Our rāhui (lockdown) has provided a rich opportunity to stop, reflect and create. I recalled, during my musings, a beautiful and relevant quote from JRR Tolkien, immortalised by Sir Ian McKellen in his role as Gandalf: “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
“So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us."
-- JRR Tolkien ,The Fellowship of the Ring," Part One of "The Lord of the Rings." I hope Gandalf’s words will resonate with you. For me right now importance has to do with working to bring about the transition to a world where we protect and respect not just ourselves and others, but our natural world. Many people I respect and admire are spending time communicating their thoughts about our future. Novelist Arundhati Roy wrote: “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
. Closer to home, Tom Kay of Forest and Bird has this to say about the sobering report that's just been released on the state of New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and freshwater ecosystems. "By failing to protector water we have failed everything New Zealanders value." “For too long our environmental management systems and politicians have been captured by outdated ways of thinking about profit margins and costs, while forgetting the immeasurable losses we’re already facing in biodiversity, human health, and cultural well-being. New Zealand, and the planet, needs transformative economic recovery. We need to create a sustainable, ethical way of working and living that prospects our natural systems, and in doing so protects us. “
Authors like Arundhati, Tom and many others have inspired me to spend lockdown time coming out from under the rock that I hide under as an introvert, to communicate my hopes for the future. Some of this is in my COVID19 Journal on Instagram, and I've also shared most of those posts in an Excio collection called Corona Diary. Please act. Use your talents -- your #photographyforgood, your art, your music, your writing (here's a great example)-- to let MPs, ministers and local government leaders and your neighbours know what you're thinking and feeling and what you want to see happening during the COVID19 recovery to put us on the path to a low carbon economy and a more sustainable and equitable future.