In recent months we have been faced with a certain reality check. We have been shown that the everyday life we have always taken for granted can, in fact, be completely transformed in a split-second - the everyday life we believe is normal and we believe it takes months, even years to change. Then, suddenly, we were faced with a crisis and changes occurred in a blink of an eye. The speed with which this crisis came upon us made its severity clear to us from the beginning.
On the contrary, longer time can make challenges look so much smaller and less important, and currently, there are other crises one can argue deserve the same recognition and urgent action as this one. For instance, our planet is rapidly warming in front of our eyes, but the pace is slow enough for people to take it less seriously. Even though it is actually happening terrifyingly fast in terms of our Earth’s timescale, on a human scale, our world does not seem to be transforming overnight. That is why it does not seem as important on a day to day basis.
One of the greatest lessons we have learned from this situation is the importance of the ability to adapt. We have all adapted by doing everything within our power to minimize the damage caused by the current pandemic. We stayed at home, and we have limited all human contact. However, adaptation is not only important when sudden situations come up, like this one, where we must act quickly, but also in cases where predictable changes come our way and adaptation is still within our power. Such adaptation might require us to conduct minor lifestyle changes, in order to allow others the same privileged opportunities we have had throughout our lives. Crises are challenges that ask us to be adaptable for the greater good. In solidarity with others. I believe that it is undesirable, or even dangerous to become stuck in self-made quicksand of habits and ways of living.
Another important lesson we have learned from this situation is to prioritize what is important and what we care for. At the end of the day, slow crises are also threatening lives and threatening safety. They are even threatening our future. Now, we have proved to ourselves that change is possible, and we have outstanding adaptation skills. I encourage us all to continue using those skills of ours, in solidarity with the other residents of this planet.
This article originally appeared in Connect summer 2020.
Ester Alda H. Bragadóttir is now third-year student Global Responsibility & Leadership. During the 2019/2020 academic year, Ester was a student assessor at Campus Fryslân.
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