This pandemic has also given us a flavour of what the environment will be like in a low-carbon future. The shutting down of industrial activities, cancelled flights and other travels have slashed greenhouse gases and air pollution around the world. Levels of nitrogen dioxide were lower by as much as 40% in the EU, according to the European Space Agency. The skies are clearer, wildlife is returning to pollution-free waters, and bears meander around empty lodgings in national parks. Will this be the start of a concerted effort to decarbonise and enjoy more of the benefits of what our natural environment has to offer?
We are trying desperately to return to a life of familiarity, trying to suture our future to our past and refusing to recognise the split. The rupture, in the middle of hopelessness, offers a chance to rethink the unsustainable lifestyles we have built for ourselves. This is a time of sudden transformation, as Milton Friedman once said “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change …… .”
In a moment of crisis, we can break from the past and reimagine the world anew. It is an opening between one vision of humanity and the new dawn. The hope is that the next generation, including the inspirational students ‘, seize this moment, rather than long for a return to ordinariness: Carpe Diem.
The Business for Good team at Edinburgh Napier University is inviting businesses to participate in an important research project on how SMEs in Scotland can accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by measuring business impact and building partnerships. Please visit EDI+B Knowledge Hub for more information.
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