Don’t Return To ‘Normal’ Just Yet

It is good to be able to meet people in person again, to go many places without a mask, to feel more relaxed after receiving a COVID vaccination. However, it is disappointing that the lessons of lockdowns have not been learned. Now, instead of prioritizing our health care systems, our educational systems, the problems of homelessness or of conserving energy and consumption, we want to “get back to normal.” The evidence is clear: Health care systems are exhausted, funding for schools and students will struggle even more than usual, many more people are homeless or can’t pay their rent, energy consumption this year will be the second highest in history, inequities of wealth increase and the GNP is thought to soar to new heights.

Congress cannot adequately address even very moderate green goals while ways to reduce the demands humans place on the resources of the planet far exceed Earth’s natural capacity to sustain itself. The time to limit our attacks on the Earth’s natural systems gets shorter and shorter, and stated goals are not being met and become increasingly more difficult to attain. The projections of scientists, the U.N. environmental agency and many other people knowledgeable about resource depletion indicate that tipping points in climate warming, ocean acidification as well as plant and animal extinctions are imminent — not something we should take passively. Indeed, some tipping points have already passed.

The “new normal” should not be the “old normal” unless we want our civilization to collapse.

Al Urquhart


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