EARTH DAY and The New Normal
My new normal life is one where I get up, shower have breakfast and then walk to my spare bedroom that is set up as a rather pleasant home office. I break my day by having coffee or a fruit tea in the morning, a walk at lunchtime and a ten minute session in the afternoon of doing something I wouldn’t ordinarily do – watch the afternoon news.
Of course there is very little about this new normal that is ordinary. Each day the news bring the number of deaths across the country and the world, a mass grave in New York, arguments over PPE and talk of exit strategies, before we even know what we are to exit to.
We live now in a world where our society, our economics and our environment have been thrown off kilter in a way that this modern world could only have imagined in some dystopian Hollywood movie.
But wait, let’s just think for a minute, wasn’t society all but broken. The welfare state was slowly being dismantled and the gaps taken up by underfunded social enterprises and charities; some of the last to be bailed out by big government. Has the Covid virus pointed a new light on what society really is and how we should nurture the best of it. Clap for the NHS on Thursday, neighbourly notes through doors, homelessness sorted overnight and wealthy individuals, groups and organisations re-thinking their priorities?
“We will ask ourselves about how we do business and social interactions – do we need as many jets in the sky? We can’t allow ourselves to be this vulnerable again?”
Chris Packham Interview by Stephen Stafford & Ben Moore BBC South 21 March 2020
On the economic front big government has taken action and an array of grants, salary top ups, loans and payment holidays all now in place to support the workers through this crisis. It seems a huge and generous effort and the right thing to do. What, I ask myself, happens to those who fall through the cracks, because cracks there are. What about the self-employed without two years of accounts, the volunteer manager who hasn’t taken anything, but has survived on the sheer good will of others that can no longer give that support. The gig economy was always vulnerable and now exposed as downright dangerous to your physical and mental health, when extraordinary events take over. In Scotland and in many other countries there is talk of a universal basic income, that may sound altruistic but actually it makes economic sense. A basic right to the cash one needs to survive thereafter taxes to pay for those less fortunate. I like that idea, I like a society that balances the economic with people and puts people front and centre in a value driven world.
Then of course we think about the environmental changes we are seeing in our new normal – the air is cleaner; just a short walk outside and you can smell the pine trees, hear the bumble bees and the birdsong is a symphony of joy.
“Business leaders have a crucial role to play, by putting nature at the core of their processes and decision-making and systematically identifying, assessing, mitigating and disclosing nature-related risks to avoid severe consequences. Businesses can be part of the global movement to protect and restore nature.“ World Economic Forum 19 January 2020
A recent article on the BBC website showed farmers working away delivering new life into the world, a world that not so long ago they were accused of polluting. Now however with many of the big polluters, travel, shipping and many more at rest, the small impact that farmers make in their work seems less of a concern and more an imperative to keep us fed.
The battle we are fighting against Covid 19 is one that will continue for a long time to come and as businesses adjust to the new normal, we will all have to do our bit to ensure that the battle against climate change doesn’t get lost in the rush to revert to our old ways. We need to make sure our supply chain and our management as custodians of this earth accounts for the best that we can be. The National Green Standard on-line self-assessment is as good a place to check your new reality as any – it’s free with a facilitated cost effective assessment to follow up maybe now is the time to see how you measure up.