We are all thinking about the future. Unsurprisingly, the future now has a very real demarcation point for most. D-day is post COVID-19 shutdown. And interestingly, all the possibilities always there have become far more compelling options with regards to how we conduct our post-COVID lives.
We have the opportunity to use this pause in time to learn from our past mistakes and create something better.
You only have to google terms like ‘for purpose/for profit’, ‘impact investment’, ‘patient capital’, etc., to get an inkling of how money and focus can now be put into businesses and practices that will actually benefit the planet, community well-being, and of course anyone who uses their investments/resources to enable these renewals.
We don’t want the future to be an approximation of a past that brought us to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore we must be prepared to put in the effort to build a world that is safer and less in denial about the flaws of our existing globalised business and cultural models.
Why would anyone want to support a future that contaminates our skies and water supplies, fills our seas and rivers with choking plastic and toxins, or pumps similar poison into man-made holes on our earth?
Surely we want our grandchildren to lead lives full of meaning and hope, and not mental health issues or methamphetamine habits. We love them and want them to have lives of dignity. I'd not only like young ones to view work as something more than a ticket to a demographic, but to also be equally satisfied in the absence of work, their lives full of alternative activities of which they can be proud. No one can seriously believe anymore that with increased automation there will be enough jobs to go round in the future? We must start educating and planning for this reality now.
Why would anyone want to perpetuate a past that permits (and through action, actually supports) the exploitation of workers in sweatshops or in ‘gig’ economies, or insidiously corrupts our young people into becoming competitively consuming and non-caring narcissists. Of course we don’t. We want young ones to love and care for others and our world; to appreciate the joys of learning how to live and give; how to love, protect and understand … and even how to prepare and eat the gains of an afternoon spent fishing in a river or the ocean with their friends.
My worst post-COVID nightmare is that vested interests will circle round those things that continue to cause damage to our society and use their influence to stymie the strengthening of sustainable alternatives; as if COVID-19 did not occur at all but was some weird fake dream that we all experienced simultaneously.
Of course we want to do better than we have.
The future is so close. Not since the end of two world wars has there been such an obvious moment to review our lives and demand better from ourselves, those around us and those who represent us.