As I write, the nation – and even the world – is battling Coronavirus. This new pandemic seems to have come from nowhere and everything we know, and love, now seems that little bit more precarious. The world is changing.
The new virus is a great unknown, and therefore government, households, businesses and schools are all preparing to batten the hatches and keep going as best as they can. We don’t know, and can’t predict, when normality will resume.
As a grassroots charity that works directly with people to educate and build awareness on climate change, we’ve had to temporarily reassess our working methods to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and the people and communities we work with. We have unfortunately had to cancel and postpone events this spring, and the majority of our staff are now working from home.
PECT has always aimed to help people enjoy improved health and wellbeing, and we can certainly see the potential negative implications of households self-isolating (I myself am on day three of 14 so far) and how this will affect loneliness, mental health and people’s ability to cope.
Much of the messaging recently in the media has been around the need to ‘be kind’, and I can’t help thinking this is more important than ever at this time. People are going to be feeling huge amounts of anxiety and worry, so help each other as best you can – make food donations, check up on neighbours and share resources wherever possible.
Our Warm Homes project is continuing to help people to cut their energy bills, reduce household carbon, and keep homes adequately heated for improved wellbeing, albeit as more of a digital and telephone support service for the time being.
When we come out the other end of this it looks likely we will be in a different financial position as a nation and individually too – so please do continue to support local and independent food producers, charities and small businesses.
Living with this financial instability, and with travel being discouraged, we are all rediscovering the simpler things in life. I have rediscovered the delight of playing in the garden with my child, but I never realised quite how much I might miss a simple cup of tea with a friend until I couldn’t do it.
Perhaps when we come out of this, we can continue to appreciate the simpler things, and even alter the way we live our lives in the long-term – which will have a marked effect on climate change almost as an incidental.
We can survive without our air travel, we can make more of an effort to turn off lights to save money, and we can even work from home several days a week. In summary, our world could be improved through looking at and amending our everyday ways of living that we normally don’t question.
Self-isolating can help us appreciate the great outdoors – our wonderful woods, fields and parklands right on our doorsteps. For in a crisis, nature continues as normal. There’s comfort in that.
We are also not an isolated nation, we need to ‘be kind’ and remember that there are no borders when it comes to looking after our planet and each other.