Before 2020 when you heard the word virus you immediately thought of the damage this could do to your computer. Losing data was the worst outcome you could think of. Until Covid-19 hit, changing the world and the way we think.
Pre-Covid-19 did we even give more than a passing thought to environmental issues or how we viewed our own space when it came to sanitising? Not a minute, hour or day goes by now without taking precautions against Covid-19 – or at least it should be like that.
Although new cases are steadily decreasing in South Africa we’re still aware that there could easily be a second wave so we can’t afford to let down our guard just yet. But what will life look like when there’s a consistent zero figure for new cases and hopefully a vaccine to further keep us safe? Will life go back to normal? Will everything we’ve learned about keeping viruses and by association other germs at bay be forgotten?
Although the world has undergone a massive paradigm shift in thinking, climate change is still with us. Perhaps what Covid-19 has highlighted is the widening inequalities and how global warming continues to threaten ecosystems and ultimately the world’s population. What was apparent when hard lockdowns were put into place was the dramatic fall in global carbon emissions but already these are almost back to the same levels as pre-Covid-19.
For real change to happen we need a permanent shift in attitude, not just for individuals but industry, national and local government. Although laws governing industry and their responsibilities as far as pollution and environmental degradation in South Africa have been in place for a number of years, their policing as such have not really taken place.
According to Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx the challenge that still faces us is the issue of being environmentally aware is still not being taken seriously. “Young entrepreneurs and technologies that can help lower pollution and contribute positively to the environment are still not being adopted by South African industries. Even though laws exist and government invests billions of Rands into developing new technology for a modern world, these entrepreneurial businesses can’t succeed commercially because the market doesn’t take the importance of the environment seriously.”