A call for courageous leadership
From the perspective of ecosystems, biodiversity, and resilience, Covid-19 is a gift that no one expected. We have once in a century opportunity for creative leadership.
This camera trap photo at dam in the Timbavati (Greater Kruger), overlays the action. A leopard with two cubs, hyena bloated with an evening feast, porcupine, dwarf mongoose, baboons and spurfowl.
World-wide, the consuming monster of humanity has retreated. As 4.5 billion humans are restrained, nature is flourishing and demonstrating incredible resilience. Many have advocated, suffered, and prayed for this reality.
In our gardens, birdlife is noisy. Swans, dolphins, fish and birds are returning to our waterways. Sea-life is on the brink of a massive recovery. The skies are clear, pollution has dropped to levels that are saving millions of lives – countless billions if we consider our fellow species.
While human leadership presses for consumption and economic growth, we have been granted a precious opportunity to pause, reflect and respond with wisdom.
The biological resilience on full display around us, is good for us too. Our suburbs are quiet and clean. Traffic jams, manic flying and endless meetings have dropped away. We have precious time with loved ones. We can read, reflect and initiate a more contemplative path.
Yes, many are frustrated, lonely and afraid. What a good time to learn about and practice the innumerable resilience skills that we have not found time for – walk, breathe, stretch, sleep, read and debate. Rather than wailing and gnashing about mental health, perhaps we can appreciate, relax and allow recovery to take place. The very insanity you long for, is the cause of most suffering.
Environmentalists, biologists and physicians have begged the world for exactly what this media-hyped pandemic has delivered. Where have their voices gone? We should be celebrating, sharing and redoubling our resolve to lean into more sustainable solutions.
The Covid-19 pandemic is challenging us, but in comparison to the annual cost of preventable deaths, it does not rank in the top 20 for this year.
We will save and enrich many more lives, by grasping this opportunity to bring restraint, wisdom and deliberate stewardship to our planet.
Re-imagine your life
- Relax, look around, be curious, and apply creative optimism
- Take this opportunity to become a better version of yourself
- Treasure your loved ones and make time to deepen connections
- Celebrate and support the resilience of nature
Re-imagine your lifestyle
- Get rid of a gas-guzzling car or switch to an electric vehicle
- Maybe you might consider solar power
- Do you really need all that junk-food, drunkenness and revelry?
- Commit to and lock-down your new daily practices
Re-imagine your career or work
- Could you work from home more often?
- What about testing the calling you feel?
- How could you collaborate more widely through digital?
- What might you do more actively in your local community?
- Is this an opportunity for a family business?
As always, VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) times call for leadership. We know that pandemics, economies, politics and society are complex systems that will interact in unpredictable and chaotic ways. Leadership is already severely tested. Few political systems have the balance of authority, responsibility and freedom to ride this black swan.
Thus, we find ourselves in dogmatic short-term manoeuvring and grand-standing. For the real leaders, this is the opportunity of the century.
Congratulations to Macron for suggesting that we call a global ceasefire. The world could unite against the greed-fuelled violence that always punishes the poor. If the major powers agree to stop supplying, funding and stoking conflict, developing economies may recover.
Leaders and political systems get rich on weapons manufacture. Let’s call it. Enough!
If ever, leaders were to nudge our transition to clean power it is now. Oil demand has collapsed. High tech, clean energy is ripe to mature and replace fossil fuels. We could tax fossil fuels and incentivise clean power.
Leaders and political systems thrive on oil. Enough!
We are on the threshold of smart work and intelligent lifestyles. Virtual platforms and real-time global transactions could massively reduce travel. We know and can track the key lifestyle factors that help us thrive. Cars, late nights, flights, substance abuse and sloth could be constrained. Home-based offices and community centric work and recreation will expand. Smarter life at lower cost is already in play.
Leaders and political systems do thrive on excess and impulse. Enough!
We must protect the planet from ourselves. Some regions respect and treasure nature. Most exploit whatever they can. This Covid-19 pause is the perfect opportunity to stop waging war on nature. Might we co-operate to protect critical ecosystems and crush the scourge of forest burning, water pollution, wild-life trade and over-fishing. Ecotourism is the perfect opportunity for biodiversity, climate hedging and economic activity.
Rise up young leaders. Enough of pale and male dinosaurs. Where are the young people? Where are the female leaders? Where is your voice Greta? Jacinda? Erna? Katrin? Sanna? Reader?
If you fail to take this opportunity to re-imagine our world and our lives, you are abdicating to a century of regret.
Step up and lead. Many of us are ready to help you.