Let’s practice humanity (3rd October 2020): It is a fact widely acknowledged that $1 spent in early intervention helps save $7 in crisis management. Yes, we know that, and so do our leaders. But the cry of a crisis prevents us to logically put aside resources in a systematic way for early intervention, community education and prevention.
The success stories out of the pandemic points to countries where grass root innovators and socially minded entrepreneurs were supported by government to soften the blow of the health pandemic. Let us take the case of Vietnam. Vietnam is a country where there have been two virus waves but only about 35 deaths country wide. Their success is founded on a range of factors facilitated by government, industry and community. There was for instance, free distribution of personal protection equipment, like face masks and hand sanitisers. Locally designed robots were deployed to disinfect and forensically clean hospitals and public places, and hand sanitisers were assembled by school students using recycled and commercially available parts. It became a movement. And the movement was energised through song and music like the Worry Not Danang will overcome COVID.
Australia too has shown resilience during this time. The resilience is sort of built into the Australian psyche as it were, and ingrained in us through history and environment. We see adaptation in our flora and fauna all the time. Take our lizards for instance. Australia is often referred to as the “land of the lizards”, and we do have the highest variety of lizards in the world. Lizards have benefited for sure, from the unpredictable resources in the arid outback, but they have also adapted and responded to disturbances of habitat loss and climate change.
Environment teaches us an important story: that we have to live and adapt in harsh conditions and times. As we adapt, we might also have to give up certain freedoms, and balance individual freedoms versus the needs of community. A historical perspective of pandemic teaches us that this is not the first catastrophe to hit us, nor will it be the last. What we can do is learn from history while continuing to practice humanity in a proactive and positive way.