A new virus called solidarity 2.0.

Solidarity Covid-19 by Pixabay

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At this difficult time both in our European society and on the global stage, President Ignace Schops reminds us of the principles that also went into the creation of EUROPARC. We may be physically “isolated” right now, but remain “metaphysically” united without “borders”. Stay calm. Stay safe. Stay healthy everyone, till we can meet again!

This week, the coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan in China a few months ago, the world looks and behaves differently. In order to suppress and control the virus, politicians are making decisions based on scientific advice and the efforts are unprecedented. Besides the deadly victims we try to prevent, the society – we – understand the situation and we acknowledge the fact that we need to adapt our behavior for the time being.

In times of life-threatening crisis, the world leaders request us to transform to solidarity-modus and responsible citizen sense. Is it? How cooperative are we really?

The rapid loss of natural ecosystems will cause more deaths than the coronavirus. The dangerous effects of climate change, like heat waves, hurricanes, flooding’s, etc. will cause more deaths.

Even if we are aware and even if we have 99.9% of scientific evidence that if we ignore or fail to take urgent transformative changes, the global society will collapse.

What are the reasons for this bizarre human behavior? How come we take immediate action to limit the spread of the coronavirus and keep on kicking the can down the road when it comes to the loss of our natural ecosystems and climate change? Well, it is the threat of the direct impact of the coronavirus versus the indirect life-threatening impact of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The latter are silent assassins: silent, odorless and invisible. But make no mistake. The symptoms are similar to how a virus behaves: quickly and with serious consequences.

Solidarity was for many decades the magic model that made the world community prosper.

Our health care sector, education sector, are based on the solidarity-system we jointly build. Where a small or minor share or investment of the majority, supports the affected part of the minority. And yet, the belief of the strength of this model is shrinking rapidly.

It’s time to reconsider and reinforce the Solidarity model because it proved its success, even in times of depression and huge struggles. Name it “Solidarity 2.0.” if you wish. A model where we strife to have equal comfort for all.

Quality of life for all, within the limits of our planetary boundaries, and socially just.

Maybe “Solidarity 2.0.” is the way forward and can quickly spread as a new virus. A virus that makes us healthy again!

Ignace Schops, President of the EUROPARC Federation, March 2020.

Ignace Schops © Don MacMonagle