Governments are anxious to reopen for business as usual. Returning to our normal may be the desire for most people. A few renegades, like me, demand better. We can do way better than the status quo.
What does our normal look like?
To begin with, let us examine what our normal looks like in our world. Generally, a chasm exists between the wealth of the Northern Hemisphere and the poverty of the Southern Hemisphere. Our privileged lifestyle is largely funded by the underpaid and overworked.
The natural world
Another sad scenario plays out in the natural world where “Over the past 50 years, …, populations of land-based species have fallen 40 percent, freshwater species more than 80 percent, and marine species 35 percent.” National Geographic May 7, 2020. Exploiting natural resources without considering the consequences of maintaining a viable planet may mean our demise. Our normal may kill us.
As a result of being a long term member for Development and Peace, an NGO set up in 1967 to work with the disadvantaged of the global south, I am privy to some very encouraging news not viewable in the local press. Native Peoples have much to teach us about keeping the balance. The National Geographic is another source of excellent information. The pandemic has changed our normal significantly. Perhaps it may be wise to maintain some of the changes. And Richard Rohr ranks with the rebels in the spiritual realm by welcoming leaders of all faiths and genders to his centre of Action and Contemplation. Cooperation instead of competition.
My kind of normal
Also, limited world resources insist on a limited use of those resources. Living simply, within a circular economy, would allow everyone to have a living wage for satisfying work. By living wage, I mean enough funds for food, clothing, shelter, and leisure. Leisure is essential for a healthy population. Education and health should be classified as a right rather than a privilege for everyone, equally, independent of income. This is a normal I could embrace.
A new normal
As my artwork suggests, our world is falling apart. Having lost our way with the advent of the industrial age and the pursuit of personal gain, we no longer consider the general good. Balance is no longer part of the equation. Gold rules. Should we return to business as usual, our normal will destroy any chance of survival in the beautiful world we know today. As a people we must demand a better outcome. The choice is change or die.