It is time to face the facts; this pandemic is changing our society and is allowing us to discover the extent to which the traditional economic model has been blindly proposed to us as a panacea for decades.
Our natural reflex is to get this model up and running again and return to BAU (“business as usual”) as quickly as possible without changing the ingredients of a recipe that has miraculously provided millions of people with invaluable growth and wealth. This feeling is completely normal because, as a general rule, people do not like the unknown and prefer to find their bearings without asking themselves if the path they have taken is optimal. By omitting to ask the fundamental questions, man tends to repeat the same mistakes, convinced that the end result will be different.
The natural resources we need so badly to achieve their growth objectives are disappearing at an ever-increasing rate, and the environment in which they enjoy the benefits of this accelerated growth is deteriorating ever more rapidly. This paradoxical approach is inexplicable unless we take the time to observe it and look at its perverse effects on our lives. Unfortunately, the benefits of the current economic model are being realized so quickly that we don’t even have time to see the damage it entails.
The parallel with climate challenge
The current pandemic that brings, despite itself, the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the impact we had on the environment to get to where we are today; that is, a very unfortunate situation, with a planet that cannot catch its breath and a society that no longer finds its bearings.
We don’t have much time left, but there is hope, and a lot of it. And this, in spite of what all that the bad tongues want us to believe. Indeed, the pandemic has demonstrated to what extent governments, health specialists and society as a whole have been able to be disciplined and work in harmony towards controlling the virus at record speed; it only took a few months to put protocols in place and avoid a crash of the economy by structuring massive financial intervention and putting in place policies adapted to the urgency of the crisis. Of course, there have been failures, but let’s ask ourselves the question: how come all of these measures could be adopted in just a few weeks, knowing that many bills with more limited impacts take months or even years to be adopted? The answer is simple: because of the perception of urgency that the health crisis has caused. This perception was so strong, that the majority of citizens never doubted that all the necessary measures had been put in place to justify the interventions that brought the crisis under control.
Now, the question that arises is the following: will we be able to give legitimacy to our politicians, environmental specialists and Quebec society to implement measures of the same magnitude to address the climate challenge? Because you should know that the COVID-19 crisis will eventually be under control while waiting for the next pandemic. However, when it comes to climate, it won’t be as simple as developing new vaccines in pharmaceutical laboratories, and we won’t get a second chance. Like the current virus, the climate issue is global. It affects our economy and our economic model, and requires an unequivocal response from our society. Let us therefore draw a parallel between these two crises by giving them the same degree of urgency.
We invite you to read IPCC’s report on “Global warming of 1,5° C”.