The world we share is rapidly changing. We are watching each day as more news of coronavirus (COVID-19) comes through. It’s the main point of conversation lately. It’s changing the way we live our everyday lives. The plans we made are gone, or on hold, just like that. But can we use this to make changes for the better?
Our sympathies are with those who are most affected by this, especially our loved ones. Key workers have been called to action. The people on our minds are our nurses, doctors and NHS staff. They are working overtime and without the proper protective equipment. We are genuinely, feeling the effect this is having on our community and friends.
Somewhere inside us, we all knew, at some point something had to give. The polarised society between the rich and the poor, the constant acceleration in the destruction of our rainforests, the continual rise in the production of toxic plastic, the mass drive for profit and greed. We are living in the time of the anthropocene.
A crisis, stirs up a time for unimaginable change. It could mean that we also have a chance to purposefully and positively affect the trajectory we were previously on.
‘’Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken, depend on the ideas that are laying around.’’ Milton Friedman.
“We know this script. In 2008, the last time we had a global financial meltdown, the same kinds of bad ideas for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts carried the day, and regular people around the world paid the price.” Naomi Klein.
Watch the video and read more: https://interc.pt/2IOfBQb
Real changes for the better…
Right now, governments and big business will use this crisis to push through policies that were very distant discussions before…for the worse or for the better. This is a time of great danger or opportunity.
There have been some more drastic measures taken that are not nice for any of us, like being home bound for the foreseeable. For those of us who can, a more positive outlook on this situation could bring about ideas and policies that were once seen as far too radical or unfeasible. In fact, they are actually happening overnight…
- The demand to release detention centres, some 300 people from detention already released
- The homeless being housed in empty spaces (hotels)
- Government funds for businesses, the employed and self-employed at risk
- Flights being cancelled, transport and travel restrictions leading to clear skies and less air pollution
- UK farmworkers being recognised as key workers
- Bans on wild animal meat in China and calls to stop hunting & large scale factory farming worldwide
But what would be disappointing for us and the generations that follow after us, is for big industries to be bailed out, again. The same ones that are causing the most environmental damage, with complete disregard in being inline with the Paris Climate Agreement.
What changes for the better would we like to see for the best of all? Potentially permanent changes, that could fight poverty and the climate crisis. Even, at the same time, mitigate the chance of another disaster of this kind. How and in what ways should we be returning to work in response to these problems? How should we value jobs that sustain quality livelihoods and empower a greener future?
“100 years ago we won the weekend & the 8hr day. Today we sure as hell can win a #4DayWeek.”
At Hempen, we encourage a model of working 3 days a week. Community residents add-on 1 day a week. This is because we believe a shorter working week could improve the economy, our environment and our society as a whole. We don’t want to be confined to our work only. We need time for rest and play. Less working hours could also provide an opportunity to address inequalities, lack of time to live sustainably, and help to reduce carbon emissions.
Universal Basic Income
At the very least, temporary enactment of UBI could be in place for a trial of three months. Throughout the crisis, this would mean the spike in renters being evicted recently could have been avoided. Every day, we hear new ways in which the government plans to help alleviate financial hardship, though many businesses and people are in uncertain circumstances. If UBI was to be brought in, we can see how it might work for our economy in the long-term. Leaving people without a means of income induces stress, which in turn lowers our immune systems. Isn’t this somewhat counterproductive.
If 8 men have as much wealth as the rest of the world, it seems possible that more wealth could be shared. The Spanish are introducing UBI! If you feel inclined, then sign the petition for Basic Income: https://bit.ly/2QDIClE
Oher like-minded start-ups like ourselves and independents, having access to UBI provides freedom, so that more people can create projects that are built from their own passions and skill sets. And especially now, when so many may face unemployment or lack of work, this could help. It could spur society on with more environmental, social and conscious work. Though we are not talking about a small UBI. This needs to be enough UBI to cover average rent prices and food per week or month to work effectively. And not just be a token amount.
Real Support For Key Workers
Bolster the National Living Wage, Save the NHS, Encourage Food Security by Supporting UK Farmers.
In this emergency, we get a rare reality check of the type of jobs that are important. As our country heads into lock-down, NHS staff, cleaners and food producers are noticeably the key workers in our society. Note, that the likes of airlines, banks and such…are not in this mix.
Hempen’s products are classified as food and essential. We continue to go about our daily business with some adjustments. Keen to produce organic and healthy, nutritious hemp food.
For our community, we are planting more vegetable seeds and are searching for ways to use our fields to be of use. We hope many others are using their own gardens. Even gorilla growing in an abandoned or unloved spaces. Now is the time for councils to open up unused spaces to communities. There are signs of a global food shortage ahead, so we are calling for a government package to protect local food supplies and increase local production. If you like the sound of that, please sign: https://www.change.org/LandArmySupport
We can be part of the debate and changes ahead, let’s stay active!
Written by Sophia, Member of Hempen