“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
It is hard to believe that, just three months ago, apocalyptic scenes like this seemed ever-present on our TV screens and a galvanised environmental agenda dominated the public discourse.
But today’s apocalyptic scenes are of overflowing intensive care units, rows of motionless bodies attached by tubes to machines and deserted streets watched over by men in uniform. Grim daily statistics and curves have displaced thoughts of a world on fire. From Mad Max to Danny Boyle in what seems like a barely-skipped heartbeat.
There is no doubt that the virus has brought environmental activism crashing to a halt. COP 26, that critical gathering in Glasgow of the world’s nations to reset our climate ambitions, has been postponed until next year. Yet the link between Covid-19 and the Climate and Ecological Emergency demands acute attention. A foreseeable pandemic may well have had its roots in the cascading ecological crisis, as man encroaches ever further on the natural world, bringing us into ever closer contact with a myriad of unknown contagions that nature has buried deep in its heart.
Many commentators have also made clear how the pandemic has made possible such fundamental change when the science is listened to and the political will present. As we stand united to applaud our nation’s key workers, it is clear that it has taken an existential crisis to make us understand what and who really matters. In the coming weeks and months as the pandemic subsides, we must unite in resisting the corporate elite’s inevitable clarion call for a return to business as usual and, instead, ask what sort of reformed society we wish to emerge from the wreckage.