Manifesto of 170 Dutch scientists: it’s a blunder if we don’t get out of the corona crisis greener. Covid-19 disrupts lives, but also offers a historical opportunity, argues a group of 170 Dutch scientists. They see a unique opportunity to make society “radically more sustainable”. Take care of ‘ business as usual”, they argue in a joint manifesto , which will be published today. Firstly, this appeal is aimed at politicians, who must develop policy and vision for the post-corona era. “Decisive measures” are needed, say the academics from eight universities, including those in Wageningen, Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam. People can get universal basic income, poor countries can get debt cancellation. Such radical transformations are conceivable now that the crisis is disrupting economic securities, they believe. The scientists, mainly sociologists and environmental scientists, are also calling on citizens to make other choices from now on. The consumer can contribute to “a decrease in luxurious and wasteful” consumption. They suggest that the old self-evident nature of travel and shopping-oriented life can be broken. In their manifesto they explain the relationship between the expanding global economy and the damage of the pandemic. That damage is significant because of the “ever-increasing circulation of goods and people, regardless of the myriad ecological problems and the increasing inequality it causes,” they argue. The government could give an edge to companies that work in an environmentally friendly and local way in saving the economy. “Oil, gas, mining and advertising companies” are not included. The crisis would also be the time to stop “generic growth”, with financial profit as the main goal. In addition to their criticism of the economy as a “growth machine”, scientists are proposing change. The academics would find it a blunder if the world does not emerge from the corona crisis greener. This would maintain the risk of new environmental and health disasters. The scientists warn: without serious adjustments, environmental and climate damage will return to its original state. The startling environmental gains, cleaner air and lower CO2 emissions, due to the corona crisis, will prove to be “temporary and marginal”, if there are no political and economic changes, and society will revert to old patterns. Summary of the manifesto in English: https://twitter.com/jasonhickel/status/1251146508709195780?s=09
Trouw 11th April 2020 read more »
As doctors responding to this crisis, the past few weeks have been filled not just with treatment and crisis management but with frustration. Frustration because the Covid-19 pandemic did not just “sneak up on us.” Public health experts have been warning us for decades; we simply chose not to listen. If there is one lesson we can learn from this crisis it is this: When the experts tell us the sky is going to fall if we don’t take action, we better take action or the sky really may fall. And we must apply this lesson to the two other existential threats that humanity faces: the climate crisis and the growing danger of a nuclear war.
CNN 17th April 2020 read more »
Societies worldwide are changing overnight to meet the coronavirus threat. The climate crisis should match the rapid pandemic response. If you want to know how fast a modern society can change, go to most British town centres and see the pandemic response. They will be unrecognisable from what they were 10 days ago. You’ll see far fewer pedestrians, now sheltering from coronavirus infection at home, far fewer vehicles, hardly an aircraft in the skies above. The familiar levels of urban noise have faded to a murmur. The usual air pollution is dropping fast, with reports of significant falls from not just the UK but China and northern Italy as well.
Beyond Nuclear 12th April 2020 read more »
A new poll suggests that most people in the UK will want to alter their lives in some way after the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, only 9% of people say they want life to return to how it was before. Some 54% agreed with this statement: “I hope to change some things about my life and I hope we will have learned from this as a country.” Some respondents (51%) said they had noticed the air was cleaner and others (27%) said they had seen more wildlife. Four in 10 said there had been a stronger sense of community and the feeling of neighbours looking out for each other. And 39% are more in touch with friends and family, aided by the boom in video-chats.
BBC 17th April 2020 read more »