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Sustainable world after coronavirus

June 17, 2020

Can we already think about another world after coronavirus? A sustainable world in which there are no rich and poor. During this crisis, we see the world differently. It makes me think. I dream away and fantasize about a world without people at all. Have you ever imagined that? No humans. Only animals.

When did people come to this planet? A difficult question, because there are more different kinds of Homo. The oldest known hominid appeared on the scene about 4 million years ago. Homo Sapiens; the modern ‘’handy’’ human like we are, appeared about 125.000 years ago.

In between, there have been different species that have evolved. To see this in perspective; according to science, earth exists about 4.5 billion years.

One thing is for sure; we changed the world considerably. We dominate. But for how long will humans be on earth. Certain is, the world population is growing fast and planet is reaching its limits.

How will this continue and how will it end.

In the meantime, I prefer fantasizing a world without any people at all.

Dream about a world without people

What to think away:

  • Alarms, church bells, sweepers.
  • Leaf blowers.
  • Yet another home renovation
  • Bicycles, cars, planes, buses and trains.
  • Roads and bridges.
  • Fences and barbed wire.
  • Houses and apartment buildings.
  • Computers, phones and Internet.
  • Plastic and clothing.
  • Landscaped gardens and parks.
  • Shops and restaurants.
  • Man-made things.

What remains:

  • Singing birds.
  • Green rainforest.
  • Roaring lions.
  • Sound of the wind.
  • Babbling brook.
  • Clouds.
  • Blue oceans full of fish.
  • Warm desert sand.
  • White polar caps.
  • High mountains.
  • Clean air.
  • Sunrise and sunset.
  • Only nature.

I see a mind-blowing planet, do you see it too? Not realistic of course, but we have drifted away from all of this. Is mankind capable to put itself in the background? To achieve more balance with nature. Where there is no place for power. Where money, progress and growth is not most important. One thing is certain; things will have to change to fight inequality and to protect our environment from our own destructive behavior. Can we still go to a sustainable world? When is it too late?

1. Changing our relationship with animals

Shall we treat animals with respect? Stop animal abuse and assault. Humans have rights, so do animals, right?! We can tackle intensive factory farming and ban mega-stables. The massive ‘’production’’ of animals causes animal abuse, air pollution, global warming, zoonotic diseases, deforestation and water shortages.

Maybe it’s finally time to switch to a more plant-based diet. The United Nations is calling for more plant-based food to fight climate change and for our own health.

‘’Maybe it’s finally time to switch to a more plant-based diet’’

Let’s make unhealthy animal cruelty and polluting food more expensive. Use carbon taxes on high-impact unhealthy food such as meat, alcohol and soft drinks. Stimulate healthy food by making it cheaper and more available.

World population is growing enormously; it has been doubled from 3.5 to over 7 billion people since the 1960’s. Earth is being destroyed when it comes to providing food. Change is necessary. According to a study in Nature, it's still possible to do this. But our meat consumption has to go down. In Western countries even by 90%.

2. Circular agriculture in a sustainable world

In the Netherlands, before the corona crisis arrived we had another crisis to fight. We have a huge problem about how to tackle the nitrogen oxide pollution. In our country we have the largest emissions in Europe. Our emissions are about 4 times higher per hectare as the EU average.

The agricultural secotor is responsible for no less than 41% of the emissions. Livestock will problably have to downsized for 50% to achieve cleaner air and water, and protect our biodiversity.

A transition to circular farming may be the solution for a more sustainable and local food production. More attention to nature and environment. Less waste and less depletion of the earth.

3. Revaluation and protection of nature

Museums, restaurants, cinemas and other entertainment were closed during this crisis. People were spending more time in nature. Hopefully people will see how beautiful their environment is and realize we must do more to protect it.

Will we value and protect nature more thanks to the corona crisis?

Humans are literally taking in more and more space on earth at the expense of natural habitats. Land is used for livestock or for building houses, factories and cities.

As an individual, let’s take more responsibility and encourage each other to live more conscious. We all can do much more, even small simple things that contribute to a greener environment.

Separate your garbage, eat less meat and dairy, buy less clothes, waste less food, use the bicycle more, buy less plastic and pick up some trash from the street occasionally. There are many options for making minor adjustments. Together they have a major impact. I think, people don’t always realize they can do a lot to help the environment.

4. Sustainable world after coronavirus; green and equal

Shouldn’t we work towards a sustainable world after coronavirus instead of back to the ‘’old’’ economy. Emissions are raising again and will probably raise even faster than before.

‘’There is a lot of talk about returning to ‘’normal’’ after the covid-19 outbreak. But normal was a crisis’’ Greta Thunberg

Governments need to spend money in such a way we switch to a greener world after coronavirus. This doesn’t have to be bad for economy. Climate-friendly investments also generate jobs and growth. We must get rid of fossil fuels. Companies should be taxed based on their pollution. Invest in green energy and restore ecosystems. The goal to decrease greenhouse gases to zero in 2050 will be difficult, but must be achievable.

