COVID-19 and the possibility of a new future

I don’t know about you, but lately, I have been talking to a lot of people about COVID-19, and more specifically, about what COVID-19 means for our world. The question of what things will look like after social distancing ends has been persistently on my mind, so I keep asking others for their thoughts to help me envision our collective future. One of the things I am surprised to keep hearing, though, is how eager many are for the world to “go back to normal”. 

In uncertain times, it makes complete sense to want to return to what we knew. COVID-19 has drastically changed our world, making ALL our futures uncertain. Uncertainty is scary. I know I am scared. I don’t know what my future holds, particularly as an aspiring filmmaker and activist. 

But if I’m honest with you, I really don’t want to ‘go back to normal’.

To me, normal was a world full of many problems I don’t want to return to. Normal was a world where inequality abounded and violence against women and others in society, was a regular, almost expected occurrence. Normal was a world where our environment was dying in favour of stock markets and money was the glorified driver of innovation and creation. Normal was also a world where we were increasingly disconnected from each other and our shared humanity.

So no, I don’t want to ‘go back to normal’. But I recognize too that we can’t just hang here in COVID-19 limbo because many people, including those stuck in unsafe and violent situations, continue to suffer.

It’s time to imagine a new world for our future.

I propose that together, we set a “new normal”, and this time, let’s dream BIG!

Though not an exhaustive list, for me, I want to live in a world where:

  • We are all equally valued as human beings and as important, contributing members of our global, interconnected community.
  • We understand that we are ALL empowered with choice…choice to act, choice to speak…and each choice we make is a choice for which we are responsible.
  • Differences between us are welcomed opportunities for positively complicating and expanding our vision of ourselves and our world.
  • Everyone feels responsible for leaving our planet in better shape than when they inhabited it (for humans and animals alike).
  • We have learned the difference between need and greed and regularly choose to consume only what we need.
  • Access to safe drinking water and healthy food is a fulfilled human right for EVERYONE.
  • We pursue respectful and open dialogue, particularly regarding difficult concepts and ideas. 
  • We have a collective definition and understanding of ‘harm’ and use it to prevent ourselves from harming each other.
  • We strive to be honest and kind, to learn, and to grow, particularly in the face of our inevitable mistakes.

What world do you want to live in post-COVID-19?

The way I see it, if we can collaboratively knit together our vision of the future, it will be much easier to determine how we can work together to realize it. So please, share your hopes and dreams and together we can build a post-COVID-19 world that we all want to inhabit.

Nicole Bedford