“NEW NORMAL” – What’s that like?

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have witnessed a big shift in attitude, our economy, and our public routine. Social distancing regulations and this forced break, compromised our buying ability that made many of us re-examine our consumer priorities, as well as allowing space for influential leaders and companies to focus on the more pressing global and climate issues at stake. All of these nuanced changes will ultimately shape-shift our culture and carve a new normal for our lives in the way we relate to businesses, sustainability, and lifestyle. 

During this unprecedented time, more companies are connecting with their employees and colleagues via online platforms that have spawned positive effects with regards to companies trusting their employee base to reach targets, create output, and work effectively from the comfort of their homes. This of course has had a favourable effect on mental health as people find more freedom in their routines, family, and motivation without the daily efforts of regular work-life (which we know has wonderful benefits for everyone). Hospitality and retail have taken a massive hit from the adverse effects of the Coronavirus. However, this creates more space and opportunity for more mindful companies to come into play that practise a sustainable and ethical approach. 

New normal life

Working remotely may just become part of the ‘new norm’ and as a result, the digital realm could become an even bigger and better free market providing more choices, new and innovative business models, blossoming key people, and more accessibility. The eighth sustainable goal (SDG#8: decent work and economic growth) could show its head when the extension of the online market alongside more infrastructure in sustainable material (refer to my previous blog) could put us on track for new methods of income whilst also welcoming a fresh face of business. 

We have already seen a huge increase in the engagement of zoom, YouTube, streaming sites, Instagram, website creation, podcasting, TikTok, eCommerce, gaming platforms, delivery services, and more. These have created new spaces for learning, fitness, app-use, home-schooling, and promotion thus providing more remote job opportunities for anyone who wants it. A good example is how ‘online fitness has boomed during lockdown with cult yoga teacher Adrienne getting 7.57m subscribers for her YouTube videos’, “seeing a jump across all platforms”, and she is not the only one. Let’s face it, we’re living in a world where the number of followers/streams will equal cash in the bank. 

For current apps, online services, and websites to stay in the game, they’re going to have to step it up quickly with better branding and better content if they’re going to compete with the new businesses on the horizon. It raises the question: is the future going to call for schools to teach more high-edge tech, coding, and algorithm promotion? After all, this is the future of business. 

Subsequently, we could experience a fairer market place, giving more equal earning power to more people which supplements to the tenth goal – SDG#10: reduced inequalities. Complementing this is how more emphasis will be put on shopping-local as shipping accounts for about 3 per cent of global emissions, as stated in eco-business, this will incentivise more skills and more economic growth.

With more companies operating remotely, the demand for commuting, excess rubbish, and resources is a lot less which has profound implications for sustainability. There are already big lifestyle changes we can see, such as an increase in cycling, walking, and working from home, as people avoid public transport, and high-volume public places. In the coming years, we are going to see these new ways of living accommodated by new infrastructure and regulations that aim to create a greener future including bigger cycling paths and investments in renewable energy coinciding with SDG#11: sustainable cities and communities which we hope to experience. 

When we step off the hamster wheel, our consumption of non-essential products decreases which puts less strain on the demand for unsustainable products. As incomes have declined, ‘consumers are spending on essentials and not discretionary categories, with some exceptions in South Korea and China’. Responsible consumption is actually quite minimalist, which makes us realise the motivations behind everything else we buy. This is the chance for powerful companies to detach their economic growth from the compulsions leading up to the pandemic. 

New normal sustainable living

Could COVID-19 have made us re-evaluate our buyer needs and financial priorities more seriously? If so, this heading towards our twelfth sustainable goal (SDG#12: responsible consumption and production), ta-da!

Having said of all of this, we have to take into account that developing nations are experiencing a much more detrimental set of circumstances. There are going to be difficult adjustment challenges that will come as a result of the lifestyle changes. Covid-19 is the biggest disaster for developing nations in our lifetime. If ever there was a time for concerned citizens and political leaders in both developing and richer countries to come together, it’s now. While we can feel all happy and hopeful for the UK’s change, we have to remain conscious and compassionate to our suffering friends across the globe by being vigilant for funds, and staying tuned to world leaders displaying solidarity and active-aid.

When we look at any progress or issue on a bigger, (or in this case) global level, we have to always hold ourselves accountable for our individual growth. For there to be a positive shift in our future we have to reflect, re-prioritise and stay convictive to our values to create our own new normal. We hope that our upcoming app (WCYDo – What Can You Do?)’ will be a great and easy tool for helping you to do your part.

Who knows what the future will hold? How have your spending habits changed? How do you predict the future will look for the next generations? I would love to know how your life has changed up, comment to us on Facebook, and let us know.

References:

https://medium.com/steveglaveski/covid19-winners-losers-and-new-business-opportunities-38a60badf579

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/coronavirus-covid19-consumers-shopping-goods-economics-industry

https://www.cnet.com/news/coronavirus-has-made-peak-internet-usage-into-the-new-normal/ 

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-global-view-of-how-consumer-behavior-is-changing-amid-covid-19 

https://www.eco-business.com/news/how-to-build-back-better-8-ways-sustainable-businesses-can-survive-in-the-post-covid-era/ 

Take care, keep well!

Blog: Eliza Pitkin
July 2020

Do you agree?  Tell us what you think – email: tellus@whatcanyoudo.earth

“tellus” is a Latin word meaning “Earth” e.g. Tellus Mater the ancient Roman Earth Mother Goddess

A Cleaner World – “That’s just business”

For the first time in a long time, I feel very positive about our future.  Over the past years, we’ve witness floods, fires and increasingly alarming numbers regarding global warming.  It’s often felt that we’re all passengers aboard a fast train heading towards earthy despair.  But then Covid-19 happened and alas a global lockdown actually ensued – I still can’t quite believe it! 

