possibilities of making a big difference

Life after the pandemic: Hope for a new world

The pandemic has left the future uncertain, but the possibilities of making a big difference are certainly open for us to explore.

The coronavirus pandemic is not just a global crisis, but an event that has changed the world forever. When the pandemic will end and people around the globe will finally come out of their homes, they will have something vital to ponder on—where we will go from here?

There will be two paths in front of us. One path that leads to nowhere, where we will keep running in circles. The other one, a road to a better future where humanity will thrive and prosper. It will be up to us to decide which path we take.

Talking about humanity’s future, Booker prize-winning novelist, Arundhati Roy gave the pandemic a metaphorical meaning when she recently wrote, “It [the pandemic] is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

A better world will have more compassion among people; where everyone will fight together against any threat, and celebrate victories as one as well. It will be a world where anyone can be a hero—a doctor, a student, a teacher, or a daily wager—where animals live peacefully and nature blossoms. Due to the pandemic, we have started to see glimpses of that world already.

The internet is flooded with stories of strangers coming to the aid of those in need with bags full of groceries; neighbours are singing and dancing from their balconies to uplift each other’s spirits; the air has never been so clean and the sky has never been so blue. Above everything else, the animals have reclaimed the streets where once their home existed. In this feature, Soulveda explores how a pandemic that started with fear and isolation is teaching us to bring profound, positive, and hopefully permanent changes.

A social leveller

The outbreak of the pandemic has made one thing clear. We are all equal in the eyes of nature. Everyone has been hit by the outbreak just the same. A world once obsessed with luxury goods suddenly rushed to stock up on essentials. Behind the protective face masks and gloves, everyone was equally scared and worried. The priority was health, rest was secondary. It is during this time of social distancing that everyone is realising how connected and dependant we are on each other. And thus came into being #WeAreInThisTogether—a trending hashtag that sums up the sentiment of everyone around the world.

Examples of compassion and kindness are all over the internet. Togetherness has found a new meaning in this difficult time. Qualities that we as a community have rekindled on a global level will not disappear even when the virus does.

Life after coronavirus outbreak

A doctor, a nurse, first responders, a pharmacist, a news reporter, all are getting due respect and gratitude from everyone for their selfless work.

The word ‘hero’ has a new meaning

The people we always revered as heroes—actors, sportsmen, and other celebrities—are confined to their homes, while the ‘unsung heroes’ battle out the pandemic for us. A doctor, a nurse, first responders, a pharmacist, a news reporter, all are getting due respect and gratitude from everyone for their selfless work. They are working long hours fighting an unknown enemy, away from their families and loved ones, just so others can stay safe. They are the real heroes of our world. Let the Earth’s recovery from the pandemic not be the end of the respect for them, let this be the beginning.

A breather for the environment

As life came to a standstill all across the globe, nature began to heal.

The governments’ responsible and quick action to control the spread of the virus, slowed down the deterioration of the environment. Within a week of complete lockdown, reports, and pictures of pollution-free blue sky, free-flowing clean rivers began to circulate.

The pandemic is a wake-up call for us to reimagine a new world once the chaos is over. A world not just for us, but for wildlife as well. Living inside our comfortable homes, yet feeling trapped should make us all rethink the meaning of life the next time we visit a zoo or pollute rivers.

The environmental changes we see are nothing but ‘accidental’. Now the onus is on us to maintain the purity of the environment. “Nature is sending us a message,” says the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen. This time we will listen.

An outbreak of kindness

Even amid the deadly pandemic, we have witnessed a unifying act of humanity all across the globe. The COVID-19 statistics are worrying but the random acts of kindness are the bright light we all need in these times of darkness.

According to a 2014 study, shared pain works as a social glue, increasing cooperation. Be it the Italians singing from their balconies to Indians lighting candles on their doorways, the pandemic has knocked down the walls between communities.

People are rising above their petty issues, differences, and indifferent societal norms to help each other and uplift one another. While the changes are heart-warming, it raises a question: Will this stock of compassion continue to spring even when the crisis is over?

It all depends on us. American Buddhist Pema Chodron once said, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” The hope is for humanity to learn the difficult lessons taught by these hard times.

A shift in perspective

We may blame it on our conditioning or our innate nature, but we take many things for granted such as the environment, our wellbeing, and our relationships.

The environment needs saving today because we didn’t care. The coronavirus outbreak that could have been avoided completely or contained at the right time is of our doing as well.

The COVID-19 outbreak has finally opened our eyes. A society that once emphasised life being short and living on the edge has realised that the same life needs to be preserved. Mental health, a topic sparingly touched is now being talked about more freely as countless people are feeling the impact of this invisible disorder. Personal hygiene has become an integral part of our lives that will only become more prevalent with time.

The future is uncertain, but the possibilities of making a big change are in front of us. There will be conflicts, difficulties, and challenges along the way, but together we can make the impossible possible. The only thing we need is to choose the right path, which can lead us to a more promising, and brighter future.


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