The New Normal

In the midst of a global pandemic, the long-term repercussions are still unknown--hypotheses can be drawn, but the real truth will present itself over time. However, the short term effects are noticed nearly immediately. More specifically, the short term effects of a pandemic on the health of the environment: air pollution and emissions.

With regard to 100% transparency, there is no concrete long term evidence and experts still disagree on the lasting environmental impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, there are viral Tweets being sent of the waterways and canals in Venice, Italy turning clear for the first time in years, the air clarity surrounding Los Angeles, California and China.

These occurrences do make sense logically, no matter the disagreement with long term impacts--with fewer people out on the waterways in Venice or driving to work in Los Angeles it is unequivocally possible for there to be less air and water pollution. The real issue occurs when things “get back to normal” or as normal as possible where commuters are in their cars or buses or in Venician boats. Will we try to make up for lost time and drive more often? Or will we realize as a society that a lot of our usual behaviors were not only excessive, but unnecessary?

With so many jobs moving to remote/work-from-home guidelines, does this set a new standard for jobs across the world? The typical 8-5 workday was standardized in America in the 1920’s and its been that way now for almost a century. Will offices as we knew them become obsolete?

I could go on and on about the hypotheticals that may take place when COVID-19 is in our collective pasts, but all of them are worth making note of as we continue to come together to get to “normal” as fast as possible, whatever that normal is.

With more positive hypotheticals, what if we learn to come together as communities more often? Or walk instead of drive? Cherish our time with loved ones instead of being glued to our devices? Imagine a world like that---maybe this is a turning point for the global economy and a push towards togetherness ensues.

A note from the author:

Our “normal” has been shaken, our lives disrupted at best and taken from us at worst, and it is extremely easy to see the darkness and despair that has consumed our lives from every news source, press briefing, viral Tweet, or Instagram post. It is extremely easy for us to turn on one another, to blame, to cast out, and to shame. But we cannot, we must not. These are trying times for everyone, no one is unaffected by this strange new world around us however long it may last. Our humanity lies within the little things we do for one another, no matter how small. Washing your hands, coughing into the crook of your arm, sewing masks for healthcare professionals that are saving the lives of those they do not know. We do not know what tomorrow may bring, nor the next week, nor the next month. But it is this collective unknown which must bond us, unite us, and bring us together until we find our “normal again.”

Be safe.