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Time to Pivot?

Written By: - Date published: 12:42 pm, April 18th, 2020 - 11 comments
Categories: covid-19, global warming, quality of life, vision - Tags: , ,

Any serious attempt to halt global warming would involve a winding down of economic activity that relies on burning fossil and other carbon generating sources of energy. We’ve taken a small initial step in that direction through our attempts to stop the spread of Covid 19.

So is it time to pivot and focus on a future that’s in line with not trashing out our bio-sphere rather than being wholly occupied by Covid and the likely prospect of a “great leap backwards” to B.C. (Before Covid)?

Maybe we can expect an institutional onslaught built on notions of recreating conditions that approximate BC days. In terms of global warming, that would be incredibly stupid. To my mind, no less stupid that joining a cult dedicated to the worship of The Big Pangolin.

The Independent reported on a poll that found only 1 in 10 British people want to go back to what was. I find that encouraging. In looking for the link, I came across this second piece of reporting that

The government should be more radical and put in place serious policies to fight the climate crisis with the same urgency as it has to coronavirus, voters believe.

This is a one off opportunity – a once in a life time opportunity – and it’s up to us whether we grasp it or cede our future to ideas of yesterday that will be pushed by many a reactionary and/or institutional mind set.

Do you want to go back?

Perhaps you were so satisfied or contented with life and living three months ago that today only brings a deep sense of loss and a terrible psychological struggle? I think “probably not”.

So apart from on the obvious front of social contact, what is it that you actually miss from B.C.?

And what pleasant discoveries or realisations are these days of lock down revealing?

Given the choice, what are the things flowing from those two questions that you would like to preserve or build on after lock down, and what would you like to jettison or leave to rot in the dirt?

Please assume for the sake of this post that health officials are calling objective shots on the Covid 19 response and that politicians are neutrally managing economic responses in light of whatever results from those public health decisions. And leave all that to one side.

In other words, rather than thinking in terms of “how does or would this fit or work within, or be impacted by existing structures and systems as they are today or may be tomorrow” keep it simple and in the realm of the personal, aye?

We might be surprised at how much we share in common, and it’s simple common ground that will provide the solid foundation for any possible future constrained by the reality of global warming.

11 comments on “Time to Pivot? ”

  1. Roy cartland 1

    I Miss:

    • Art Galleries and museums
    • Schools, for the childcare
    • Working outside of the home
    • Nature
    • Proper meetings, not vid conferencing including sports/rec

    I Don't miss:

    • Meat, lattes, junk food, boozing
    • Travel and tourism, including driving
    • Traffic and noise
    • Litter and pollution, especially plastic
    • Billboards and advertising
    • Celebrities and billionaires
    • Toxic individualism and competition in society and political/economic theory
    • bill 1.1

      I'm assuming you never did booze or eat junk food etc- which is why you don't miss those things. 🙂

      I guess what I was trying to get at in the post is that a B.C. world isn't coming back, or at least, needn't come back. Given that – what sort of things would we like to see influence future trajectories?

      B.C. trajectories have been broadly informed by fairly brutal concepts of competition for example. And I'm guessing many of us would rather our world was shaped more by concepts of cooperation and such like.

      Maybe I should have asked what's shaping peoples' time at the moment, what of those things are different to B.C, and what influences would people prefer to be surrounded by in three months from now and in four years from now.

      There are certainly anecdotal reports of people being a little more community minded in lock down than was the case before. Something worth defending, preserving and building from?

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Some of the things I've been thinking about is

    1. All those effectively useless jobs that don't really produce anything of value – the PR type jobs, those that write reports that managers take no notice of if they even read them, those that in the media write fluff.

    As workplaces spend a period of time without them will then want to go back to having them?

    2. The increased use of on-line services being accelerated – just think Lotto outlets as an easy example. Everyone who has moved online is unlikely to go back (yeah I know that's a prediction) but it is in Lotto's interest to encourage this as no commission, less overheads. How many more people will continue to do things online that they previously walked into a shop for.

