The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the worst health crises in modern history. The immediate effects changed our lives drastically. However, as we re-emerge from the crisis it’s ok to take count of the lessons learnt and how we can build a better world moving forward.
From tackling inequalities to changes in the way that we live our lives, here’s a positive exploration of what a post-COVID United Kingdom could look like.
- Society and Governments could be more willing to tackle climate change.
- We all have a greater appreciation for our personal health and are willing to deal with obesity.
- Greater appreciation for our freedoms and loved ones.
- Businesses moving online, people want to support local.
- Changes to the way we work, more flexible with when and where.
- Governments realise they must do more to address inequalities.
Tackling Climate Change:
The worldwide lockdown during the first wave resulted in many countries all over the globe shutting down. The public stayed indoors, cars remained on driveways, our streets and parks were left resembling a ghost town.
While it was depressing for us humans, it was a well-deserved treat for our planet.
The world almost literally, had time to catch its breath. There was:
- Significant reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
- Reduced amount of fossil fuel consumption.
- Reduction of water pollution.
- Less noise pollution.
- Tourist hotspots such as beaches, national parks, mountains were left untouched.
- Less transport and industrial activities.
However, lockdowns were eased the world started to return to normal again. Yet this time, a lot more people are working from home, reducing the amount they travel.
We also seem to have a new appreciation for the great outdoors. Especially as walking outdoors was the only thing we could really do during restrictions.
Witnessing this reduction in pollution has also made us realise the impact we have on the climate. Governments across the world are now promising ‘green recoveries’. Pledging not to return to normal, but instead shifting their focuses towards green energy like wind, solar and water.
The worldwide lockdown could have been the wake-up call we all needed to start making more of an effort to protect the environment.
Appreciation For Our Health:
The pandemic shed light on the importance of our personal health. Being overweight put you at a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill – or even dying – from the virus.
In the UK, we realised how many of us are out of shape. We realised the link between our weight and chances of surviving particular illnesses.
Since then, there has been a push for more of us to go outside and get some exercise.
At one point during the pandemic, if you looked outside your window it looked like the Tour de France. Everyone and their dog were out riding a bike. The pandemic has got many people up on their feet and encouraged us to lose some weight.
In many ways, we noticed there’s another pandemic going on, one that has been around for much longer.
28% of adults in the UK are reported as being obese with 36.2% overweight. Around three-quarters of people ages, 45-74 are overweight or obese. This causes serious pressure on our NHS as obesity leads to many other illnesses and deaths, as seen with COVID-19.
One thing the pandemic may have taught us all is the importance of our health and the need for us to pick up some healthy habits. It’s essential for not only our own lives but for our society and health care systems too.
It’s also interesting to mention that our attitudes to colds and flu will likely change. It’s less likely people will go into work – or be asked to come in – when we have an average cold.
Our awareness of how colds and cases of flu spread and how we can help suppress them will surely guide our decisions in years to come.
Changes To Our Personal Lives:
Most of all, it’s likely that our personal lives will change in a variety of ways. Once the pandemic becomes controllable and our freedoms are restored. We’ll likely appreciate those freedoms more than we ever did before.
We’ll finally be able to see our friends and family, go on holiday, have a pint at the pub, eat food with friends at a restaurant, watch a film at the cinema and much more.
We’ll hopefully appreciate our friends and family more than we did before. Hugging them tighter and holding them closer.
We’ll work harder to tackle loneliness. Especially now we understand how it feels for a grandparent who is alone at home or a care home with no visitors.
We also got to know our neighbours more and a feel a sense of community. Making it easier for us to give people in the local community a smile and a wave. Possibly giving us more confidence to have a chat or ask them for help whenever needed.
Small changes that could have a big effect on all of our lives.
Businesses were forced to embrace the digital era, moving their means of selling online. High street shops are no longer essential for many businesses. A strong online presence can yield greater results for businesses both small and large.
While this might threaten the high streets, it’s also key to mention there will hopefully be a big call to support local and small businesses, more than we ever did before.
Working from home wasn’t very popular before the pandemic, most people had never give it a go. Now many of us have had that experience, some of us might stick that way.
Whether it’s continuing to work remotely, a mix of working in the office and at home or maybe an appreciation for the office even more than before. The way we all work will change for the better, giving us the flexibility to work from anywhere we want.
Finally Tackling Inequalities:
The pandemic has highlighted some serious inequalities that will need to be addressed moving forward. The divide between the rich and the poor, the north of the UK and the south, white people and minorities.
People from lower-paid, working-class backgrounds, ethnic minority backgrounds and/or who live in poorer areas were all more likely to feel the worst effects of the pandemic.
The north of England faces a harsher economical hit compared to the south. Shedding light on the existing inequalities in our society that need to be addressed.
The recovery will be tough but hopefully, Governments will be forced to address inequalities across the UK to prevent disastrous consequences as seen last year.
It’s Not All Doom And Gloom:
This has been an optimistic look at how the UK – and the world – can change for the better as we recover from the pandemic, such as:
- More effort and govt policies to protect the environment and tackle climate change.
- Change in attitudes to our personal health, addressing obesity.
- More appreciation for friends, family and our freedoms.
- The way we work and shop will change, supporting more small/local businesses.
- More knowledge on inequalities in society and why they need to be addressed.
For anyone reading, it hopefully gives you some hope in how good things can come from such a bad couple of years.