We will come out stronger than ever

“The best comes from the worst.”
~ Oliver Jeffers, visual artist

Australia’s green recovery

Read more on www.acf.org.au/australia_recovery_video

“At this pivotal moment in our shared history, it’s never been more important to create a space to support each other, to grow and to think our way through the unprecedented challenge we face together.”

Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Emma Herd – CEO, the Investor Group on Climate Change – on a webinar for a conversation tackling the question: “How can climate action help drive Australia’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic?”

“It’s a time for inventing, for creativity.”

Pope Francis

Get creative

“Normal” will soon have us spewing even greater emissions with reduced regulations on car exhaust. “Normal” is asking us to spend, spend and spend some more to recover from the wreck of COVID-19.
We have a choice in response to this. Pope Francis posed this perfectly in an interview, released during Holy Week, regarding the ongoing global lockdowns. “We have to respond to our confinement with all our creativity. We can either get depressed and alienated … or we can get creative.”

What happens when we get creative?

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of examples, both big and small, in your own neighborhood or in the ways you might be invited to observe Earth Day. Quick, decisive and creative responses from both individuals and governments are the only way to protect our health and prevent further harm. We are either creative, or we perish.

“There is an expression in Spanish: “God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.” We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that eighteen months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”

Pope Francis

→ NCR Earthbeat – 21 April 2020:
Earth Day 50 years on: It’s all about the questions
“How can we celebrate Earth Day in the midst of all this? How can any of us carry on like normal? We don’t have to. In fact, we shouldn’t be trying to carry on like normal. Not now. Not later. Not ever.”

“The choice is easy: one-planet prosperity or one-planet misery. Because our one-planet context is here to stay.”
~ Mathis Wackernagel, President, Global Footprint Network

Work together

“The crisis reminds us that we ultimately live subject to the laws of nature – moreover, it does not care about political parties or national borders. Scientists have warned us for decades that this crisis was coming – it was not a matter of if, but when. Denial, delayed responses, and lack of preparation have allowed the crisis to explode – despite all the warnings. Now we are really in it. Graphs depicting the calamity are deeply unnerving, with hockey-stick-like upward trajectories.

This is an invisible threat, difficult to grasp; it is not directly perceivable with our senses. Therefore, it is difficult to rally people, and our leaders tend to deny and delay action. Our culture of distraction and immediate gratification is averse to feeling and facing deep-seated, threatening fears. Yet fear is a necessary motivator: we must embrace fear and act on it, not avoid it. 

The pandemic has shown us that leaders in politics and business can act quickly and extensively, taking into account scientific knowledge. To fight coronavirus, majorities of peoples and Nations have been engaged and motivated to sacrifice for the sake of the whole. Most people understand we have to work together to beat COVID. Is it too much to imagine that we cannot work together to address global warming, and her morbid sisters such as soil depletion, plastic pandemonium, and ecosystem collapse?”
~ Jean Arnold, Director at the Association for the Tree of Life 

Individual action matters

“The idea that our individual actions don’t particularly matter is fundamentally bogus. And over the past several weeks, the coronavirus has been revealing that in unexpected ways.

The newly iconic photos of a crystal-clear Los Angeles skyline without its usual shroud of smog are unwanted but compelling evidence of what can happen when individuals stop driving vehicles that pollute the air. Nobody is happy about what’s causing a 95 percent drop in air travel, but nobody will ever again be able to claim that massive reductions in airline emissions are impossible. And the dramatic reductions in overall emissions during this time of individual confinement are a clear demonstration that most emissions are caused, directly or not, by individual activities—the fuel we burn, the electricity we consume, the factories and farms that make the stuff we buy and eat. It’s horrible that it took an economy-crushing public health disaster to illustrate this on a large scale, but when people do less, for awful, virus-related reasons or noble, climate-related reasons, they emit less.”

→ Politico – 21 April 2020:
What Covid Is Exposing About the Climate Movement
“The “it’s not you” approach might be good politics, but the Covid epidemic is showing it’s also wrong.”

Greenpeace: COVID-19 has changed everything.

If you support the COVID-19 recovery principles of justice and care for all, sign and share this open letter #JustRecovery

Australia is getting through this crisis better than most because this time we’ve decided to put people before the economy. It is the same values of courage, cooperation, and care for each other that can lead us to the other side and build back better than before.

