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Let’s start with a BIG…… JUST KIDDING!!

The other day, while looking out over the ocean, everything seemed so crisp and clean. I imagined what the air must be like currently in Delhi, Shanghai and LA. Surely with all the grounded planes and people not getting around in the usual manner, it must be clearing. When searching online later, I read articles that reported that in air polluted cities around the world the nitrogen dioxide levels have dropped by as much as 71% (1). This is no small matter when one considers that air pollution causes worldwide approximately 8.8 million premature deaths each year. (2) That in Venice, the waterways have cleared so much, that marine life has returned. (3) Just think about it, business as usual has paused for such a short period of time, and such consequential improvements have taken place.

I then thought, if I were to add to such an imagined statement as the above title, an equally imagined conspiracy article about how the Greens have caused the coronavirus, the article would gain popularity from many people in society. This contrived conspiracy theory could certainly be up there with the host of theories, conspiracies and facts circulating currently. This is how things seem to be, people read something, it aligns with their ‘belief’, and off they go sharing the article and commenting why it must be true. Most of what is being touted are certainly plausible. The fact most people ignore however, is that even a few facts combined, do not necessarily amount to the truth. Facts are facts, and when you quote them, even leaving one fact out of the equation, it cannot amount to the truth. It amounts only to an opinion, or worse, speculation. Currently, we have a specudemic (a pandemic of speculation) and it goes across all thinking, from the educated to the intuitive. We all know that at times wrong/incomplete information can cause more harm than what the actual event may have caused.

So what’s my opinion?
Keeping away from the specudemic, I take heart in seeing how people can cooperate and how quickly things can improve. My thoughts go to how simple it could be to mobilise long lasting changes/improvements. Here are some examples. A child dies from starvation every 3 seconds in this world. Not a disease, but from the lack of food. Could we all give $1 a day to solve that? I think so. It has been calculated that the amount of plastic in our oceans will exceed that of fish by 2050. Could we all replace something we purchase immediately with an item that doesn’t have plastic? I think so. Better still, to tackle matters at their root cause, could every business choose one thing that they could change immediately and implement within a year that would reduce suffering or pollution? I think so, and I’m tempted to write, I know so.

All in all, the hope is that we don’t return to business as usual, and we use this current time for both reflection and implementation of what we know is the right thing to do.

Alf Orpen