THE POSITIVE SIDE OF COVID-19
At this stage, as people battle the social, economic and financial affects of COVID-19, it is difficult to see anything positive come from this global pandemic, yet for me – being the eternal optimist and glass half full type, see this as a significantly positive step into our future.
I was having a conversation with my sister in law (SIL) after hearing the news of Associated Media Publishing closing their doors after 38 years. Being in the PR industry (both her and I) meant that, like many industry colleagues, an @assocmags domain address was a ‘regular’ in our sent items. The reality of this news punched my SIL in the gut a bit as the magnitude of what was happening to her world that she shares with 3 children under 13, really hit home. An interesting conversation ensued where she was saying how she felt it that it was sad and scary to think about the fact that our children are having to deal with this uncertain time as much as we are?
My response to her was this “I know it's difficult, but you know me the eternal optimist and glass half full person, so I'm seeing this as such a great opportunity for the next few generations to really make this world their own. Everything is going to change and what a privilege to be at the coalface of what that will look like one day. They will be able to define their futures more than any other generation before them.”
And it is true! How many of the world’s greatest inventions came from a time of crisis?
Scotch Tape during the Great Depression when people needed to fix their own broken or torn goods as they couldn’t afford to buy new ones;
Tea Bags which, although invested as early as 1908 became vital for WW1 front-line soldiers and continued to be sold in this format - still today;
Computers, based on a device from the Second World War used to crack German encryption messages called the Colossus;
Fluorescent Lights which much like we are experiencing today, were mistakenly invented to conserve energy during the US oil recession of the 1970s and most recently;
MeetUp – an application that was created post the September 11, 2001 catastrophe that, much like what we’re going through now amidst this crisis requiring social distancing and limited physical human interaction, is focused on connecting like-minded individuals within a community environment
If we simply think about how entrepreneurial people have been forced to become as they question where the next Rand is coming from to put food on the table, we are only seeing a very small part of what will eventually become a massive economic sector. Think about the creative face masks women are creating from their homes; the Sanitation Tunnels and foot operated sanitiser dispensers some food manufacturing companies have come up with; or how restaurants and food suppliers are reinventing themselves to be able to offer food delivery services.
And all of this as the country enters its 6th week of lockdown? Imagine what the 6th month or 6th year might look like?
From a business perspective, could this new ‘work from home’ scenario sustain a longer-term strategy for some businesses? If so, how will this positively affect the CO2 emission levels with people no longer having to drive to meetings?
The positive affects this lockdown has had on our natural environment will also hopefully encourage businesses, industry and government departments to rethink their environment, trade and industry strategies and learn to look after their surroundings instead of trying to commoditise them.
There’s nothing like a proverbial ‘kick up the bum’ from God (or whatever alternative higher power you choose to believe - I am a woman of Christian faith) to force the people of our world to wake up and take cognisance of how they’re treating the Earth that was created to host them, not be abused by them.
And this, readers, is GREAT news for future generations.