By Catherine Arranza Samonte
This may sound insane, but what the world needs most right now is to stop for a while…to hit a pandemic pause, and allow the environment to take a break. As people all over the world take a collective pause, we can create a moment of solidarity that will allow us to reflect on our relationship with other people and with the planet.
Before the pandemic, we all used to wake up to the same routines, focused on work and school every day, engrossed in making money and ensuring personal success. Nobody really paid attention to the world beyond our primary concerns due to the fact that we were all caught up in our own affairs.
When the coronavirus pandemic started devastating rich and poor countries alike, our lives completely changed. Confined at home because of government-imposed lockdowns, we no longer had the freedom to go anywhere we please. The concept of “normal” that we used to know has been radically transformed.
Now, we are limited to the four walls of our houses. People are getting bored and are finding new ways to keep themselves preoccupied. Thankfully, the virtual universe of the online world is just there to be discovered. With these newfound discoveries come eye-opening realizations and new perceptions. Of course, this pause is essential in the efforts of the government to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Although this is a very difficult time for everyone, it has given us the opportunity to catch our breath and reflect. Being stuck indoors was not that bad at all because it taught many of us the importance of family, relatives and friends. It fortified our self-discipline and made us realize, given all the good things that we have, that we have so much to be grateful for in life.
Recent photos posted on social media showed the pandemic’s positive effect on our planet. We saw the beauty of the natural environment minus the smog, which is why we should start doing everything in our power to protect nature’s pristine beauty.
The pandemic put our lives on pause, but the Earth is evidently healing. The skies are getting clearer with less carbon emissions because of the absence of vehicular traffic; in some countries, animals are taking the streets and reclaiming land that was once theirs.
On the other hand, staying at home for a long time makes us spend more time online. Social media allowed us to connect with friends and exposed us to many issues and causes, which is like having front row access to the issues affecting communities. Thus, we became aware of the problems that people in different communities face during the pandemic.
Despite this being an exceptionally distressing situation worldwide, we are enlightened by the new ideas and thoughts from great thinkers that we encountered in the virtual world, which we would have never encountered if not for the lockdowns. These ideas teach us great things and made us realize the power we have to take action.
We should not go back to our old ways, our indifferent attitude toward others. Instead, we should remember all the lessons we have learned throughout this journey during the pandemic, and use the lessons learned and our newfound knowledge for the betterment of society.
The pandemic has given the world a chance to slow down, to allow people to realize that they can blaze a new trail and push the restart button for the common good. Isn’t that part of the unattainable dream people had just a few months ago? This opportunity that has been presented to us is a rare one, which is why we should not let it go to waste. And, contrary to what some people believe, this is not the end—it is a new beginning. This is the chance we have been waiting for to help change our world for the better. All we need to do is to embrace the chance and say, “We got this.”
Catherine Arranza Samonte is an incoming Grade 11 student at De la Salle Zobel School.