Scientists assure us that the demolition of nature that human daily activities cause makes humanity very vulnerable to different kinds of disease outbreaks like the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst some claim that a pandemic with such enormous impact came unexpectedly, many experts are confident that it was bound to happen and all warnings have been ignored for ages.
Coronavirus has turned millions of people sick and killed hundreds of thousands, devastating their families and livelihoods across the globe. We are only just about to start the long-term recovery. Is this enough of a crisis to serve as a wake-up call?
It’s too soon to tell just yet.
However, we are facing some tendencies of the new reality already. The tendencies that are likely to reset and reshape our lives in a more sustainable way.
Post-pandemic changes that the world is facing in the new reality
Smart and Green transport
Cities across the world have experienced significant improvements in air quality and remarkable declines in PM2.5 throughout the lockdown. What an amazing silver lining.
Now that the curfews and lockdown measures are being lifted worldwide and so traffic resumes, previous air pollution levels are slowly coming back. More so, in the short term we are likely to witness a greater dependence on private vehicles as people are trying to maintain social distancing, which is likely to result in transport emission increase.
COVID-19 has made us witness the positive results of reduced transport use and decreased dependence on fossil fuels, and so thankfully the trend of transport decarbonization is starting to get more serious.
One of the solutions is smart transport technologies that will help in tracing all trips of private vehicles to avoid overcrowding. Autonomous vehicles are another popular solution, along with electro-personal automobiles. The latter could really clean up the air and cut down the demand in conventional fuels drastically, and whilst sales of electric cars have been incentivized by the governments worldwide, they still represent 1% of the vehicle fleet internationally.
Hopefully, in the post-pandemic era, electric vehicles will become more affordable, so we can hit the numbers required to reduce emissions for transport decarbonization.
Wildlife markets and wildlife trade regulations
Since coronavirus pandemic has originated in Wuhan, China has made some crucial long-awaited alterations to its wildlife trade regulations in order to prevent future zoonotic disease outbreaks. In the beginning those bans and alterations were only temporary, yet in practice they are growing to become more substantial changes that wildlife experts have been fighting for for ages.
In February this year, China announced a ban on the wildlife sales for human consumption purposes. In May, China announced dogs as no longer livestock for human consumption. In June, pangolins – the most trafficked animals on the planet that, as believed by many scientists, are coronavirus kickstarters, got raised to the highest level of protection.
Yet, wildlife trade, animal miss-treatment, hunting, fishing, and other issues are not exclusive to Asia. In the post-pandemic reality, we can see governments across the world slowly getting more reactive and proactive against wildlife trade and taking animals as commodities.
Experts say that adding more new rules and regulations is nowhere near as helpful as investing in the enforcement of existing ones. As well as supporting awareness and public education campaigns which will bring down one of the key sources of the wildlife trade problem: the demand. Hopefully, relevant decision makers will take those points into account, while they are moving in the right direction.
Working in post-pandemic reality
Coronavirus made us reconsider how businesses are run, recognising the importance of flexibility and sustainability. Human capital policy has become more reflective of the performed work rather than the job or time spent in the office. Remote work is becoming a more and more popular set up.
The decision making of most international top brands has been altered after realising that making money is essential but it is clearly not enough. In the post-pandemic reality, leaders are starting to think more sustainably.
In other words, triple bottom line companies are becoming the new norm. Also known as three P’s, triple bottom line businesses hold three performance areas: people, planet and profit.
Coronavirus and global warming have revealed the simple fact that maximising private gain always leads to collective loss. For instance, businesses chasing cash gains, running factories but not forfeiting for the pollution their activities create, puts us in front of the global warming crisis. This is also known as tragedy of the commons. It looks like businesses worldwide are starting to take ownership and responsibility for the future and beginning to grasp the idea of the collective taking priority over the individual.
Video visits are an efficient way of communication between a healthcare provider and patient. The microphone can help examine the cough and temperature changes for instance, as a remote self-examination tool. Most of our smartphones and smartwatches have fitness-trackers installed that count the amount of steps we take daily; now they can also measure our heart rate. All these are examples of tools and technologies we all use that can help in turning telemedicine into the new norm.
Delivering healthcare remotely is not something that has been explored in all seriousness before the pandemic. COVID-19 has made us embrace the values offered by digital and data technologies, turning already existing telemedicine digital infrastructure and technology into a quickly developed powerful machine to combat the novel virus.
These developments and practices will remain in place in the post-pandemic reality, at least for elective, routine and infectious patients, cutting down on risks, time and cost. Telemedicine is not going to replace traditional methods in the near future, and rightfully so but it will enhance and support current set up as a much needed helping hand.
For ideas on how to welcome the post-pandemic new reality, so that you are a part of a good change, visit one of our earlier blog posts.
Anastasia is responsible for the Events & Marketing side of Wildchain. She was born in USSR, where circuses and zoos were the most well-known kids’ source of entertainment. At the age of 13 she left Moscow to relocated to the UK. After graduating from Northumbria University with a Bachelors degree in Advertising and Media, she began working on projects in Czech Republic, Switzerland, UAE and Thailand. She loves the fact that Wildchain raises awareness and promotes people to take actions for wildlife conservation out of love, not based on fear.