The Great Realisation?

Has this pandemic given us an opportunity to re-set the way we live our lives?

This article contains stimulus material and cross-curricula springboards

My niece sent me the link to (New Zealand born) Welsh poet’s Tomos Robert’s The Great Realisation.

The story-telling setting of a father reading a bed-time story to his son engaged me.  In the very short time it took to get to the lines: It was a world of waste and wonder. Of poverty and plenty. Back before we understood why hindsight is 2020, I was captivated.

The world we emerge into once the Covid-19 fog has lifted will not be the same as the one we left before lock-down, and the time of social and physical distancing.  As Alex Braae, staff writer for The Spinoff wrote on April 21st: For those who have a view about how they want to change the world, there will be few better opportunities to do so than when it is being turned upside-down.

Together with epidemiologists, scientists across different disciplines scan the horizon for major threats to humanity.  Many have sounded the alarm about the threat of pandemics like Covid-19 caused by pathogens such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Anxiety Abounds

However, there are many, many scientists and epidemiologists who are far more anxious about climate change. There is no doubt that climate change and ecological collapse will be catastrophic and as Otago University epidemiologist Prof. Michael Baker notes, the best estimates are that climate change will be far more devastating to human health than a Covid-19 type pandemic.  The two principal differences between Covid-19 and the approaching devastations of climate change, are the pace of approach and the duration of impact.  The devastations of climate change are advancing on us more slowly. And while the discombobulations of Covid-19 have been a severe and abrupt shock, Covid-19 is a temporary shock in the greater scheme of things.

Certainly, the significant effects of Covid-19 will last for several years, but they will taper off.  In contrast, however, many climate change effects will be irreversible and will impact generations to come. Human actions that impact climate change are just one example of different ways of being.

The questions we need to consider include, what messages can we all take from the current Covid-19 pandemic that point to better ways of doing things?  Will we learn to listen to what science is telling us about the future scenarios associated with climate change?  About the risk of pandemics?  About practices that disrupt the integrated ecology of Earth? Will we begin to act early and vigorously, as we have done with Covid, to develop a sustainable future?  Will we learn not to carry on with ‘business as usual’ until the catastrophic effects that appear on the horizon become fully visible?

As we experience and then emerge from the economic turmoil wrought by Covid-19, will we be thinking about sustainable political, economic, social and environmental solutions and the opportunities to transform New Zealand?

Here is a sub-paragrah heading

We will not all envision the same things for we can only see what we can see from where we stand, and speak accordingly. But does that matter?  Surely it will not be one view ‘versus’ another; but rather a case of bringing a multitude of equally valid distinctions together into one space that, as a result gives us a fuller, more complete insight into our existence and one another’s lives; to a place that echoes the Vangelis’ lyrics “I can hear you now”?


Will the swift response to Covid-19 by New Zealand – and the majority of the world – translate into a Great Realisation?
Or will we simply revert to the way we were?

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