Remember when Amazon was just a river and its rainforest watershed?
The times, and Amazon, have changed – changed us, but we have the power to change the planet, its rivers, and its rainforests. But will we?
Looking over our shoulder, watching in the rear-view, used to be merely smiling about where we’d been, perhaps watching for whether we’d been caught by police radar for going too fast, but not from fear.
Bankers don’t offer umbrellas during a storm. When governments try to, they offer/provide the wrong kind of remedy, and inevitably roll it out too slowly. So, by the time they take right-actions, the parties they brag about helping have either ‘found their own solution,’ or lay fallen by the wayside, one more casualty of the economy, one more life destroyed by a virus.
I have been watching a lot of news coverage lately (hasn’t everyone?) and see the more in-depth analysis and treatment process has demonstrated that COVID isn’t so much a lung problem, but a vascular one – and more specifically, something weird happening with linings of blood-vessels (makes me happy I gave up gravy a few years ago because a cardiac nurse friend explained how it messes with blood vessel linings) …
Every time we think some expert is telling us what the cause, effect, and treatment is – there is also a profound fear it’s all guesswork, like a doctor testing for every weird thing so they can ‘rule out’ as many things as they can so what they’re left with is ‘the real problem.’
Yes, I want a sensor I wear to tell me in real-time how I’m doing.
But until then, we all need to look forward – with less fear and more hopeful anticipation of what will happen next, about what CAN happen next, and how the health of people and our planet’s sustainability will have a resurgence eclipsed only by a rocketship-trajectory economic recovery …
7.5 billion people eat every day, every child has parents (whatever their circumstances) who want and will provide an equivalent or superior lifestyle and education for them, every country’s government will see trade, immigration, and economic/scientific development as the key. Everything in demand to support that resurgence will be needed. Land, buildings, factories, education, food, and technology – are the commodities we can count on. A greener planet is the desire/thrust of many people making noise right now. Still, in the end – it’s about the money, and capital and risk will flow to the sure things, energy demand will grow, and while lots of it will be green/sustainable energy, for the next 50 years, it will continue to be oil and natural gas dominated – and demand will continue to grow.
Extinguishing a virus, the biggest threat to human health in 100 years, is every day’s headline but let’s not sell humanity short. Since the last global pandemic, the battles we’ve collectively fought, winning or have won (i.e., smallpox, polio, cancer, the great depression, world wars, the cold war, the jet age, the nuclear age, plastics, chemicals, social security and social media, medicare, space travel, computers, iPhones and Netflix, globalization, life-expectancy – to name only a few of our collective accomplishments), we are capable of far more than any society on earth has ever imagined.
Dealing with this virus has been a wakeup call for us, reminding us that advances in everything excellent and techie offers no insurance policy or spray-on protection from a microscopic pathogen …
A wakeup call indeed.
Well, we’re awake now. Yes, we need to re-start everything; yes, we need to fix every mistake to keep people safe, learn more about the disease, treat it better, inoculate us against all its perils, and create safeguard measures to immunize us against some worse-case future global-chaos.
Now is the time to strengthen the United Nations, not weaken it. Now is the time to maintain and enhance the CDC and W.H.O. – not weaken them. They shouldn’t be in American hands, or in Chinese hands, or any other power’s undue influence; they need to be global, effective – have teeth, and every country needs to get on board. It will be gargantuan-tough, but isn’t it necessary? But who will lead that? Or, better said, who can we trust to lead?
Looking over any horizon used to be easy.
Always facing the unknown – but mostly anticipating the usual, the predictable, and the expected – we could phone ahead, get a road/weather report, google breaking news, or call a friend; guesswork could be taken out of nearly every situation to keep us safe from harm, or at least warned about the dangers.
The world changed.
Should we change with it, resist everything, or re-define the world we want.
I’m not worried about COVID-19 as I once was. In terms of personal safety, I’m probably more concerned than at any time in the last six months, but in terms of ‘do we need to worry?’ issues, I’m confident the science is coming to the rescue, to save governments from themselves …
But what’s over the next horizon?
What about the next virus, the next economic genuflection, the next generation, the successive waves of technology, life-altering events, and our respective businesses and occupations?
One of the greatest gifts/crutches of technology is ‘everything is a click away,’ everything that has ever been known or learned before is the jumping-off point for every expert trying to solve every major problem – and, not so optimistically, we need to learn far less about the process of things because so much has been done, so few things need innovation which is not already at the core of every next new thing that comes along.
I think a lot of that last paragraph is misunderstood and not believed by most people.
Because our world, through our anticipation of startling life-altering innovations, medical science breakthroughs, and great-scary things we’ll encounter along the way, is changing more rapidly than we ever thought. The consequences are generally increased efficiency/time saved, lower costs, improved leisure/quality of life, and raised expectations about the caliber and quality of our life as a society, as a civilization, as stewards of a planet …
So what’s stopping us from doing more, doing it now, and from doing it next?
A virus, political and operational worldwide malaise, absence of truth-telling, shortcomings of early-stage mistakes in tactics, trust, public engagement, and experience treating a virus – have brought human activity and a global economy to its functional and economic knees. We need to get up again, feel strong and vibrant again, to use our fullest resources, and chutzpah again …
Treatments are improving, the world’s ‘best practices’ the Taiwan-like actions are, sadly, not being replicated and emulated widely enough or quickly enough.
What is the solution?
A few trillion dollars wasted to fend off the potential collapse of the world economy, stock market collapse, government failures – all these things are predicted and unfolding in one way or another, not because we fear widespread mayhem, but because we (by we, I mean all citizens of the world) see this as a big battle for turf, territory, power, and politics.
But deep down, we fear it’s all about money.
Relax, that’s an easy one – it is all about money.
I’m not oversimplifying here, but recognizing that money – and everyone’s protection of their own interests, will spur investment and calculated-risk taking on a level we’ve never seen before. Right now, the world is awash in credit availability/stimulus by governments and central banks (they’ll right that ship within a decade and restore their independent roles – or forever regret that they didn’t) are going to facilitate economic expansion at continued historically low interest rates for a very long while.
COVID-19 is not dead, but neither are we. Its successor threat/viruses will come and go, a byproduct of our human-intensity on the planet and recklessness – but we’re learning so much; we’ll not let ourselves be so vulnerable again. The current regime of leaders, the world over, will change in the next decade – that too will fuel a smarter future.
Whether the world will be more divided, or less divided, remains to be seen – because that will be a genuine will of the people. There will be a future form of ‘all voices speak at once’ platform in the post-Facebook, post-Instagram, and Tik Tok era – the will of everyone will be tabulated and known, it won’t be mailed in, and it won’t be fake or hacked. I’m not holding my breath, but I won’t be shocked or surprised when it does.
The future will not be apocalyptic.
But it will be interactive – and the daily choices and preferences we have will be met by the society and economy we allow to rule us.
I enjoyed your Sept. 10 musing. However, I strongly believe our PM is even more dishonest and corrupt then Trump. On top of it Justin has destroyed our oil and gas industry. In my opinion we could have been another Norway if we had more pipe lines. Both Asia and Europe want our oil and gas. Unfortunately, Canada is looking more and more like Venezuela, KK, Calgary, AB