COVID has changed the world forever.
However, not all the lessons we can learn from this mammoth disruption to the way we do things will be detrimental to our survival as a species. Some will actually help.
We can talk about that a little later.
First, the net result of the pandemic and its origin from what we know so far.
Obviously nothing will compensate those poor folk who have lost loved ones because of the virus. Particularly when they come to understand the truth about its origin and that it could quite possibly have escaped from a lab that was working on viruses that could be used by governments in future conflicts as part of their assault weapons of mass destruction.
The more l read, hear or watch about that possibility, the more l fear that my suspicions will be proved correct.
And if it is true - then what!
I watched a programme recently that suggested the next (and possibly the last) World War would be fought using these deadly but extremely effective methods to cripple whole populations without firing a shot.
In that context it might be better that we had hitched a ride to another planet because this one, post war, would quickly become environmentally uninhabitable.
In the meantime, we must hope that my concerns are unwarranted, wiser heads prevail and turn our attention to coping with life after the current pandemic.
Much of what we have done for hundreds of years will need to change.
Our methods of financing our lifestyle is already under pressure and it is hard to understand the wisdom or long term viability of our government’s damage control.
Most nations in the Free World where individuals matter have used their Reserve Banks to print money as if it were going out of fashion. They have justified the “necessary” use of this method against economic collapse by convincing us that this will stimulate the economy at a time when most of our foreign exchange earning industries are damaged - some almost beyond repair. It is supposedly designed as a “stopgap“ measure and is only meant to be in place until our international markets return to normal.
But, as we are seeing with the announcement of the public sector wage freeze, in societies like ours, these measures are easy to announce but difficult to implement effectively without further damaging the structure of society itself.
There is no question in my mind that what needs to change in this country as we emerge from the pandemic, is “public attitude” as much as “government policies”.
Our government needs to engage with its people about coming to a realisation that yes, we need to be kind to each other but, more importantly, we each need to take much more responsibility for our own actions and be prepared to make our individual contributions to the National effort.
I speak from experience. I feel obliged to share some of it with you all.
Firstly, l am thankful to be living in a country where we are fortunate in being able to take advantages of natural boundaries that have shielded us from the virus as much as anything else. Even considering the disruption to our lives, it could have been so much worse.
However, COVID has not been kind to me.
I have seen my income slashed by more than half and am unlikely to see that destroyed source re-established anytime soon - probably never.
I just have to get on with it and accept that our future is in our own hands.
I have replaced that loss of income by doubling the production from the remaining land l have left. In doing so, l am much more vulnerable to the ravages of climate change and reliant on the seasons being more kind than the virus. It is a risk l must take.
But here’s the thing for us all to consider.
If we are to emerge from this disaster as a nation secure in the knowledge that we did what our forebears would have done, we will accept that we can all play our part in the recovery.
For some, that will require only the smallest of effort eg. For public servants on $100,000 who have been economically protected from the pandemic, it will mean a few years of no salary increases. Surely, that isn’t too much to ask when considered alongside those in the tourism industry who, through no fault of their own, have lost every thing.
It would seem that the Government’s claim that we are all in this together has fallen on deaf ears - especially those groups who want to be maintained in a manner to which they have become accustomed - while the rest of us doing the heavy lifting.
The Government must stick to its guns in these times of crisis.
To buckle to these threats would be almost as bad as waving the white flag to those who would do us harm in any other capacity.
It must not happen.
Yet sadly, every new news broadcast suggests it probably will.
What a gutless pack of self serving individuals. Shame on them.
In that context, we need to change the personnel of those in government.
They have proved they are unwilling to change their attitude to this crisis but expect us to change ours. Not good enough!
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.