In our Summer 2020 issue, Davie Philip discussed how current world events have given us the opportunity to cultivate a deep sense of resilience, and re-envision how we connect to the world around us. Read on to experience his message of clarity and purpose!
Corona as a catalyst
Re-imagining Resilience in Challenging Times
by Davie Philip
“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.” Rebecca Solnit
What we are living through is definitely a turning point, and the most serious collective event any of us have ever faced. As we navigate these uncharted waters, I see an opportunity to intensify efforts to strengthen our resilience and to be better able to cope with the cascades of challenges that will follow.
By now we will all know someone who has been infected and possibly died, our relationships will have been severely tested, and most of us will have lost livelihoods or have businesses that have gone bust. Our collective anxiety has reached unprecedented levels, and we are now sliding into a global economic downturn deeper than we have ever experienced.
It will take months, if not years, to recover. Without belittling the seriousness of the situation, and recognising that this has been a terrible time for most people, could we find a silver lining in this pandemic? A good crisis really is an awful thing to waste.
So many things have changed, and going back to the way things were is not really an option – remember, ‘normal’ before Coronavirus was a climatic and ecological emergency. This massive wake-up call has highlighted that the way we live on this planet is fatally out of balance. Rather than bouncing back, the pandemic could act as a catalyst to help us breakthrough to a different way of living.
In this extraordinary time many people have discovered that they are far stronger together, with the crisis injecting a new sense of co-operation into our fragmented communities. Even with physical distancing we have witnessed countless displays of social solidarity with community groups mobilising to care for elderly people and to deliver supplies to other vulnerable groups.
The crisis has brought into focus the vulnerabilities of the very long supply chains that we depend on. Being forced to stay within 2km of where we live has nurtured a new appreciation of our local places. Community Supported Agriculture and box schemes providing locally produced food have reported increased subscriptions, and seed sales were unprecedented as many got into gardening for the first time. We are now aware of the benefits of working from home, with many questioning the need for arduous commutes.
The pandemic highlights inequalities and in doing so, gives us the opportunity to resolve them. It is now clear who the essential workers in our society are, and we need to ensure we support and properly pay them as we go forward. In many ways this could be a valuable opportunity to build a fairer, more humane, healthy and compassionate world.
The skills we have learned over the last few months will become part of the way we rebuild the future. Could this be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconsider our relationship with the natural world, reconnect to our local communities, re-localise economies and intensify efforts to strengthen our resilience?
Davie Philip is a community catalyst and facilitator at Cultivate, the sustainability cooperative based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage, and a network weaver with ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability.