GLOBAL CRISIS REPRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY: “The 2020 coronavirus pandemic may lead to a deeper understanding of the ties that bind us all on a global scale and could help us get to grips with the largest public health threat of the century, the climate crisis,” wrote Arthur Wyns, Climate Change & Health Advisor to World Health Organization
Note to Reader:
Based in Switzerland, Arthur Wyns provides scientific, editorial, and coordination support to the climate change and health team at the World Health Organization (WHO). He is a tropical biologist and science journalist.
Previously, Arthur Wyns was the program manager of Climate Tracker, a global network of over 8,000 climate journalists and communicators in 150 countries. The post below is extracted from an article that Arthur Wyns wrote for the World Economic Forum in April 2020.
Responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked
“We live in an age in which intersecting crises are being lifted to a global scale, with unseen levels of inequality, environmental degradation and climate destabilization, as well as new surges in populism, conflict, economic uncertainty, and mounting public health threats,” wrote Arthur Wyns.
“All are crises that are slowly tipping the balance, questioning our business-as-usual economic model of the past decades, and requiring us to rethink our next steps.
“The 2020 coronavirus pandemic may lead to a deeper understanding of the ties that bind us all on a global scale and could help us get to grips with the largest public health threat of the century, the climate crisis.”
Catalyst for Behaviour Change?
“The global health crisis we find ourselves in has forced us to dramatically change our behaviour in order to protect ourselves and those around us, to a degree most of us have never experienced before.
“This temporary shift of gears could lead to a long-term shift in old behaviours and assumptions, which could lead to a public drive for collective action and effective risk management. Even though climate change presents a slower, more long-term health threat, an equally dramatic and sustained shift in behaviour will be needed to prevent irreversible damage.”
Build on a Sense of Shared Humanity?
“When we eventually overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we can hopefully hold on to that sense of shared humanity in order to rebuild our social and economic systems to make them better, more resilient, and compassionate.”
To Learn More:
To read the complete opinion piece written by Arthur Wyns, download a PDF copy of How our responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked