With crowds coagulating outside Burger King, queues compounding from before breakfast at Maccas and public bins overflowing with fast food debris on day one of Level Three, I heard the odd derogatory comment about the people who would line up for this sort of fare.
Interesting to note then, all the “others” who had been hanging out for a decent coffee – whatever that is. Coffee snobbery is probably the purview of those with plenty of discretionary income.
I’m disappointed that as we emerged from Level Four, we saw a rapid reversion to pre-lock-down habits among the fast food junkies AND the coffee snobs, then there were the parties and other activities of debauchery.
Bring back Level Four! We clearly have not had enough time to consider the poignant poems, Facebook memes, and other evidence that the planet was enjoying a breather from our everyday throwaway habits.
“We need to kick-start the economy again” is the plaintiff cry from those experiencing withdrawal from the limelight as the daily updates usurp their presence.
“But WHICH economy will we kick-start?” is MY plaintiff cry.
Is there a pattern emerging? During this amazing opportunity of “caged rest”, it feels like nobody – no matter how dislocated, educated, or remunerated, has had long enough to consider how we might adjust our thinking to ensure that the environmental gains of this time are maintained; and creative solutions are found for those who have lost their jobs, their businesses, or their overseas travel opportunities.
Chucking money at it so we can do what we always did will not mitigate the problem. It will simply prolong the agony until we understand that a sustainable long-term fix for this self-inflicted dilemma requires a whole new way of thinking.
Our economic recovery does not lie in someone else bailing us out of the clag.
There are innovative and entirely achievable ways of rebuilding an economy that do not HAVE to be predicated on the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. An economy where the environment is cared for and the opportunities for all to participate and earn in a dignified and productive manner abound. Impoverished people have been finding such ways for a while and brave people have been publicising them.
I say brave people because in this nation of tall poppy choppers we regularly turn our backs on initiatives that might undermine what we have come to accept as the norm. Look no further than the current discussions about the benefits of regenerative agriculture or the PM’s updates this week that have been highlighting New Zealand innovators or the “New Zealand Made Products” Facebook page. There is plenty of evidence that we can do things differently - successfully.
According to all the pundits – kicking a habit is not easy or comfortable but the benefits are worth the effort. We made a good start in Level Four. Level Three saw that good start begin to flag. I fear Level Two will see us doing what we always did again. Let’s not set ourselves up to go through more agony again.
Next time the planet may not be as forgiving.