The coronavirus is a melting pot of emotions. On one hand, there’s the fear of infection by an invisible killer virus. The boredom and frustration of being a prisoner in your own home. The anxiety caused by possibly losing your job. On the other, there’s solidarity between people. It’s relieving to know you’re not in this alone, that everyone is suffering, minus the billionaires who can live it up on private yachts.
In all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, we can take comfort in the certainty lockdown will end. Once the threat posed by the virus goes, things can get back to a semblance of normality. All it requires is some patience, which is easier said then done if you’ve got bills to pay, and aren’t making any money.
That society has ground to a halt means economically this could be the calm before the storm. We could be hurtling towards a depression not seen in our lifetimes. Things could get a whole lot worse before they get better.
The future looks pretty grim, so what could be worse than the impact of the pandemic?
A crisis of unimaginable proportions
Well, imagine the world around us changed before our eyes, forever. It’s like turning on a switch in a room, only to find the light burns you. Realising your mistake, you desperately try and turn the light off, but this is a light with no ‘off’ button. In changing the climate we depend on for our survival, this is exactly what we’re doing.
We’ve created a giant experiment with the natural world. Once changes happen, it’s done. We can’t go back. And we’ll all suffer as a result.
Can you imagine the emotional turmoil it will cause if the world around us changes? It doesn’t bear thinking about but think about it we must, because this is the path we’re hurtling towards.
The panic at the enormity of the changes we make to the natural world will be all-consuming. And in the back of each of our minds, there will be no comfort things will go back to ‘normal’. Once the climate crisis starts to feel like a crisis we will be in a fight for our survival.
Light at the end of the tunnel
The solution to the coronavirus outbreak is a simple one. We need a vaccine, which is incredibly difficult to create, but once there is an effective vaccine, we can solve the problem. There is a direct link between the problem, and what we need to do to solve it. We’re all united by this same goal.
With the climate crisis, there will be no ‘solution’. Only ways to manage and adapt to our new reality. It goes without saying that different parts of the world have very different climates. Meaning the impacts of a climate crisis won’t be uniform. Every country will have to deal with the unique challenges posed by the climate crisis. Some countries will have the resources to combat and deal with the challenges. In others, the enormity of the changes may prove to be overwhelming.
And the bigger issue is, it will only get worse with time. It will be like trying to put out a never-ending fire. As soon as you get one part of the fire under control, other parts burn only brighter. Once the fire starts, no matter how hard we try we will always have to deal with the fire we’ve created.
Cooperation between countries in this environment will be key to dealing with challenges. When faced with the coronavirus there have been signs of cooperation. Russia sent aid to America, which regardless of the underlying motivation still went some way to help a country amid an emergency.
As well as cooperation there has been divisiveness. Donald Trump’s reaction to the outbreak may well be a sign of things to come. His ‘US first’ policy is having a damaging impact on finding a cure for the virus. In a time when global cooperation is essential, this attitude only works to worsen the problem.
The end of the world as we know it
In the coming years, governments could come under intense pressure from citizens to deal with overwhelming challenges.
In the face of these challenges, a country could play their trump card. Blame other countries for their failures, helping to deflect peoples attention away from internal problems.
Why do you think Donald Trump is blaming China for the coronavirus? Blaming China helps deflect attention away from his ineptitude in managing the crisis.
The climate crisis is such a difficult problem because we need a coordinated response. After all, the one thing uniting us is we all breath the same air and rely on the same atmosphere and weather system.
By the time the crisis hits, it won’t be relevant who or how the crisis was caused. What will be relevant is how to deal with the challenge posed. The climate has no borders, our response needs to respect this fact. At present, with countries having autonomy in how they deal with challenges we’re not set up to face a global problem that doesn’t recognise national borders.
Once the climate crisis becomes overwhelming the blame game may well begin. Countries will start pointing fingers at one another. As the pressure builds and emotions run high, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where things escalate quickly into all-out war.
The future doesn’t look rosy. All the more reason why we should change now, to solve the problem before it becomes one. If we don’t, it really could be the end of the world as we know it.