In the age of the pandemic we are surrounded by, a lot of people are talking about how the virus itself is nature’s call for all of us to wake up and start taking nature seriously, to look around and summarize the way we live, and to improve it, but and to improve our relationship with nature. But what I’ve been thinking about for several days is the fact that the virus itself is actually taking us steps backward in terms of sustainability.
What actually prompted me to write this article? The other day I was at a meeting in a hotel, related to the conference I’m planning for the fall. As it is a fully sustainable conference, I presented instructions to the hotel on what they would need to do to make the conference sustainable. Speaking of criteria, I was greeted by a cold shower on the other side! Epidemiological measures argue for the one-time use of everything we use and therefore, make it difficult for everything we are working on to organize a sustainable conference. I have to admit that until that moment I had not thought in that direction at all in that way, but that is exactly why I asked myself – how much did the virus itself affect the sustainability we are working on?
On the one hand, we can say that the virus made us all imagine ourselves. Those who before did not pay so much attention to thinking about their actions, and what they do for the environment and society – have started. Companies have also started to think in a sustainable direction – they threw out plastic, less printing is done, waste sorting bins are used, digitization of the process has started… But does it all really stop at this moment?
If we think about it a little more, the masks we wear during the pandemic are disposable, as are the gloves. What do we do with them when we throw them away after use? Disposable napkins have returned to hotels, drinking glasses are disposable in some hotels, and hand towels have been replaced with disposable paper towels. While the coffee shops were not working, people bought coffee at kiosks in disposable packaging and did not dispose of it adequately. Should we stop for a moment and look around us, and think about the steps towards sustainability? Of course!
It is for all these reasons that I invite all of you who read this article to stop for a moment and think about what you can do better for the environment and the planet right now. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t wear masks or gloves, because at this moment it’s your own responsibility towards the community, but we all need to think together about how we can store them after wearing them and what else we can do to contribute to the health of the planet and the unity of society in this crisis, which we hope will pass soon.