    3. I've had a play with some AI applications over the last few weeks. Some of the results are impressive. A couple of things that used to take me months on and off to do now take less than a minute with if I was being particular maybe a few hours to finnick over. Investment in more AI development would be a boon to NZ.

    4. Spreading work around is a must. Even with the package there continues to be a bias against those on benefit as if it their own fault e.g. the wage subsidy is much, much higher than benefit rates. It's time for a 30 hour working week with more people employed for fewer hours each – time and a half after 30 hours to encourage this.

    5. See we can cope with shops not open all the time. Give us at least Sundays back and preferably Saturday afternoons as well. There will be less shops around anyway.

    6. I'm still a fan of turnover tax.

    7. There's been some extremely good Maori leadership through this (No I'm not talking about Hone) with a caring and compassion and nurturing aspect to look after people and we must find ways to give this leadership a stronger voice in peace-time. The willingness to modify customs and protocols to meet a particular time of need has been done quickly but with much thought and insight. Remember that historically much of the opposition to Maori custom was about the notions of community and looking after each other and sharing was seen by the capitalist class as the evil of communism. It had very little to do with race in that sense and much more to do with wealth and power. This seems little understood by both European and Maori.

    8. Benefit rates still need to be made the same as NZS.

  3. I think people now realise the damage cars do. Further, we all blamed the trucks, but still ordered stuff online from overseas and did not count the real cost of getting it to our homes.

    I will selfishly miss our annual visit to our son in Queensland, and my brother in Culburra NSW. We are skyping.

    Online shopping is great, but the prices are in some cases much higher $32 beef a kilo, and have to buy half a kilo rather than our usual 350 g. Prices of scarce products will no doubt increase just as insurances for vehicles should now be cheaper.

    We have made old treats like pikelets, scones, date and walnut loaves. A new highlight of the day, the PM's report to the Nation with Ashley and co.

    We miss inviting friends to dinner, and not being able to have visits from our other son who lives in Hamilton. My hair needs a cut lol

    We had the exterior painted, but the interior decorating fell victim to the lockdown, so we are living with heaps of materials in our unit. We hope the money is still there to pay Rob at the lifting of this.

    We feel fortunate to have a regular payment going into our bank, and overwhelmed by the kind phone calls and help with stacking our winter bags of firewood, a neighbour and his sons sending us inside, and it was all done in 20 mins.

    I think the money given to businesses was a good first step, and a fund for new ideas aimed at making us more resilient and better tenants on the Earth would be good.

    I think, to support the young who will pay for this, no interest Govt loans for building/buying first homes would also be a good step, especially if an allowance for triple glazing and solar with inverters for the batteries was included. Using NZ materials where ever possible. Further all interest on student loans should be suspended.

    Others brighter and more aware of the problems will think of other possibilities.

  4. riffer 4

    I really miss being able to practice and play with my band. It seems to me that arts and entertainment have been completely relegated to "non-essential" and I'm struggling with that.

    I miss earning as much as I did. The reduced income is tough, but mainly because I haven't gotten used to it yet so haven't had to cut my cloth differently – but that will happen.

    I miss being able to go out anywhere and do anything, although I'm mindful of the effect on the environment of all that.

    Apart from that, I don't really miss many other things.

    • Grafton Gully 4.1

      Head down to the park, put a hat on the grass and play. I'd love to hear more music in public places "Music in Parks" yes please !!!!!!

  5. Foreign waka 5

    I enjoy driving, I do and do not apologise for it. Not that I need to do it all the time though.

    But consider this. If I would be using a reliable (!) bus train services it would take me 1.5 hrs each way to and from my home. In my car it takes 20 minutes and finish work times vary. Time is of higher value to me than any political correct assertion. Spending 3 hrs each day commuting would make me utterly miserable. And this is with assumed reliable options. Fact. If proper public transport would be available, I would use it.

    Now, economic or any other systems should be working for people not the other way around. Local and central govt would have to plan and spend on public transport infrastructure coherently and not just build 2 stops of train service in one direction and the public has to just figure out how you get back.