It seems the train came to a sudden halt and finally our Earth, our Governments, the companies and ourselves were given a chance to gasp for a breath of (much-needed) air.  What we saw was the quick regeneration of our fruitful Earth back to a powerful equilibrium that was achieved whilst we were all shut up.  The world experienced clearer skies, friendlier sea life at our shores, wild animals reclaiming land and, ultimately, global warming slowing down – see my earlier Blog:

We cannot always control what life may bring, but how we respond to it will shape everything

So now, how do we maintain this sense of harmony?  Surely, we’re not going to continue to strip mother nature of her resources even though we know a potentially daunting economic collapse lies ahead.  

But perhaps this break from “reality” was a blessing in disguise.  It is in fact, the best opportunity to make changes.  And it’s not just me thinking this.  It has made Governments, Chief Executives and Green Organisations commit to a better, greener World.  After all, when something’s broken, it presents the opportunity to build it back better!

I’m happy to say it seems the hunger for a cleaner, greener return is larger than the hunger for more.  Governments across the World, including the UK, are currently organising their ‘get out of lockdown plans’ for a smooth and fast economic recovery.  They are calling it, ‘the post Covid-19 economic stimulus package’.  

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated, “We owe it to our future generations to build back better”.  This sentiment is hopeful, resourceful and is finally an active response to the underlying existential fear that we’re experiencing, and the generations to follow.  200 Chief Executives of companies (including Asda, Heathrow Airport, Mitsubishi, Sky, Siemens, National Grid, HSBC) have signed up to focus on sectors that favour the environment post-COVID.  Greenpeace and these Chief Executives are don’t usually see ‘eye-to-eye’ but now, these powerful forces are pulling together on the fundamental changes that need to be made.  

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? “Polarities and Powers” coming together when it matters most.  Greenpeace has outlined a manifesto stating strong and, in some cases, controversial plans for the future.  The manifesto called for the net-zero emissions goal, that was for 2050 to be delivered before 2045.

I like this sense of urgency!

Greenpeace has also proposed to radically redesign the road network to prioritise cycling & walking and to ‘expand, electrify and increase the affordability of public transport’.  Including the aim to speed up the transition to electric vehicles.  There are discussions of petrol and diesel vehicles to be banned by …(drumroll please)… 2030! 

This ‘break’ from the rat-race, albeit at times stressful and unsettling, means we can now walk (or cycle) out of this towards transformed economies and new business opportunities that await us.  A decade ago, 40% of the country’s electricity was powered by coal, during the lockdown 30% of power was generated from renewables, surprising many experts who thought it couldn’t be done!  

The European Commission has taken this mission seriously and is planning a whopping Euro €750 billion investment to tackle the economic downturn with a greener plan, with countless job opportunities on the other side.  Clean energy calls for three times more jobs than investments into fossil fuel infrastructure.  As well as getting the UK on a path towards a zero-waste economy, where EVERYTHING can be reused (hoping by 2025 we should have halved the production of single-use plastics), this will ultimately be supporting innovations and jobs from private investment including sectors of ‘efficient product design and sustainable waste infrastructure’.

The simple logic is the more you produce, the cheaper it gets, and the good thing about sustainable energy is that there’s not a finite amount of resource.  This encourages a move towards low carbon technology.   Higher employment opportunities, more investment in the right projects and, as renewable energy becoming cheaper to produce, the businesses will follow.  

When this way of life becomes more sustainable, not just for the planet, but for companies, it will become ‘business as usual’.  Globally, Governments are planning a considerable scale-up of solar and wind investment to make it more affordable.  Whilst discussing a tax on oversea products depending on their carbon footprint making it costly to not be conscious.  

Buckle up business folk, it’s better to make friends with the Planet!

I predict that the demand for travel, consumer products and therefore more useless production will remain low after COVID-19.  With more businesses now trusting employees to work from home and shut down their places of work, it could have a positive effect on a restructuring of the global “hamster-wheel” as we’ve known it!  It could be that more people become freelance, companies will expand their online presence and with more people staying home, the digital ‘realm’ will increase, decreasing the strain on external resources.  

Of course, a lot of businesses have gone bust since COVID-19, so as these empty premises begin to fill, I trust there will be zero tolerance for new companies who are not green-conscious about business.  This means looking to places that are zero-waste, ethical, sustainable and dare I say, more vegan – see my earlier Blog:

VEGANISM: The Next Stage in Human (R)evolution?

It’s up to us as business owners, future employees, consumers, users, travellers, and above all, a community, to do our part in facilitating the new world growth.  We have a very exciting future ahead, let’s change our current behaviour to become even more responsible, more respectful, and more aware.  

If you feel passionate about this change, the best thing you can do in this moment is share this blog with your friends.  

Let’s spread this awareness by supporting the call for change!

Take care, keep well!

Blog: Eliza Pitkin
June 2020

Do you agree?  Tell us what you think – email: tellus@whatcanyoudo.earth

“tellus” is a Latin word meaning “Earth” e.g. Tellus Mater the ancient Roman Earth Mother Goddess

I wrote a poem at the beginning of lockdown, with hopes for a more positive change, please enjoy! 

More of my poems on Instagram – @elizapitkin.

References: