On Returning To Normal

As we ponder the toll that this newest pandemic is taking on the world, most of us seem to be interested in one thing above all else – returning to normal.

If we were wise, we would strive to use this opportunity to never again return to the “normal” that brought us to this place at this time. We would instead use this reset to begin a new normal. Instead of striving for growth in all things, we would aim for sustainable stability. We would apply the lessons we’ve learned fighting Covid-19 to an even greater challenge – fighting climate change.

For all the harm the new coronavirus is inflicting on the world, it is also forcing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Something impossible up to now. If we don’t continue to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global warming over the next few decades will inflict more pain, suffering, and death than Covid-19 ever dreamed of.

And what is the biggest obstacle to that reduction of greenhouse gases? It is, in a word, growth. Especially economic growth. Consumerism must end if we are serious about slowing the pace of climate change. As economies are being shut down all over the world, we see that continuous economic growth isn’t needed for our survival. Survival in a world of economic contraction may not be pleasant, but the damages that are soon to be wrought by climate change will make this pandemic of 2020 seem like a walk in the park.

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