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The Pandemic and our Planet – is there a silver lining?

When most of us around the world went into lockdown early this year to combat the rising Covid-19 cases, what did the experience teach us?

With entertainment outlets, offices and schools closed, we were all suddenly thrust into an alternate universe. Aside from the physical and mental downside of the lockdown, we experienced clear blue skies, far away mountain peaks, and nature at our doorsteps. We saw a cleaner, healthier and ‘happier’ planet within weeks. A positive result that all the bold global climate actions and promises could not bring about after many years of futile efforts, thanks to selfishness and lack of foresight often endemic to human nature.

Did we see a silver lining in the all-consuming covid-19 cloud? What has the experience taught us?  While the beneficial effect on our environment of the reduction in human activity cannot reduce or trivialise the anguish and suffering caused by the pandemic at the individual, family, social and national levels, can we make it a silver lining?.

While keeping ourselves and others save, how can we heal our planet from experiences and lessons learnt from the lockdown? With the lockdown and continuing restrictions on our movements, we have been forced to change our lifestyles and daily habits.

Many of us have learnt that working from home has many advantages. While ensuring that our work ethics and productivity do not get compromised, we save time and money by not having to travel to work; not to mention reducing emission and air pollution.  We are also better able to manage our work balance and spend more time with the family.

With shops and entertainment closed, many of us have been forced to get back to the simpler way of living such as cooking simple and healthier home meals, walks, gardening, being creative in entertaining ourselves with games, watching home movies, etc. 

The pandemic has brought out the best in many of us – looking after the less vulnerables, volunteering with shopping or even simply making time to call and talk to each other. Is it possible that even as we examine our relationship with each other, we can extend this concern to our planet and become better stewards of it?

We had more time for inner reflection and healing.  Was this nature’s way of telling us to slow down, take stock and think about what’s essential in life?  We went without many things during the lockdown. So the question is how important or essential are the many material things we surround ourselves with?  Money in our bank accounts, shopping for things we don’t really need and expensive dining experiences? Perhaps the greatest healing taking place is within our hearts and how we might have impacted others’ lives and the memories we share.

Moving forward as we are still in the midst of the pandemic, we need to protect ourselves but at the same time being mindful of not adding any new pollutant that will harm the environment.  With this in mind, aside from social distancing, washing hands, we can help by wearing face coverings that are environment friendly.  Disposable masks that are becoming more and more prevalent contain plastics which pollute water and can harm wildlife who eat them or become tangled in them. In fact there has been a call for the government  to do more to get people to switch from disposable masks to reusable coverings.

At Element we supply sustainable reusable protection masks. These masks are made from polyester, cotton or recycled OceanBalance fabrics, competitively priced and can be customised with artwork, company logo or icons. We believe in doing our bit to protect the environment as we protest ourselves

While the virus is not something to be taken lightly, we can indeed learn some lessons during this trying time, especially from mother earth itself and live mindfully and intentionally, in harmony with our planet.