Saturday, 20 June 2020

Pressing the reset button on society

The Covid19 crisis affected the world in so many ways.  So many people were sent home from work either furloughed or to work from home; children were sent home from schools; shops were closed; health workers were clapped.

Life was on pause.

It has led many to reevaluate their lives.  Maybe parents found that spending more time with their children and supporting them with their learning was a joyful experience that they would like to continue, and decided not to go back to work and school at all.  Maybe people realised that they could do without all the shopping and evenings out that they had thought were vital to their existence.  People realised that the things they really missed were family and friends.

Now though, as restrictions are lifted, don't press play yet.  

Before we rush headlong back to life as we knew it (or this weird 2m socially distanced "new normal") can we reflect on what needs changing?  Don't be in too great a hurry to go back to "how life was" because there was a lot wrong with "how life was".  Instead, let's think about "how life should be" and try to build that instead.

At the beginning of lock-down people talked about hope, they talked about standing together, they talked about helping the vulnerable.  This seems to have been forgotten pretty quickly.  People out there still need help, just as they needed help before the crisis.  In the rush to get back to Primark and get the kids back to school have we forgotten that?

Let's stop.

Let's think about the world we want to live in.
Let's make our headlines about positive changes to build a better society, and not about which statues are up or whether social distancing should go from 2m-1m or what Trump has tweeted this time.

As well as talking about how we can help the most deprived children, who maybe haven't been able to engage with home learning, to "catch up" and as well as making sure they can eat during the Summer... let's talk about why we still have deprived families and lets talk about what we can do to bring more equality to society.

Instead of this dreadful polar argument about whether those "lazy teachers" who've been sat on their backsides since March (or, more accurately, who've been supporting their classes and their families through home-learning and supporting key-working children in school) should be teaching through the Summer... what if we look at whether the three term, long summer holiday system and 9-3.15 school day is actually fit for purpose in today's society and take this opportunity to hit reset and build something better.

Instead of worrying about whether we can travel safely to work on public transport, let's ask ourselves whether there's another way?  
We have grown used to astronomical house prices and a buy now, throw away later culture that requires a high income.  Have we learnt from the lockdown that we don't need all those things?  Could we live somewhere cheaper and buy less so we don't all have to go out to work at all and can stay home and educate the kids?

Our local environments have enjoyed an unexpected surge of biodiversity with reduced traffic and industrial pollution.  Could we ask ourselves if we can keep that going?  What have we done without that we can keep doing without?

If you were keen to volunteer in your local community at the beginning of lock-down, remember that your local community values volunteers at all times, not just in crisis.  When things like Scouts and Guides, local litter-picking groups and homeless centres get back to normal, could you continue volunteering?