During lockdown many people have 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’.
Responses to the coronavirus pandemic showed that we can quickly make more space for people and nature in our towns and cities. This briefing on lessons from lockdown looks at how that was done. The measures are increasingly important as people become more aware of a dramatic global decline of plant and animal numbers and how habitat loss drives the spread of viruses between animals and humans
The first of the the Rapid Transition Alliance’s Lessons from Lockdown explores what the national lockdown taught us about how we can look after one another better. The way in which individuals, organisations and governments responded to benefit the wider community points the way toward a world where this way of working could be the new norm.
In a letter to the Guardian, Green New Deal Group members Richard Murphy and Colin Hines argue that the government’s covid recovery plan should help fund the employment of the millions of increased staff needed across all social sectors, from more care and health workers to teachers and police, while also funding investment in new climate-friendly infrastructure projects, such as making the UK’s 30m buildings carbon neutral and adapting existing infrastructure to deal with future heatwaves and flooding.
Writing for the Guardian, Green New Deal group member Ann Pettifor suggests books that offer hope for the future and the Green New Deal. Just as in our time, the US in 1933 was confronted by an ecological disaster: the dust bowl. It’s an environmental tragedy central to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, written while the author benefited from a New Deal federal arts grant. Neil M Maher’s 2007 Nature’s New Deal tells the forgotten history of the New Deal’s attempt to green the American south. There was much that was downright wrong about Roosevelt’s racial and gender-segregated Civilian Conservation Corps. But Nature’s New Deal shows how we can chart a path out of the current crisis that leads to a future in which we can all flourish.
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’.
In a letter to the Guardian, Caroline Lucas MP and Professor Richard Murphy set out the case for a post-coronavirus recovery with a Green New Deal at its heart.
Writing in the Guardian, the papers economics editor and a founding member of the Green New Deal group, Larry Elliott explores the opportunities that were missed in 2008 when the group first explored a transformative Green New Deal, what has changed since then and asks: If not now, when?
In a letter to the Guardian, Colin Hines makes the case for an ambitious Green New Deal for the UK, to rebuild the economy after coronavirus and tackle the interlinked social and climate crises.
Several other times have revealed the ability for rapid industrial conversion, not just to tackle tragic but transient challenges, but long-term economic and geo-political shifts. What are the lessons about industrial conversion for the long term, rapid transition to a low carbon economy, not just from the pandemic response, but also ranging from conflict to the end of the Cold War? asks Green New Deal group member Andrew Simms on the Rapid Transition Alliance blog.