The downside, however, is that we have become even more of a ‘takeaway’ society, and the proliferation of throwaway coffee cups and polystyrene food containers, is a disturbing outcome. Try as I might to convince coffee baristas to accept my keep cup, explaining that they could make my coffee in a china mug and pour it into my keep cup, logic and common sense had gone out the window, as they all insisted Covid health regulations required them to use takeaway cups - which they handed to me with ungloved hands!!
This all might seem trivial, but it is actually symptomatic of a more wide-reaching problem that concerns me in this current period of crisis. Have we become a society that is totally compliant to expert advice without question, worn down by the enormity of all the problems we face? Have we lost the will to question decisions of government thrust upon us, either because of the uncertainty of where this is all heading, or because of the threat of the penalties for non-compliance?
Please understand that I am not questioning the dangers of this Covid-19 pandemic. Rather, I am concerned about the type of society that may be evolving from the pandemic. There are extreme reactions already in evidence around the world, ranging from the desperation of poor people deprived of health care and essential supplies, to the arrogance and selfishness of those people (politicians, elite sports people, beach revellers, etc.) who either don't think or care about the effect of their actions on others. These are not new issues, but my concern is that they will become more prevalent and extreme, the longer the pandemic continues.
As for the effect on climate change, the reduction in carbon emissions has helped, but the proposals to lead us towards economic recovery in Australia will not, especially if Scott Morrison's gas-weighted committee has its way. Whichever way I look at gas as a means of providing energy, it is still burning a fossil fuel, producing carbon dioxide and methane, and certainly not alleviating the problem of climate change. Renewables create emissions in their manufacturing phase and in the mining of the construction materials, but that is the end of the story, unlike gas and coal.
Finally, if you missed the last episode of ‘Road to Now’ on ABC TV (30th June), try to watch it on iview, as it dealt with natural disasters, and in particular, those associated with climate events - a stark reminder of the need to take urgent action on climate change.