Has the pandemic helped individuals and leaders get any closer to tackling the environmental crisis?
“I was so worried about the dangers of going too far,” says Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, when she now thinks about her pre-pandemic leadership on the environment. The leader of Australia’s second most populated city believes Covid-19 has helped her clarify what’s important to her as an individual and as mayor. “I have become much more resolute about my values, prioritising humanity and protecting the environment, so they can play a larger role in driving my agenda.”
The pandemic has created the most significant economic shock since the Great Depression, besides being a public health crisis like no other in living memory. The existential threat that it has posed has set many individuals, cities and national leaders on a new track. In Capp’s case, it has meant taking very different decisions on the environment, leading in a way that focuses on what’s truly important. Capp believes this trend needs to continue post Covid-19.
There is indeed a large movement to “build back better” from the pandemic in a way that confronts the climate crisis. Attitudes are changing. But however good our intentions as individuals, it will take determined moves by industry, national and local government to modify the environment so that we can all build on any attitude changes. Has the pandemic helped us make the changes needed to tackle the environmental crisis?