The corona virus: A lot is already being written about it and you may wonder what the topic is doing in a blog about Tiny Houses. After reading this article by trend watcher Lidewei Edelkoort you may see the connection, just like I did. It is about the consequences of the corona virus outbreak that offers opportunities for an accelerated transition to a society that is in balance with the natural world. And that is very much in line with the Tiny House philosophy
Corona means crown or circle of light. A total solar or lunar eclipse creates a corona around the sun or moon. A circle of dazzling light around a core of darkness. I experienced this phenomenon during the total solar eclipse in 2017, a magical experience that I will never forget. It gave me the realization of how small, insignificant and ignorant we humans really are in this timeless universe full of mystique and wonders. And how incredibly beautiful and special it all is. A corona is a circle, a cycle. Could the corona virus perhaps be the catalyst that takes our society to the next level, teaches us to live within the limits of our planet? Bringing us together and closing the circle so that no one, be it the human animal, plant or other organism, is left out or disadvantaged anymore. Lidewij thinks so and I hope with all my heart she is right.
A few notable passages from her article:
“It seems we are massively entering a quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful.”
“Not many people understand what is happening to our world and economy right now. Often in companies, up to 90 per cent of all goods are made in China from oil-derived substances such as plastic and polyester. We will soon see shelves empty of shoes, phones, clothes and even toothpaste. We will have a shortage of medical supplies and will see a stop in the endless production of ugly souvenirs and useless goody bags.”
“We will be in a position of having a blank page for a new beginning because lots of companies and money will be wiped out in the process of slowing down. Redirecting and restarting will require a lot of insight and audacity to build a new economy with other values and ways of handling production, transport, distribution and retail.”
“Local industries and activities would gain momentum and people-based initiatives will take over with bartering systems and open tables, farmers markets and street events, dance and singing contests and a very dominant DIY aesthetic. My future forecast for the Age of the Amateur seems to come much faster than I anticipated.”
Street party, anyone? I say, bring it on. Before you misunderstand me, I’m not happy with the arrival of the corona virus. I am worried, probably just like you, about elderly and sick relatives and friends who are at increased risk and the thought of all the suffering this virus causes makes me very sad. But this virus also offers humanity an opportunity to open the eyes. It already shows how quickly we can adapt our behaviour to a situation. How quickly governments can take action to bring about immediate changes in our behaviour, if given top priority. Think of traveling less, working at home, consuming less, supporting the local economy by choosing locally produced goods again.
I hope the corona virus outbreak helps us understand that we don’t need nearly as much as we have become used to thinking we need. That we are forced to take the measures that are necessary to make the transition in a short time that we should have made decades ago, when we had “a bit” more time for it.
Lidewij’s vision of the future makes my heart sing: “the Age of Amateurs”. With a wealth of local artisan products of real value. With an eye and appreciation for people and their unique talents and space to develop them at a pace that suits them. With a stop of the production of unnecessary stuff of poor quality and the associated harmful production processes and use of harmful materials. A shift in focus: from infinite economic growth and the exhaustion that this policy causes in people and the planet, to attention and appreciation for quality and creativity. A better distribution of the wealth and respect for nature. Think about the enormous impact that the reduction of transport will have, of all the goods we now get from far away? If we start producing locally what we really need and apply the discipline to curb the greed in ourselves? Think of the gains in the field of energy saving and environmental pollution, which is enormous.
You can think about Lidewij’s article what you want. You may think it’s idealistic bullshit and wishful thinking. Time will tell. I think in the Netherlands we are terribly underestimating the situation and consequences of this pandemic . In my view, this article gives a realistic picture of what to expect. I recommend that you read it as it contains well-substantiated information as far as I can judge. More so, my gut feeling says that this gives a more realistic picture than the picture that is now sketched by, among others, RIVM. And my gut feeling is often very correct.
Somethings gotta give. Apparently we must be forced to make the changes that are needed. It was only a matter of time until mother Earth would say: enough is enough children, I have asked you ten times to clean up your mess, now I’ll take your things away from you. Who doesn’t want to listen, has to feel the consequences. I like to see this pandemic as an opportunity to finally do what it takes to move into a way of life that honours nature and mankind as part of nature.