Since March, we have watched governments cope with the pandemic, trying to reassure an uneasy public that if they stay at home, all will be well. Stop the Spread. Don’t touch your Face. Wash your Hands. Simple pleas for personal hygiene. Flatten the curve. And now the end of the beginning comes. Spring brings people out of doors, into parks and gathering in backyards. Wear masks now. Keep physical distancing. No large gatherings. Slow openings of businesses. What are we learning?
The federal government created several kinds of support for individuals and businesses to bridge the gap caused by closures of businesses, loss of employment during the pandemic. Billions of dollars are committed to help Canadians cope with the time away from normal life. But during this time at home, normal was lost. This time with family or in isolation saw normal slip away. Parents learned to home-school We watched too many elderly people die in long term care facilities. Pollution in cities diminish because few people were driving, and manufacturers were closed or slowed to protect their employees. Violence against women increased as men took out frustrations, anger and fear against spouses while they were homebound. Shelters filled and were overflowing with homeless people and battered women, seeking protection and help during times when poverty and homelessness make self isolation and physical distancing challenging.
Are governments and businesses just tinkering with mechanics of “normal” and biding their time until the pandemic passes? I hope not. I agree with a friend of mine, Celes Davar, who said recently “I’d just like to say that I want our politicians at every level, business leaders, and community organizations to work together to handle the complexity of our situation. They can do that by not being linear or sequential and hoping for some best possible solution by patching things up in the short term… Let’s aim for community and business resilience by understanding that investing in both short term stimulus, and long-term change simultaneously and in parallel, will get us closer to being resilient.”
Yes, the situation is complex. Where does one person begin to make a difference? What does it take to build and maintain your resilience in the face of massive change? There are many categories of changing circumstances. I look at issues rising such as violence against women and girls, child care, education, worker’s rights and protections, wage equity, gender equity, access to technology, human trafficking, aging out of foster care, access to mental health services, maternal health care and the pending “she-session” predicted post Covid19, as well as climate change, and the green economy.
This is a turning point in our world. We’ve been stopped by a microscopic virus and forced to re-consider our way of doing things. Now is the time to apply inquiry and adaptive action. Create when you can’t control; Design when you can’t decide; Explore when you can’t explain. Let’s move our governments, community leaders and businesses to involve citizens from all sectors in consultations online to make wiser choices for the future. We have the technology. We have the time. Sharing our collective wisdom we can make better choices for a better future. Dare to improve the community and the nation with your better ideas. Let your voice be heard.