Getting ready for the future | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Getting ready for the future

The trending phrase these days seems to be, not ‘social distancing’ but ‘new normal’. As governments discuss the re-opening of services, malls, places of worship, these come with a raft of caveats from the mandatory mask and gloves to maintaining the two-metre distance from friends and strangers.

The idea seems to be that we have to get back to remembered routines but with a difference. If you go cosmetics shopping, you will no longer try out tester lipsticks or creams, would you? And despite barbershops and beauty salons opening, I have not yet met a man with a fresh haircut or a lady who looks like she has had even something as manageable as a pedicure.

Everybody is biding their time to see where this so-called ‘new normal’ will take us. At the same time, the old habits are slowly surfacing, bringing careless wastage to the forefront. Disposable masks and gloves are choking car parks and flying across roads like new species of birds.

People are once again carelessly using an excess of plastic for shopping routines and I am sure the number of plastic straws, cutlery and Styrofoam plates have increased since we are all doing more takeaway dinners these days. I am surprised that we do not connect the dots and see the larger picture.

Environmental degradation is one of the reasons that Planet Earth has lost its collective immunity to fight a pandemic. The chemicals and pesticides that have gotten into our food chain have lowered our ability to ward off a virus. The fish we eat is fattened on the discarded plastic and pollutants we carelessly throw into their watery spaces.

Last Friday, the World Environment Day celebrations were relatively muted around the world – of course, we have so many other causes to fight from racial tensions to migrant abuse but each one of these reasons to raise our voice is important if we are to start making sense of the mess we have created! Now is not the time to get into a burnout about these things that matter. Now is the time to refocus and take the battle to the next level. So let’s get ready for the future.