Scientists warned us that a pandemic like this was coming, we didn’t listen.
Lessons learned from the early outbreaks in China and South Korea, and later Italy, show that aggressive, coordinated response and preparation is the difference between life and death, measured in the tens, possibly hundreds of thousands.
It’s hard to predict and imagine the extent of the loss of life, but it seems clear that it will dwarf 9/11 in the U.S. Projections show that millions of people may die globally.
As the tidal wave of COVID-19 sweeps across the world and we all – billions alike – collectively try to find our footing and stare into the abyss of uncertainty, we can be assured of one thing. This too shall pass.
We don’t know when, or how exactly. But thanks to science, there will be treatments and hopefully a vaccine. Thanks to the heroic efforts of frontline healthcare workers, there will be many lives saved. The rush of people to hospitals will eventually subside and we will find a way, together, to slowly restart the American economy. But there will be deep scars. Life before 2020 might feel like a different time.
During this time when we are hunkered down at home, take a moment to pause from the chaos of unemployment, working remotely, homeschooling kids, or whatever your unique circumstance may be. Take a few deep breaths. Be grateful for the air in your lungs. Notice nature around you. With our economy on pause, the air is cleaner. Spring is popping. If we stretch, we can see beyond this dark hour to a brighter future.
As the gigantic wheels of the global economy slow down, we have an opportunity to choose a new path at this fork in the road. We can realize that some things are not political. Science is real. Nature is indiscriminate. Humans are not invincible. We are susceptible to illness and natural disasters just like everything else. We can choose to listen to the experts who study natural systems and medicine. We can choose to take aggressive action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. By doing so, we will employ millions of people. Millions of people who are now unemployed due to the pandemic. We will save trillions of dollars and millions of lives. We can do this.
Solar and wind are already producing wholesale electricity for less than $0.02/kWh. The average cost for residential electricity in the US is roughly $0.13/kWh. With storage, electric vehicles, and smart utilization of our existing infrastructure by entities like EVmatch, all of this is possible.
There will be no vaccine for climate change – there is only prevention and mitigation. Let’s focus on taking care of each other through the current crisis but let’s also not forget the other crisis that awaits humanity if we continue to ignore science and don’t act quickly and decisively.