Norman Plumage
3 min readMay 10, 2020

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When The Corona Dries Up

There’s probably a million and one articles on the author speculating what happens after the worst of the pandemic has come to pass. Some are rather hopeful and believe this is a wake up call to the issues within consumerism and the corporate capitalism we have created over the last several decades and now that we see them, we can attempt to rectify the issues. Others believe this is the beginning of the downfall of Western civilization.

Wherever your views fall, you’re probably right.

We are never EXACTLY right in our predictions, but rather, just wrong enough that our main speculation is proven false but just right enough that at least a couple of our ideas do manifest, even if in smaller more subtler ways. Not counting outliers of course, because there’s always exceptions to the rules.

That’s why rather than speculation, I wanted to take this time to reflect. The virus has given a “pause” from the usual daily grind, and in retreating indoors and socially distancing as much as possible, reflection on society and one’s relationship with it is now possible for many of us.

This opportunity is rare and I intend to use it, even though I can see the reluctance in calling this awful pandemic an opportunity.

I hope by sharing these short personal reflections, you feel invited to share yours as well.

I am not an economist by any stretch of the imagination and I will not share my opinion as if it has any weight on economic matters. However, I can choose to be more conscious of what I consume, where it comes from, and the costs and labor of its production. I can reevaluate my relationship and views on consumerism. I am not much of a consumerist, but there are items I enjoy or indulge in without much thought about them, and oddly enough, trying to limit when I go out to purchase items while at the same time wanting to support local businesses through this time really brings such thoughts to the forefront.

This also ties into my relationship with Capitalism and my personal thoughts on how a better overall relationship with it can be created, if continuous practice of mindful consumption is kept up, however this would become more of a societal speculation rather than self reflection.

During lock-downs, it seems all countries experienced brief moments of nature returning or pollutants being cleared from the air as if the city’s atmosphere was given a second chance. These are the stories that are honestly somewhat painful to hear. We get a chance to glimpse at the potential of lowering our carbon footprint and the business of just being human. A glimpse of what could be if we learned to adjust our economic and living practices to work with the environment rather than against it.

Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

In a somewhat poignant conversation with my father, a man who embodies almost all the worst stereotypes of the Baby-Boomer generation, he looked at me while listening to the morning Fox News report and said “I hope we remember some of these environmental benefits when things go back to normal. It’s nice hearing some of the damage we have done become undone a bit. Maybe they could put in place a week or two where non-essential businesses close and we can give our environment a break.”

There may have been a lot flaws with his idea, but it struck me that this pandemic has even got him reflecting on how we are living. It was a rather bittersweet moment as these conversations are rare and usually end up in disagreement, but he seemed to genuinely be trying to offer his thoughts in a concerned manner.

So I met him halfway and said…

“I hope we remember too.”

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