Unprecedented, strange, interesting – however you describe it, it’s fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for us all, to say the least.
A year after the first UK lockdown was announced, many of us are remembering those we’ve lost and our experiences of the last 12 months, while looking forward to a return to normality.
While many of us are keen to move on, we shouldn’t forget that a lot of good has come out of this experience. There’s no denying a global pandemic is a terrible thing and that so many people have lost so much – but we’ve got an opportunity to make sure our future is even better than the one we envisaged before Covid-19.
Bringing out the best
We’re all aware of efforts like Capt Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising, Joe Wicks’ classes to keep kids activity and charity singles (Thank you, baked potato). On a more local level, many of us have spoken to neighbours for the first time, kept in touch with friends and built new online networks.
Stories of nature thriving in the absence of human activity proved it’s possible to repair some of the damage caused by our day-to-day lives. My local park transformed into a field of dandelions – not ideal for playing football, I grant you, but it looked beautiful and thrilled local children out on their daily exercise.
As fields and verges were left unattended, wildflowers and pollinators hit record numbers.
Businesses and social enterprises adapted too, with many becoming more accessible to people than ever before. While it’s been (and continues to be) tough for many, those organisations which survive will come out of this stronger.
In the midst of lockdown, many of us had a break from the normal hustle and bustle, with time to reflect and enjoy the area around us during our daily permitted exercise.
As more of us adapted to working from home, there was the realisation that the daily commute may not be necessary, and people became used to having more time to themselves.
Many people swore they’d learn from the experience – appreciating the local environment, travelling less, supporting nature and supporting local enterprises.
However, as vaccine rates increase and the promise of an end to lockdown restrictions is on the horizon, old habits are returning. The roads are already busier. We’re pining for the high street to reopen. We don’t check on our neighbours quite as much.
The pandemic isn’t over, although it looks as if the end might be in sight. But in the rush to get back to ‘normal,’ we already seem to have forgotten many of the things we claim to have learnt.
So – let that patch of grass grow wild, let the pollinators benefit.
Keep in touch with those nearby, we’ve proven we can support each other.
Seek out your local suppliers, especially social enterprises. Now we’ve all seen the importance of local connections and support, why wouldn’t you back those organisations already embedded in the community and committed to improving things for us all?
There are lots of plans in place to help all of us live better lives when we all have the freedom to go back to ‘normal’ – find them and support them.
But most of all, I hope you get to hug the people you care about soon.