It started off as a global public health emergency. However, in its spread, COVID-19 has unleashed a disaster of huge proportions on countries of all sizes – rich or poor. It has hit our social and economic frameworks very badly. In fact, experts suggest this could be the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression.
While it looks like the worst is passing, the words of the authors of the COVID-19: The Great Reset suggest otherwise. They say that if the crises unleashed by COVID-19 are left unaddressed, the repercussions will deepen the inequalities, leaving the world even more unsustainable, less equal and more fragile.
Dr. Thierry Malleret, co-author of COVID-19: Great Reset, is speaking on our webinar about what the world should expect post-COVID. He will talk about the importance of resetting our lives along the three pillars of development – social, economic, and environmental. Join us at 8:30 PM IST / 4 PM CET on Friday, November 27, 2020. Sign up for the FREE webinar here!
COVID-19 has led to a huge number of deaths, a medical emergency, large-scale layoffs and unemployment caused by businesses. It has also cut off access to education, seriously hit the unorganized sectors, and caused an economic downturn – one of the worst ever. Further, it has deepened inequalities and made the vulnerable sections even more vulnerable due to a lack of access to livelihoods and healthcare. However, while most people have had their incomes slashed or lost jobs, several billionaires have continued to benefit from the pandemic and amassed more wealth.
Besides, the governments of some countries have stealthily used the COVID-19 lockdowns to pass some of the most controversial environmental and labour legislations. These, if enforced, will weaken the environmental policies and workers’ rights.
What is the Great Reset?
The Great Reset was a term popularized by an eponymous book written in the aftermath of the 2008 global recession. The book, written by Richard Florida, spoke about the two resets that happened in USA. One happened in the 1930s (after the Great Depression) and one after the Long Depression of 1873.
So, what exactly was this reset?
Let us go back to the scenario that prevailed in the US post both these depressions. What started with banking crises led to an economic crash along with widespread, prolonged unemployment. As a result, both these depressions called for a reset. It demanded a reset of public policy, lifestyle, work, and finance. The reset, coupled with technological advancements, could benefit individuals and industries. After the Great Depression, instead of cities growing, there was a proliferation of suburbs and their populations. Consequently, this reduced the burden on the cities and led to the development of public infrastructures like bus transportation and rail networks.
Even after COVID-19, we need a great reset for our social and economic systems. This means we need sustainable cities, lifestyles, businesses and industries. Sustainable development rests on the three pillars of development and is aimed at creating a happier, more equitable world, where economic development balances social and environmental development.
On the one hand, all countries are battling against the public health disaster brought about by COVID-19, which has claimed over 12 million lives globally as of November 5. On the other hand, the economic and social impact of the pandemic will have repercussions that will span over decades to come.
Together, we, can bring about sustainable change. So, how do you and I partake in reversing the catastrophic effects of the pandemic?
Why Do We Need the Great Reset?
COVID-19 has only deepened the social, economic and environmental problems that the world was collectively reeling under, but not actively fighting against. The pandemic has necessitated that we address these concerns.
The pandemic-induced slowdown can be seen in the way we are living our lives now. We could see reduced traffic on our roads, less pollution, animals moving freely due to reduced human interference, and less reliance on supermarkets and malls, in favour of local shops. This reset should not have been induced by the pandemic, which has negative impacts across several aspects of our social and economic activities.
The burden of the pandemic has been heavy. However, it is people from the lower strata of society and those in developing and underdeveloped nations that have been hit harder.
The unorganized sector has taken a bigger punch, robbing people of their daily wages – which is barely enough for hand-to-mouth sustenance. According to a World Bank report, COVID-19 is estimated to push people to extreme poverty, in the range of 88 million to 150 million from 2020 to 2021.
If you notice, COVID-19 was not the only problem we were facing since the beginning of this year. For instance, there have been locust attacks in Northern India, landslides and heavy rains in the Indian states, extreme forest fires in Australia and California that continued through most of 2020, a massive explosion in Beirut, extremely hot weather in Central America, cyclone Amphan, the list is virtually non-exhausting.
Problems the world is facing today are somewhere rooted in our impact on our ecology. And, the only way forward is by focusing on sustainable development.
Climate change is impacting your life right now. It is very much real. Do you want to understand the link between human activity to environmental changes? Sign up for our free and interesting courses on sustainable development goals here.
Way to the Great Reset: Sustainable Development
For years, our governments have focused on GDPs, and selectively focused on some of our social development goals. The aspect that was completely missing was environmental protection and natural resource management.
Collectively, we were already slow on achieving the 17 SDGs that we aim to achieve by 2030. The impact of COVID-19 has thrown off track the little progress that many countries had achieved. The only way to live happily is to work for a sustainable future. It is important to grow together, co-exist in harmony with humans and other living species, protect the environment and strive for an equal world with equal opportunities.
So, do we still wait for a bigger disaster to wake us up?
Let us remind ourselves that there is no Planet B. Let us work for a future where all of us have access to food, healthcare, education and employment, but not at the cost of the planet.
To know how you can contribute, sign up for a webinar by SDG Plus with Dr. Theirry Malleret, co-author of COVID-19: The Great Reset.
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