The Observatory

Jun 2020

Can the Covid Crisis and lockdown be fostered as a force for continuing good?

We are all aware that in and amongst the negatives, there have been, perhaps unintended, positives that have emerged from the Covid Crisis and lockdown. Whether it’s the unusually clear blue skies that we have been enjoying thanks to carbon emissions plummeting or the plethora of voluntary good deeds that so many individuals and groups have been carrying out, there are positives and there has been a coming together of people.

A cyclist cycles by painted stencils on a street to create pop up bike lanes in preparation for distanced bike rides, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 16, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls – RC2PPG9C9JNC

Maybe it is simply our instinct for survival? Or a profound need in the face of social distancing and isolation to create a social connection? Or a bit of both. Either way, if we can combine the response by communities with the positives, can we foster something even better going forward and amplify the good?

On a national scale we all marveled at Captain Tom and the tidal wave of support in which we were swept up. We clapped for the NHS and support workers every Thursday evening. The reduction in cars has encouraged many more to get out on their bicycles for their daily exercise. At a local level we have witnessed the amazing way communities have rallied around people and local independent businesses however we could. Whether it’s been groups of neighbours coming together to support those who needed help with shopping, dog walking or other errands, allotment owners sharing their produce around or buying take outs to support our local pub or brewery through lockdown, we have all responded in our own way. People have been what mattered and communities the length and breadth of the country responded in the way that their place, in which they lived, most needed.

Already there is a growing movement to improve cycling provision and harness the benefits of cleaner skies we have all now witnessed. For years working from home was talked about but never attempted on such a scale. Many have enjoyed the benefits and business have been able to adapt and change.

People do tend to come together in a crisis and the coronavirus pandemic has been no different in that respect, driving communities to embrace greater levels of cooperation. As lockdown eases and  we gradually start to emerge, people will be able to return to some degree of pre-lockdown life but will the cooperation, coming together and community spirit to foster the positive and the good continue or recede back into the shadows and just be remembered as a much needed but temporary human response to an unprecedented crisis?