Quarantines, curfews, closed borders, chaos in hospitals, pandemic panic. The world is in a state of emergency. The SARS-CoV-2, commonly known as COVID-19 or the new coronavirus, also causes infections, deaths and a partial paralysis of public life in Europe as well as other countries all over the world.
I call on you to do everything possible to get the virus under control as quickly as possible. I myself have been avoiding personal contacts for a few days and only leave my apartment to gasp and go shopping for food.
The danger cannot be downplayed. Nevertheless, with this blog article I would like to counter the uncertainty and the negative news with something positive. I believe that we – individually, socially, politically and institutionally – learn from current events and will emerge stronger and wiser after the pandemic.
There are 10 positive aspects that we can glean from the coronavirus crisis.
1. Less pollution (and fewer deaths?)
The earth is just thinking, have my people rethought a blink of an eye before their death? Due to the decline in industrial and economic output, everyday mobility and travel during the crisis, environmental pollution is falling.
In China, for example, CO2 emissions have fallen by a quarter since the end of January. François Gemenne, head of the Hugo Observatory at the University of Liège, says that there may be more people saved from the lower pollution than they die from the coronavirus.
Studies have shown that environmental pollution is responsible for 9 million deaths (every 6th) worldwide and over 62,000 (every 14th) in Germany every year.
2. Chance to reconsider the economic growth madness
Not much is gained for us and the environment if we carry on after the crisis as we did before the crisis (or act even more outrageously to recoup the losses, boost the stock markets and secure globalization).
Higher, faster, more.
We continue to poison the earth, even though it is already terminally ill. Earth Overshoot Day refers to the day of the year when we humans use more natural resources than the earth can produce.
In 1971 Earth Overshoot Day fell on December 21, 2000 on November 1 and 2019 on July 29. This means that humanity claimed 1.75 earths in the last year.
According to forecasts, there will be three earths in 2050. It gets even more bitter. The Germans already consume three earths, because their national Earth Overshoot Day fell on May 3rd in 2019 (the Austrian on April 9th, the Swiss on May 7th).
Every five-year-old understands that the growth-fixated economic system has got us into this mess. The only thing that has not been done so far is deeper reflection among a larger number of those responsible (to whom we all belong).
The solutions could be: post-growth economy, sufficiency, subsistence and reduced working hours.
The well-known growth critic Niko Paech explains the terms and contexts in the book “All you need is less – A culture of enough from an economic and Buddhist point of view” will be published, which Paech wrote together with the mindfulness expert and Dharma teacher Manfred Folkers.
3. Show solidarity
To care for the elderly, to put food out of the door for the infected, to support the staff in the hospitals, to be patient, to adhere to the instructions of the authorities.
In times of crisis we should especially practice solidarity, empathy and helpfulness (we are allowed to maintain these virtues after the crisis). This is how an intact society works – not with an elbow mentality and self-optimization.
A nice example: In Italy people arrange to spontaneously sing on their balconies to lighten the mood in isolation.
4. Use the free hours and days at home sensibly
Spending time with yourself, your children or your partner, working in the garden, doing handicrafts, learning Italian, playing the piano, talking on the phone with friends and family, writing letters, cleaning out the apartment, filing the tax return, starting a new project like “writing a novel” …
Until the excuse “I don’t have time” no longer applies. It is best to get used to this phrase completely.
5. Come to your senses
In our otherwise fast-paced, oh-so-modern and anyway networked world, reflecting on the essentials is good and necessary. Then we do not lose sight of our values and what is important to us in life.
The psychologist and author Stephan Grünewald (“How does Germany tick? – Psychology of a troubled society”) told the German press agency that the coronavirus crisis could lead to a pause for reflection and continued: “When we retreat to the arbor, to the study , that can also lead to us reinventing ourselves and the world again. “
6. Entry into the wonderful world of minimalism
Buy and do less new things; be satisfied with what we are and have; Focus on what is important; plan less; Reduce driving around and flying – the isolation and restrictions teach us to just live easier. After the coronavirus crisis, some will no longer want to continue as they did before.
As they discovered the minimalist lifestyle for themselves. You can find numerous articles on the topic of minimalism here on the blog.
7. Appreciate your own health
“If you don’t spend some time on your health every day, you will one day have to sacrifice a lot of time for the illness,” said hydrotherapist and naturopath Sebastian Kneipp in the 19th century.
We should not only take this motto to heart in the face of the coronavirus.
The best protection against disease is a predominantly plant-based and wholesome diet, sufficient exercise and avoiding stress, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. This strengthens the immune system, which in turn can fight off viruses and bacteria.
8. Opportunity to improve the working conditions of caregivers
It has been known for years that there is a shortage of personnel in health and nursing, low wages are paid, but responsibility is high and working hours are long. Not much has changed. The care emergency worsens during the coronavirus crisis.
Perhaps this is a chance to finally upgrade this important profession and improve working conditions. That would make training in health care and nursing and studying nursing science more attractive.
A signal: In Spain, thousands of people have agreed to honor health workers with ovations from the balcony or window.
9. Is the corona baby boom coming?
After football has stopped, sex is currently the most beautiful thing in the world.
And since the coronavirus crisis has forced us to stay at home a lot, many sweet, healthy corona babies may be born next winter.
But watching movies doesn’t make you pregnant. A Dutch porn operator announced in a press release that its sales are currently exceeding the otherwise busiest days of the year such as Black Friday.
10. Learning for Coming Viruses
After successfully fighting the new coronavirus, we will be richer in experience.
That might come in handy in the future, v. a. if significantly more virulent pathogens such as MERS (lethality up to 35 percent) or SARS (lethality up to 10 percent) appear.
The international community will cooperate better, the responsible authorities in the countries will have revised contingency plans in place and we citizens will know how to protect ourselves from the start.
This article is designed to instill confidence and perseverance. I would be happy if you share it with your friends.
You are also welcome to tell us in the comments which positive aspects you will gain from the coronavirus crisis.