A year ago the Corona Virus emergency began in my home country of Italy. Living in Germany, I realised how the tragic events that were happening a few hundred kilometres south were being watched as if from another planet, another dimension. In Germany, everything still seemed normal, while Italian hospitals were already in a tizzy, health personnel were at their limits, and the number of deaths was well above the seasonal average. It seemed that in Germany the virus would never become a real threat, that a way would be found to combat the pandemic without upsetting our habits. But we have had to change our habits here too. From North to South America, from Sweden to Spain, everyone has been forced to make sacrifices, and too many have paid - and are paying - a very high price. Pandemics are not new in history, yet we have been caught totally unprepared. For months, we watched from afar as Wuhan faced the emergency that would inevitably come to us. Yet we did not prepare for it. Our policies failed. Our social system has failed. Our mentality has failed, our approach to the future has failed. Because the right approach to the future is not one that counteracts dangers when they are already upon us. The right approach to the future is not one that sets a country's economic wealth on the exploitation of natural resources. The right approach to the future is one that thinks about the health of the next generation, that ensures our children and grandchildren a better world than the one we were born into.
This links me to another emergency: climate change. For decades, politicians in every country have been aware of the serious consequences we would face if we did not start backing away from fossil fuels immediately and switching to new renewable energy sources. A change of system was already required many years ago. We didn't get it, as we all know. Now we seem to be fighting against time, we are at loggerheads, the data on rising temperatures in some parts of the world are even worse than predicted. The catastrophes have begun, surprise! When will we stop being surprised? We have all the possible technologies, and with all the scientific research that has taken place and continues to warn us of possible scenarios, we should not be surprised if the increase in drought causes now unstoppable fires, unmanageable migration flows, mass extinctions.
Perhaps never before in the last year have we realised how important returning to nature is for each of us, how a run in the fresh air saves us even if our professional lives are suspended and precarious. A regeneration of natural environments ensures our physical and mental health. Respect for other living beings protects us from future pandemics. Protecting them means protecting ourselves. Thinking seriously about the future means restoring forests, stopping the clearing of rainforests immediately; closing intensive livestock farms - constant hotbeds of viruses that occasionally spill over from animal into human. One day, slowly, we will emerge from this health emergency. We will be able to leave behind the forced isolation, the loneliness, the desolation, the mourning. We will be able to forget the frustration, but one thing no one should forget: that we caused the pandemic. And we will cause more if we do not change our mentality, our habits, our approach to the future, the economic and social system in which we live. The revolution begins from here.
What is your experience with the pandemic? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.