An article by Joyce Brand
When I came to think about the topic ‘life in a time of lockdown’ I came close to simply bemoaning the closing down of our way of life, the threat of predicted financial disaster, the identification of the wretched fraud that has been perpetrated on frightened people and the abysmal performance of our politicians. To have gone down this route would have been to miss the opportunity to consider possible positive outcomes from this tragedy.
Isolation, which is what lockdown is for most of us, has provided respite from the treadmill that many of our lives has become, has given us a one-off opportunity to do some critical thinking, to question the status quo, to listen to the wisdom of those voices crying out for an ending to our destruction of the natural world. During the time in which we are no longer able to indulge in overseas holidays, trips to shopping malls, race meetings and all the other money consuming activities that tempt us; perhaps we can be enabled to see the madness into which we have been sucked.
We have created a way of life that depends upon spend, spend and more spend; a way of living which has produced sweat shops to feed our artificial need for fashion, factories consigning animals to a life of misery and the erosion of much of family life – two wages are necessary to sustain this never ending spending binge.
My time, spent mostly in my own company, has brought about a sea change in my thinking: we have a real opportunity to return to a world which is not solely predicated on money – on how to make it, on how to spend it. It surely cannot be right that the mantra of ‘growing the size of our economy’ is the politicians’ watchword for our future.
This time of pandemic and lockdown offers us space to rethink and to reclaim the world which we have been relentlessly destroying. We could offer to the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been cut short, to the families whose elderly relatives have died in isolation, to the small businesses that are being trashed, a promise that their sacrifices will not be just forgotten but that we will start to repair the damage we have done and work towards creating a worthwhile future for our and their children and grandchildren.
Fine words are fine words but I ask what can I do? In a modest way hence, I shall no longer support the political party I have supported for more than seventy years and will vote for and put effort into the Green Party. I shall abandon the collection of more and yet more stuff. I will use my spare cash to support the campaigners who are fighting big businesses whose activities are playing a major part in the destruction of our wonderful world and I will remember to marvel at and enjoy our own beautiful Shropshire.