those who can’t can still find meaning and fortify.