Over the next couple of days, I’m writing down my thoughts on what this pandemic’s effects can be over the long term.
In the past couple of days, India has been under national lockdown with only the absolute essential services being allowed, including transport and fuel to enable such services.
As people are now learning what the bare minimum services and who these service providers are, I hope they find a new appreciation towards them, their jobs and what they enable for us: the privilege of social-distancing and staying/working from home.
I hope people realise and learn about all the non-essential traveling they do. I have personally avoided traveling outside a 5km radius unless absolutely necessary. I rarely travel for leisure. I can do all of this because I have the privilege to do so. Most people around me do not.
They will elect to rent out an apartment roughly 10-15km away from the workplace. They may get a small allowance for fuel for their vehicles from their respective companies and HRA, and they’ll waste a chunk of their salary on fuel for their personal vehicles, so they end up nulling out the effect of renting a cheaper apartment. They also end up increasing their overall carbon footprint by doing so.
I hope we realise that this clean air we have managed to get back is only temporary if everyone goes back to their old habits after this lockdown. If we keep our non-essential travel, consumption of resources, and abuse of resources the same, we’ll be back to where we were. World 2.0 will remain a distant dream.