We are living through strange days. In less than a month, the UK has gone from a liberal open society to a state of almost ubiquitous house arrest. On the streets people are suspicious of each other. On social media people are being “denounced” for minor infractions. The police issue threats on Twitter.
If people are behaving irrationally now, just wait until the discussion on vaccination begins. Some will say it carries risks and refuse the vaccine. Others will insist that it should be mandatory to ensure herd immunity. Have we reached a stage where our living conditions are so cramped and unsanitary that we have to be vaccinated like cattle to stay “healthy”?
The government declared that the homeless should be housed immediately to prevent spread of the virus. As with other measures taken recently this shows that, when the stakes are high enough, we can accomplish many things previously thought impossible. Pollution and CO2 emissions have dropped and are forced to re-evaluate our previous lame response to the “climate emergency”.
The hordes of tourists have gone and towns and cities have been returned to their residents. Animals return to spaces previous dominated by people. The skies are clear of vapour trails, the sunlight returns and its now quiet at night. On my Boris walks I see people sitting on balconies, in gardens or on their front steps just enjoying the day. They notice the blossom on the trees. They chat with their neighbours.
There is much talk of how the virus may change society and pundits suggest that we may become less keen on global supply chains, reliance on authoritarian regimes for essential goods and more willing to embrace state intervention over free markets.
I suggest that we may realise that for the past few decades we have sold our collective soul in pursuit of individual material gain and corporate profit. The left and the right have conspired to support a status quo modelled on an atomised global population where all non-corporate social institutions have been eradicated or assimilated and community means little more than sexual orientation or an online hobby group.
Maybe we have now reached a watershed and this is a chance for real change. But change wont come automatically. We need to grasp the opportunity. We need to agree on what change we want.
I have some ideas. I’d like to see a massive drop in tourism. Yes I travel and I adore exploring different countries and cultures but we know absolutely that mass tourism destroys the thing it loves. To herd over 5 million shuffling nit-wits through the Sistine Chapel every year just so they tick it off their bucket list does nothing to increase appreciation of Michelangelo but does make the area somewhere to be avoided by locals and since halting mass tourism may have been a major step in bringing CO2 emissions under control then restarting it would be nothing but selfishness.
But that’s just my idea. What about yours? How do you think the world should change?
I have a handful of films in the planning stage. One idea is to interview random strangers and get them to talk about their lives, how they live and how they see the future post coronavirus. I’m starting to build a list of questions. Some personal and some general. If you have ideas for questions or ideas of the changes that may come then please reply here or contact me via the contact page.