COVID-19 and other virus diseases are counted as one of the many consequences of global warming and climate change. At the same time issued lockdowns across the world have reduced traffic flows, nearly diminished airline capacity hit, causing a tremendous reduction in CO2 emissions. The world is a complex place. Climate change is likely to be a cause of COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic is letting the earth breath for the moment, but causing panic for the economy. All humans' issues seem to be linked together. Albert Einstein said, “Out of complexity, find simplicity!”. This article intends to find simplicity into the worlds issues, by simply connecting the dots.
Interconnectedness of issues COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, a disease that is likely to be transferred from animals to humans. These zoonotic diseases, others are SARS, MERS, Zika and Ebola, are getting more common. Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) told Business Insider, that "75% or so of new infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature. When we encroach on nature, when we destroy forest, when we degrade the environment, then we are disturbing what is supposed to be left undisturbed." Business Insider explains, that some experts think this increase in zoonotic diseases might be related to an increase in deforestation and the subsequent increase in contact between humans and animal species. Washington Post says, "climate change shrinks some animal populations, depriving them of the genetic diversity needed to control disease. Studies have also linked outbreaks of several zoonotic diseases to extreme weather events, like droughts and floods." Climate change has also been reputed to cause many other health issues. In below graph you can see the relation between earth systems and various conditions and diseases, a graph that was created from a course called "The Health Effects of Climate Change" from Harvard.
At the same time all health challenges, in today's changing lifestyle this includes also mental health challenges, have severe consequences to the economy. During COVID-19 pandemic, we can clearly see, how our actions have caused and still is causing climate change. For the first time we have seen a dip in CO2 emissions with the forced airline capacity hit and tremendous reduction in traffic flows. Below graphs from BBC illustrate this.
Additionally "shrinkthatfootprint.com" has compared the impact of footprint per diet group, vegan being the diet with the least footprint and it turns out to be healthy too!
The United Nations list all global issues: From Africa to Ageing, to AIDS, Atomic Energy, Big Data for the SDGs, Children, Climate Change, Decolonization, Democracy, Ending Poverty, Food, Gender Equality, Health, Human Rights, International Law and Justice, Migration, Oceans and the Law of the Sea, Peace and Security, Population, Refugees, Water, Youth… all connected to each other. Aligning interests in an interconnected system In light of the interconnectedness of all world's issues, the most important subject is to observe, how interests are aligned in our society. In the current healthcare system, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and all stakeholders in the supply chain of medicine or therapy are paid, when patients are ill. This means, the system doesn't allow a hospital to enjoy an empty house - no ill patients literally means no money for them. This is not against the people working in the system. This is the way the system has developed. With COVID-19 we have the opportunity to reevaluate whether this is the right way to carry on. The same can be said about the energy sector. Is the energy sector incentivized to completely restructure their revenue streams to carbon neutral? No - look at all the interconnectedness between the geopolitical playing field and correlations to the business networks. If you look at the issues around Peace, Security, International Law and Justice and Human Rights - are governors incentivized to keep peace? With the arms business, interests are not set with a high moral code, so that's a No, too. For people, who believe that the world cannot be changed in a way, that interests are aligned, I say: If I give you a gift, how do you feel? Good, right? Why? Because you have received something and feel happy. If you give a gift to me, how do you feel? Good, right? Why? Because you made someone happy. This is a Universal Law: Every human being is naturally incentivized to do something good. My strong belief is that we have to build a world, where human beings are incentivized to do good. Become rich, by doing good. Become rich, by keeping people healthy. Become rich, by doing charity work or creating social businesses. This is what a beautiful world looks like. Now is the time to embrace creative and out of the box thinking, build good hearted decision makers with a high moral code, compassion and integrity to take us to the next level of growth.
Role of government In the whole network of interconnected issues and different ways to find comprehensive and sustainable solutions to these, the most important role is carried by the government. The government's job is foremost to hold a high moral code and a good heart. A government must represent the benefit of the people. A government must hold values of integrity and compassion. With these fundamentals, governments need to have insight into the interconnectedness of above mentioned issues and clarity on how to align interests to make sure money flows in the right way to promote and enable health, equality, safety, justice, opportunity and access to a better life for all. In an Harvard training on "Community Health Worker Programs" the role of the government was discussed. Following were the definitions:
Regulator: Government is the decision-making body that provides the policy, standards, design, and framework.
Scaler: Partners may be able to demonstrate that pilot programs are efficient and effective, but to scale them nationally, the government needs to lead the charge.
Convener: Given its role as a regulator and scaler, the government is uniquely positioned to bring all partners, funders, and other stakeholders together.
Coordinator: On top of connecting, the government must also compel sharing of ideas, information, and resources to ensure transparency and optimize efficiency.
Sustainer: Partners may come and partners may go, but the government will remain. Governments are uniquely positioned to sustain programs over the long term, particularly when they have taken a lead role in all stages of development, from inception and implementation to evaluation.
Co-Financier: Sustained programs require sustained funding. As the government’s funding for its own programs increases, so too will its motivation to keep the program cost-effective.
Human Resource Mobilizer: In many countries, government is the largest employer and is committed to maintaining its workforce over the long term. The government workforce is also distributed across the entire country. Investing in supporting this workforce can promote efficiencies and government ownership.
Above content must be transferred cross sectoral. In a more and more interconnected world, a central guidance and alignment on values, such as integrity and honesty, with initiated incentive streams, is key to healing the world. For this we need our future leaders to be compassionate, to be a woman or man of integrity, to internalise honesty, inspiration, equality, opportunity, positivity and creativity. For this we need our future leaders to be good hearted. Inspiring goodhearted decision making is what it is going to be about in the upcoming years and Positive Parivartan is taking the first step in this direction. UI