Maybe we humans should slow down

March 19, 2020

Less cars, less planes, less pollution. Mother Earth is healing while we humans are forced to slow down. On Facebook we see photos of dolphins near Sardinian harbors, ducks in Rome’s fountains, clear water in Venice’s canals. Satellite images showing that the sky is much cleaner in different places in the world. And only within a few weeks. Cleaner air provides a healthy living environment and gives us a happy feeling.

Slow down and reflect t Wed, Overveen, Netherlands

The world is on pause and that would never have happened if there was no coronavirus. No one would have wanted this economic standstill. But now we are forced, and we already can see its effects. For example, the empty store shelves due to the factories closing in China. And the lack of medical supplies. We have become very dependent on China and perhaps now it is time to bring production closer to home again.

Humankind is in war with the virus, but earth is taking a break. Maybe we all should take a break and think about how we treat our planet. Dutch trends forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort says: “I think we should be very grateful for the virus because it might be the reason we survive as a species.’’

Is it perhaps a good thing we are confined to our homes? Maybe nature wants us to take a break from our daily life and forces us to reflect on our buying behavior.

It’s a wake-up call.

Consume less

We notice some people already are complaining about the isolation and get bored because they cannot go to the gym or to a café or whatever people always do.

Aren’t we incredibly spoiled? There are so many options for going out. So much to choose from. We can buy whatever we want. There is too much of everything. So much that we find it difficult to make choices. Things we don’t need. Supermarkets packed with endless types of products that I feel we spend too much time looking for. Cheap discount stores that sell cheap non-durable stuff. Probably made in poor conditions in the Far East which caused environmental pollution.

Shouldn’t we travel less, consume less and enjoy life more. Maybe be happy with less stuff and a smaller house. Just less of everything. Thanks to the popular organizer Marie Kondo, there has been a trend for decluttering. It may be a reaction on our shopping addiction. Maybe it’s time we should realize that constant consumption doesn’t make us happy. We are stuck in a system that encourage us to work from 9 to 5 in order to earn money to buy more. But we are never satisfied, are we? We always need an upgrade.

Slow living

I think it’s a good thing we live a slow life during this crisis and take a step back. That we spend time in our homes and with ourselves. Something people always complain about not having time for themselves. Now is the time, right?! Home isolation gives us time for reflection. How do we organize our lives and what are we doing? Maybe we want to do something completely different? People now have time to do a course or start a business. Do something creative or useful.

Maybe we should focus on simple things in life, spending time in nature. Do we normally spend enough time in nature? During this crisis people will hopefully appreciate nature again. Let’s get back to our roots. Many of us are disconnected from nature. Maybe we grow our own vegetables at home again to be more independent.

Technical developments are going very fast. Things are improving and getting faster. Sometimes progress is good, but not always. Do we always benefit from progress? Our society has changed, people are glued behind the screen. Don’t we miss the real connection with people around us and the outdoors?

Is it necessary to go on vacation four times a year? Can we also be satisfied with twice a year? If so, we can already reduce our emissions with fifty percent. Do we really need to go out and eat in a restaurant every week? Do we need to buy that many clothes every season? And does it make us happy to renew the interior every year? We don’t really need the latest version iPhone right?

Society after Corona

Perhaps we all should have a critical look at our own behavior. Reflect on what we all do, eat and buy in our lives before the corona crisis hit society. And perhaps we can conclude we demand far too much. It’s for our own benefit to slow down and consume less. Plus, we produce fewer emissions and are kinder to earth. We need to protect our planet against our own behavior.

Hopefully a time comes where green initiatives are skyrocketing and companies will start doing business sustainably, taking the environment into account. I hope making profit and economic growth is not top priority anymore. That economy goes hand in hand with nature, people and the environment. That we will produce more locally and eat more plant based. Probably we will respect and pay vital professions and workers who do physical work more.

Maybe home working during this crisis will lead to more working from home in the future too. Hopefully companies learn from this and employees will have the freedom to do so. The car will not be used these days which result in less traffic jams, less emissions and cleaner air.

Perhaps schools and parents now notice that teaching can also be achieved in a different creative way.

The fact that we now have to do things differently also provides creativity and solutions which can be useful after Corona too.

Shall we all slow down for ourselves and for the future of our planet?

Quarts: A design trends forecaster calls the coronavirus “an amazing grace for the planet”

Dezeen: Coronavirus offers "a blank page for a new beginning" says Li Edelkoort

Slow down

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