At the same time, small entrepreneurs and family businesses will need financial support during their transition. Vital professions such as healthcare and eduction deserve more salary. Now more than ever we see their importance in our society.

The government need to be critical while choosing which company deserves support. Choose for companies who wants to make the transition. It’s incomprehensible our government financially supports KLM while the CEO proposed for higher bonus. Even during this crisis. And KLM pilots avoid paying taxes by taking cheap flights from work to their homes outside the Netherlands.

5. Consuming less in a sustainable and conscious world

As people stayed more indoors, we may realize we don’t have to keep buying stuff to stay happy. But are we capable to take a step back? We will have to get rid of destructive consumption to reduce our CO2 emissions. Decide what is necessary; work towards a meaningful and sustainable world after coronavirus.

Less traffic and closing factories during lockdowns caused better air quality. In India, the lockdown revealed the peaks of the Himalayas for the first time in decades. Less consumption is simply less emissions, is cleaner air.

Doutzen Kroes was criticized with her statement on her Instagram page; ''Thank you coronavirus'', she said. But of course, she is grateful for the side effects the virus entails. And she is right.

Why don’t governments take drastic measures to tackle global warming and environmental polluction without a corona crisis? Is clean air and nature conservation not a general interest? As a result of air pollution, no fewer than 4 million people worldwide die every year. A scientist calculated the clean air in China saved more lives than the amount of people that was killed by the virus.

World after coronavirus; not back to ‘’normal’’

Many things we do are ‘’normal’’ but we have been doing these things only for several years. Like taking the plane and buying fast fashion. We are simply used to it. By taking measures and looking critically at our behavior we can change it. Make clothing more expensive by taxing raw materials and increasing wages.

It’s time to change our frequency in flying. We know it’s very polluting and yet we can’t resist flying a lot. This is obviously due to the ridiculously low prices. Ticket prices has to increase. Besides, we can go on holiday closer to home too. Improve the train connections within Europe and make it cheaper. And shall we immediately ban the ridiculous cruise ships as they have an enormous environmental impact?

6. Basic income

It’s obvious young and poorer people suffer the most during this crisis. Self-employed and flex workers are uncertain about their income. Government support is available, but it does not cover all groups. There are countries that provide basic income to their citizens during the crisis. Basic income would also be a solution in a world after coronavirus. It gives certainty and effectively fights poverty.

Basic income regains control of your own life. Making your own choices. Money must be a tool not a goal in itself. Now our society is only focusing on making money to buy stuff and paying bills. Working, income, spending and working again. More and more. It looks like we live in a circle of earning and buying. It would be great to have a society where everything is not about economy. Now more than ever it is clear that society depends on captitalism.

‘’Money must be a tool not a goal in itself’’

A basic income also provides flexibility in your life. Time to volunteer and looking after a loved one. It ensures less stress, healthier population, fewer burnouts, more creativity and a higher quality of life.

In addition, it ensures less bureacracy. No more hassle with all kinds of complicated arrangements.

7. Produce and buy local

During the corona crisis people buy more from local farmers and entrepreneurs. Consumers want to support small businesses. Producer and consumer in direct contact. Reliable products from the source.

On world level, we can see we have become dependent on certain countries such as China and India. In Holland we produce almost nothing anymore and that can cause major problems. The shortage of protective healthcare equipment such as masks is a perfect example of this.

A significant part of medicines come from China. When these factories are in lockdown or our relationship deteriorates we are facing huge problems. Producing more local is the solution. Better for less dependency but also ensures less pollution and more jobs.

8. Gap between rich and poor

More than 2000 billionaires in the world are together richer than 60% of the world population. Together they have more money than 4.6 billion people together. The gap between rich and poor is increasing dramatically, also in the Netherlands.

More and more Dutch people have difficulties to pay their bills. Last year, our country counted 188.000 thousand working poor. About 2.1 million employees have to live from the minimum wage. As a result of this crisis, the number of poor and people with debts will increase. Healthcare and renting houses have become more expensive. As a society we become richer, but large groups do not benefit.

‘’As a society we become richer, but large groups do not benefit’’

The super-rich and big companies avoid paying taxes, cut wages, play out small competitors and influence politics. Rich people are getting richer. Holland is seen as a tax haven as multinationals are allowed to move global profits through Dutch subsidiaries. As a result, countries lose income and this cannot be spent on healthcare or education.

Tax income is increasingly generated by workers through wages and income tax. Only by letting the wealthy people pay significantly more taxes and tax their poverty - inequality and poverty can belong to the past. Philanthropy is nice, but just let the super-rich pay their taxes like any citizen.

Let’s make this world after coronavirus green and friendly with equal chances for everyone.

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