    Lots of lofty ideas will not cut it but logical, feasible and long term affordable projects providing transport/housing/underground infrastructure/clean water supply will. Basics, just basics really.

    • Molly 5.1

      " Now, economic or any other systems should be working for people not the other way around. Local and central govt would have to plan and spend on public transport infrastructure coherently and not just build 2 stops of train service in one direction and the public has to just figure out how you get back. "

      Agree. Public transport spending needs to improve accessibility and service – as well as affordability (I would advocate for free) – and leave the expensive design and nice to have options on the drawing board.

  6. Mpk 6

    I think that one of the takeaways from all this is the need to have a high level of self sufficiency built into your local area on a neighbourhood, town, city and national level. Some people may point to the extreme low price of oil as a disincentive to pursuing Green energy sources but apart from all its climate change attractions is the ability to add local resilience. These obfectives can only be driven by the govt and unilateral decisions are likely to generate heat and friction. If covd has taught us that when it comes down to it it is the collective health and wellbeing of us all that is most important then isnt it time that we initiated some kind of event that took ideas for our direction – things we took as worth pursing – and used this national dialogue as a binding directive to the people in Wellington who afterall are our servants.

    For me, we can and should build things in NZ and we can and should be self sufficient in renewable energy. Health and wellbeing should be prioritised. Money should be put into the service of the people and not be allowed to be the plaything of the financial elite.

    Like Bill says. If there is no real shakeup after this then its just a slow drift back to "normality" which of course is unsustainable. And every time we ignore a chance to change we just set in place the conditions for a future larger shock. Because nothing is more certain than that change will be demanded by the living planet that we exist as a part of.

  7. Scumbag Andy 7

    This is a one off opportunity – a once in a life time opportunity – and it’s up to us whether we grasp it or cede our future to ideas of yesterday that will be pushed by many a reactionary and/or institutional mind set.

    Don't our dreams get old fast?

    So apart from on the obvious front of social contact, what is it that you actually miss from B.C.?

    Nothing really. 1980 thru 1998 was good in that you could still buy stuff that was fixable. Everything is too complicated for the average scumbag now, or deliberately unfixable.

    And what pleasant discoveries or realisations are these days of lock down revealing?

    No pleasant discoveries or realisations. Unless you use the word pleasant in a sarcastic way. People piss me off way less now, because their pathetic idiocy has been entirely proven. Not being constantly annoyed by stupidity saves a lot of energy. It's hard to get annoyed at a rationally defective person – and there are so many. You'd still step on it if it bit you, but you wouldn't be surprised by it's attack anymore.

    Given the choice, what are the things flowing from those two questions that you would like to preserve or build on after lock down, and what would you like to jettison or leave to rot in the dirt?

    I cannot think of one thing from the past worth building on, not culturally, philosophically or personally. It'd all be just old reruns of failed stuff. It's like people deferring to old famous PMs. Back when they were actually PM, it looked a lot different and no one had yet heard of them or realised what was happening. We don't get to work in reverse if we want innovation or creative new answers. You can't harvest good organs out of a 60 year old corpse.

    So for me personally it's giving up on old pathways and assurances and letting it all go. I hope I can stand what my life becomes, good or bad.

    Maybe I should have asked what's shaping peoples' time at the moment, what of those things are different to B.C, and what influences would people prefer to be surrounded by in three months from now and in four years from now.

    If my preferences got me where I am, got us where we are now, then what good are preferences? Even if it's only half our fault then preferences are pointless. Do I hope for peace and goodwill to mankind? A new fairer reality, much like the old reality, but with a more diverse spectrum of possible behaviours and greater extremes? It doesn't matter really. Live, die, win, lose, it's all a big whatever unless a person has some sort of internal connection to it.

  8. All I can say is, or borrow from someone else is,"Never let a good crisis go to waste. Its an opportunity to do the things you once thought were impossible," is looking like they're letting the opportunity slip through their hands.

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