What can be learned from the coronavirus pandemic for the challenge of rapid transition in the face of the climate emergency and how can we build fairer, more equal societies?
For several months the Rapid Transition Alliance, co-founded by Green New Deal Group member Andrew Simms asked people to share their experiences of lockdown and see what lessons people might have for bringing about a rapid transition, and living happier, more caring and less polluting lives. The Rapid Transition Alliance received an inspiring, hugely varied collection of personal stories, insights and reflections. They have organised the lessons around three big themes: how we can look after each other better as societies, how more space for people and nature can be found, and how those who already have enough can thrive with less ‘stuff’.
A shareable set of resources
This set of inspirational and useful materials are the result of a big collaboration between lots of groups and individuals, along with talented designers, filmmakers and writers. They show some of the headlines of what we have learned, and things that we might want to keep for the future. We want to make sure that these free to use, unbranded lessons, contributed to by many of you, travel as far as possible
#1 Looking after each other better: How public health and well-being can be put before short-term economic interests
The personal lessons we received demonstrate some of the ways in which people around the world have looked after each other in response to a global pandemic, quickly and sometimes with minimal resources. These resources look at the way in which individuals, organisations and governments have responded to the benefit of the wider community and point the way toward a world where this way of working could be the new norm. It also suggests a number of policy shifts that would help us all look after each other better in the long term as the world emerges from the pandemic.
#2 More space for people and nature: How we learned to provide each other with more space, green space and breathable air
Responses to the coronavirus pandemic showed that we can quickly make more space for people and nature in our towns and cities. Even as the human world paused in the path of a pandemic it was obvious that people – whether those in power or members of the public – were on a steep learning curve. Lessons abound – about past mistakes like allowing food and energy to be wasted and putting pollution before people in towns and cities – but also of humanity’s extraordinary ability to work together and solve problems. These resources look at this extraordinary period of time when – despite the fear and personal tragedy for some – many people began to see and use the space around them differently, reconnect with others in new ways and appreciate having cleaner air to breath.
#3 Living with less stuff: How we learned to eat better, to buy less wastefully and to have fun making more with what we had already
Our community has been through a wide range of trauma during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been a time of fear, about incomes and food, aswell as fear of infection and danger for the people we love. But there have been positive elements of the experience too. For those in the global north in particular, most of whom are consuming well beyond current planetary limits, being shut inside has meant doing more with less. Millions have spent time at home with family or walking outside, grateful for the internet to enable communication, but also returning to homemade activities. These resources looks at how we adapted to create new, different, ways of living that turned out to be less wasteful, more thoughtful and kinder on our environment. And, given that ecological decline creates conditions for pandemics, how especially in relatively wealthy countries, better lives are possible with less ‘stuff’.