The Pandemic (continued)
Well, here we are two and a half years into a continued pandemic. Despite the relaxation of safety measures, the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate and infect people around the world. Many of us who believe in science have been vaccinated and boosted, and yet we still can become infected. BUT, we don’t die or need to be hospitalized. One thing this pandemic has brought into high relief are the number of people who choose to be willfully ignorant, even when it can cost them their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
We had hoped (cockeyed optimists that we are) that our societies would learn important lessons from the pandemic. We should have learned who our “essential workers” are and how they are woefully under-appreciated and underpaid. But, as the contagion has eased, these people so critical to sustaining our communities are still woefully underpaid. And business leaders wonder why they are quitting their jobs and looking for work in businesses that value their employees.
This eventuality takes us to one of the primary tenets of sustainable development. To become a sustainable economy, countries need to set and pursue measurable goals. Over the decades, we have not seen evidence of that our leaders know who we really are, what we want and need to become or how to achieve our goals. Every economic, social and political policy seems to be reactionary. The pandemic broke the supply chain, so how to we repair that? The price of fossil fuels has leapt up, so how to we react to that? There’s a shortage of infant formula, so how do we get more? Russia invades Ukraine, so what do we do now that there are shortages in fuels for Europe and food for Africa?
While we cannot be certain what a cruel despot will do when he desires the resources of another country, with proper focus on sustainable development within the framework of a “global economy,” we might have eliminated the temptation…might have.
Whenever I listen to most of our politicians speak about this country, I do not hear any cogent analysis of who we really are and who we need to be to thrive into the future. With the exception of a few narcissistic megalomaniacs (one specifically) and their willfully ignorant followers, most of our leaders deal with our economy as if it’s only a series of financial transactions. They tend to separate it from our society and our natural environment. In so doing, they foil any real opportunities to build a robust, sustainable country within a thriving global community.
So, as we come out of the pandemic and into another election cycle, what should we be looking for from our leaders? Do they understand how combatting climate chaos can build our economy? Did they learn from the successes of the “space race” how strengthening our education systems helps strengthen our communities and our economies? Do they understand that wages need to balance the true costs of living in a community? Do they understand what the true costs of our current economic system are and what do they propose to do to correct the imbalances? There are many more issues that we can cover in this quick reflection. The question remains: what did the pandemic teach us and how are we going to change our combined social and economic systems to correct the fundamental weaknesses the pandemic exposed?
As a country, we may have made a slight course correction in 2020. But there are strong forces attempting to rewrite recent history and erase what most of us have learned. When we focus on achieving sustainable development, meeting the needs of today while ensuring that future generations can meet their needs, we can overcome what divides us and build stronger communities. John Neville, acting president.
Note: Sustainable Arizona is on hiatus. We are currently seeking new leadership for the organization. Contact us for more information or with your interest in the process.
Arizona is home to a flourishing, innovative, sustainable economy that supports prosperous, diverse, well-educated communities within a spectacular and cherished healthy environment.
Sustainable Arizona® is the process by which communities, businesses, civic and social groups, educational and environmental organizations collaborate to create self-reliant local economies that support thriving, diverse communities across the West.
Sustainable Arizona® engages leaders in economic development, education and community enhancement to pursue sustainable development.
We accomplish this mission through:
- the ongoing support of teachers and schools that implement education for sustainability practices and natural systems learning in the classroom
- the education of the public and elected officials on the necessity and benefits of taking effective action to combat climate change and develop local resilient communities
- the collaboration with business, civic and governmental organizations that are working towards sustainability goals
- the networking, development and promotion of green businesses and practices
- the acquisition and delivery of information on new resources, systems, technologies and methods for achieving sustainability
- the promulgation of the Sustainable Arizona Leadership model that fosters collaborations towards the creation of thriving local economies and communities