Going Back to Normal?
By Bryan Hayes
I have been auspiciously quiet lately (to the chagrin of my editor) as I consciously am mindful of every word I write, or speak, knowing that words in of themselves are so incredibly powerful.
Whether it is the environment, COVID-19, or whatever may be going on in the world at this moment, words have the power to inspire and uplift, splinter and divide, and everything in between. Words are the catalyst to educate, to entertain, and to provide information (or misinformation). Words have a voice, even when put to paper.
If there is one lesson I have learned of late – the art of silence, utilizing my voice as a tool only when needed and not until I am able to find the right words for the right time, even with full knowledge that silence may be misconstrued as indifference. Silence may be viewed as being complicit. Silence may be judged as being meaningless.
That, for me, cannot be further from the truth. There is such value in listening, observing, taking mental notes. Being able to go within to weed out the feelings and emotions to make rational whatever is going on inside with the overflow of thoughts that are omnipresent is a meaningful way to spend in silence. Without this silence, meaningless words may be the result of not taking the time to give attention to their significance.
What is meaningful for one is not going to necessarily meaningful for all. Environmental issues, like COVID-19, is an emotional and divided subject.
While we already know the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on our individual and collective lives, there are some positive aspects especially from an environmental perspective. Countries around the world are seeing some drastically positive impacts. Without as many people out on the roads there is not as much air pollution, for example. There are not as many planes flying in the air.
That does not lessen the severity of the virus but in the midst of all of the direct, and indirect stress, is it not time to have a little positive news in our life? It is not awe inspiring to see the water running blue again and the skies clear without the smog as but a glimpse of what is most pristine about nature, yet, once we go back to normalcy how quickly will we return to normalcy including our carbon footprint?
Obviously, we will have to get back into our cars. We will fly once again. We have to get back to living our life, but what can we learn from this pause? What can we gleam from the positive environmental impacts that can offer us inspiration in other areas of our life? Or, will we simply continue forward as we have always done in the past?
There have already been glimpses of discarded facemasks and rubber gloves littered across parking lots that paint a not so pretty picture, but what can we do together, for one another? Maybe we are not as divided as it may seem?
Yes, we have a difference of opinion, but do we not all want the same thing? Do we not all want clean water and clean air, for example?
At the same time, do we not all see life differently, each from our own unique perspective? Why does that have to be something that divides?