Principles we believe must underpin our response:

1. Health is the top priority for all people with no exceptions.

2. Economic relief is provided directly to people and workers, especially those in marginalised communities;

3. Workers and communities first, not bailouts for industry and corporate executives.

4. Resilience for future crises

5. Solidarity and community across borders.

Add your name to put people and planet first

Now is the time to invest in an Australia that puts people and planet first.

Australia is getting through this crisis better than most because this time we’ve decided to put people before the economy. It is the same values of courage, cooperation, and care for each other that can lead us to the other side and build back better than before.

→ Add your name on act.greenpeace.org.au/justicefirst

→ Bloomberg – 22 April 2020:
Earth Day 2020: COVID-19, Climate and Collective Action
“There are undeniable parallels between America’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the current response to the global climate crisis. Just as with COVID-19, states, cities and businesses have stepped up to fill the climate leadership gap left by the current administration. Just as with COVID-19, local leaders are listening to experts and letting science — not politics — guide their responses. And just as with COVID-19, non-federal actors are setting the standard for forward-looking solutions.”

Johan Rockstöm’s presentation starts at 3h06min

“The Covid-19 crisis can help push us towards a social tipping point. This really is crunch time if we want to lower the risk of having a catastrophic outcome. We need to get emissions downwards starting 2020. We’ve got to get going on this now. (…) We really have to change our approach to climate change and move as fast as we can to get our emissions down. It is going to be a better world, a better society, and we will have a steady planet. The health crisis gives us an opportunity to deal with another big crisis.”
~ Will Steffen, Australian climate scientist

Read more


ClimateWorks Australia – 28 April 2020:
Zero-emissions solutions are ready to roll, right when the economy needs them most
“A major new report finds there is a pathway to zero emissions for every major economic sector in Australia. Over 18 months in the making, Decarbonisation Futures offers fresh ideas for how Australia can embrace the zero-emissions future that is visible on the other side of the pandemic, writes Amandine Denis-Ryan.”

BBC News – 25 April 2020:
Coronavirus recovery plan ‘must tackle climate change’
“Tackling climate change must be woven into the solution to the Covid-19 economic crisis, the UK will tell governments next week.”

→ Financial Times – 24 April 2020:
The green road to post-crisis recovery
“Efforts to achieve climate goals will help economies spring back from coronavirus.” Julian Popov, of the European Climate Foundation, lays out a plan in the Financial Times for green economic recovery. “Fast distribution of cash will be essential,” he writes.

→ Reuters – 22 April 2020:
For Earth Day, U.N. chief urges ‘green recovery’ in response to coronavirus
“U.N. chief Antonio Guterres urged governments to use their economic responses to the coronavirus pandemic to tackle the “even deeper emergency” of climate change”

→ Steady State – 21 April 2020:
Can we still be happy in the midst of a pandemic and the resulting recession?
“‘Happiness and the COVID-caused Recession’ proposes a new, optimistic perspective on the coronavirus outbreak: Instead of setting our society back on track to GDP growth, quarantine can be an opportunity to consider a future that better supports the wellbeing of all.”

→ The Hill – 20 April 2020:
It’s time to create a Climate-Preparedness Corps
“Federal and state governments can address the dual challenges of lifting the economy out of pandemic-induced recession and jump-starting preparedness for climate impacts through a unified job-creation strategy that employs millions of people.”

→ The New Yorker – 17 April 2020:
The New Yorker Radio Hour: The Coronavirus and Climate Change, the Great Crises of Our Time
“Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert discuss how and why the Trump Administration is aggressively deregulating the environment, even during the national emergency of the coronavirus pandemic.”

→ Open Democracy – 14 April 2020:
No new normal: building the commons
“Now is the time to reflect on the work we’ve done to create an economy based on abundance rather than scarcity, and where to go from here.”

→ Resilience.org – 14 April 2020:
What Might We Learn from COVID-19?
“COVID-19 has much to teach us about compassion, caring, gratitude, cooperation and truth.”

→ The Tyee – 6 April 2020:
The Earth Is Telling Us We Must Rethink Our Growth Society
“Why COVID-19 previews a larger crash. What we must do to save ourselves.”

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