Will there be a post-Covid green reset or ……..?
Although the ecological principle of natural species selection when nature, amongst other mechanisms, attempts to cull overpopulations, is a scientific fact, this pandemic can probably not primarily be attributed to this and if indeed it may have been a natural process, humankind has evolved so far, technologically, that it can interrupt this phenomenon soon enough to temper its potential devastating effects
It could therefore be said that the global unsustainability epoch (which at this point in the planets history is also a scientific fact) is possibly not a direct reason for the current pandemic– but a distinct link between the general unsustainable (unhealthy) state of the planet and the exaggerated impact of the pandemic is evident.
It would be interesting, though, to see which sectors of the global society actually stayed adrift and even grew and flourished, against the odds, in these times, i.e. which were sustainable and why. These would be strong indicators for sustainability for the future and upon which business and other science disciplines could hone in on to develop new sustainability models.
There are two scenarios that could play out, “post-Covid” which could have a profound effect on the future sustainability of the planet.
On the one hand new lifestyles and innovative green change management systems could become the new norm. New designs and activities for a quicker green reset at multi sectoral levels of society – governments, science, business, social groups and agriculture/manufacturing. This can all be divided into the 4 P’s (dimensions) of sound sustainability: (People) social, 2. (Planet) nature, 3. (Prosperity) governance and (Posterity) sound legacies and future focussed. This all boils down to a sound new system, which I call – “Operation Planet”
The alternative world reaction could be that “Operation Planet” would simply be put on hold and “business as usual” to prevail. Speaking of a “new normal”– we must prevent a different kind of reset which would result in an overproduction-at-all-costs scenario as a counteract to the losses during lockdown.
Then a dreaded “old normal” (“back to the future”?) can be the world’s foreland whereby environmental regulations and global warming “net zero” targets could merely be ignored – even by Governments of countries for “obvious” economic reasons
As the result of the massive inequalities re income, natural resources access, education, to mention only a few and the deep levels of poverty, all the planet’s resources will be looted even more on all levels of society – it is a pattern already but will escalate in effect. The irony of this scenario is, it will increase the one thing humans are the most afraid of – Global Warming!
Since the latter holds serious threats to the sustainability of humankind’s basic life support systems, the second scenario will negate all the global efforts for climate change (COP’s) for the past 20 years becoming a mere “nice to have”, which may for a long time not attract priority support and funding
By: Henning Viljoen
Corporate Sustainability Advisor