When the Corona Virus first appeared in Wuhan it attracted little attention. Then a few people died. Suddenly Covid-19 became news. As more people died fear spread beneath the blanket of the virus. People ran away back to their homelands. And the virus travelled with them.
Governments caught the fear. They told people that to keep safe they must stay at home. The direction stay at home was clear and easy to follow, the fear of death impelled people to follow the advice – it drove the people into lockdown.
The important lesson here is that when people can see a clear, positive benefit in a behaviour and when their emotions are strongly aroused they are motivated to take action. Clear, positive direction energised by strong feelings creates desired results.
Now, as the threat of the virus diminishes and people emerge into a changed world we have a great opportunity to use this understanding of how to motivate human behaviour.
The Benefits of Lockdown
First let’s look at the benefits that we all derived from lockdown.
The world was much quieter, I could hear the birds singing. The air was cleaner and did not smell of car fumes, breathing became a pleasure. The sky was clearer, I could see the stars and there was no noise from planes passing overhead. The pace of life was less frenetic, less stressful. There were no traffic jams or people jams. People generally behaved in a more considerate way towards one-another. I suspect that my life was carbon positive during lockdown.
Meanwhile 750,000 volunteered to help the NHS – many nurses courageously came out of retirement to do battle with the enemy – enquiries about the nursing profession rose by 25 percent – and Captain Tom accidentally raised over £32 million for the NHS by circumnavigating his garden. Suddenly health was top of everyone’s agenda.
Yes, of course there were lots of disadvantages to lockdown particularly for young people, those with lower incomes and those in care homes, but this is about how to capitalise on the positives.
What is The Positive Message from The Virus?
I started to wonder what kind of positive message would allow this brief moment of respite for our planet to become the new normal? I asked myself, “how do I need to behave in order to continue to live a carbon neutral life?”
Of course there are many protest groups bombarding governments with messages about what needs to change. But protesting has a built in disadvantage in that any form of attack automatically creates resistance. When governments and organisations are attacked for their behaviour they immediately resist. As a result very little changes.
The messages of protesters fly straight over the heads of those jetting off to enjoy their sunshine holidays. They bypass business people stuck in jams on overcrowded motorways. They can be put off until tomorrow by those enjoying fashionable garments made in third world sweatshops. People enjoying today are not concerned about the possible consequences tomorrow. They are living their lives now.
But when hedonistic lifestyles are forced to change because something like Covid-19 happens suddenly concern for what is transmitting through the environment has some meaning. Suddenly making the environment cleaner, less of a breeding ground for disease matters. The virus that is killing my relatives and neighbours today carries a fear-filled message from the environment, “You didn’t love me, so this is my retribution.”
The Spirit That is Born From Adversity
I believe that people want to help. They want to do the right thing. But they don’t want to give up their sunshine holidays, their convenient motor cars, their fast food joints because they cannot see an easier, more convenient, more enjoyable way of living.
If we are to capitalise on this moment of change to create something good and sustainable a message is needed that has a positive benefit and which arouses sufficiently strong emotions to make people act.
I don’t believe that a sudden revolution will happen, but I do believe that a new way of living can be gradually introduced and grown so new habits are instilled in people in ways that will help us to preserve and eventually repair our planet.
I believe that is possible to trade on memories of the effects of Covid-19 in a way that will encourage increasingly large groups of people to live in ways that will Nurture Nature rather than to constantly damage our environment.
The Desire to Support
A key question is, “why have so many people come forward to offer to help the NHS and other health services around the world?”
I interpret this outpouring of concern as a genuine response to a deep desire to support efforts to maintain good health within the human tribe. These are not people who are protesting against anything, these are people who genuinely want to help the human race to survive and prosper. They come forward to offer to help out of love and concern for the plight of their fellow man.
The way I see it, the time is ripe to capitalise on the desire to look after not only my own health but also the health of others.
What I want to do in this article is plant a seed and ask you, the reader to then water and fertilise this seed until it grows into a mighty oak.
I believe that in order to enlist the support of everyone we need a message that is personal to everyone, that has a benefit for everyone and which allows everyone to take action, to do something towards achieving a common and inspiring goal. What I want people to do is to show their love for Mother Earth.
The Big Idea
The idea I now present to you is that each of us should today start living in a sustainable way. The role of this crusade is to keep people constantly thinking, “What can I do right now to Nurture Nature?”
No-one has to buy anything or pay anything to join the Crusade to Nurture Nature. We are not asking anyone to go on a protest march or to campaign by passive resistance. All we ask is that you make an effort every day to do something that Nurtures Nature.
We will hold workshops where we generate ideas that will be help governments and businesses to behave in ways that Nurture Nature.
The message is in the mantra: “I Love Planet Earth, I Want to Nurture Nature.”
To that end you are encouraged to think in terms of, “I stay in my country, I stay near my home, my family, my loved ones to show my love for my planet. I have noticed how much healthier the world is and I am when it is not being polluted every day. I want it continue to enjoy good health. I want to breathe clean air. I want to show my love by working to keep my planet healthy. I want to enlist the help of all the loveable wild animals like pandas, elephants and orangutang to show how much we all appreciate a healthy environment. I want to enjoy bathing in clean sea. I want to continue to be able to see the stars in the night sky. I will seek to live in a sustainable way to Nurture Nature. And I will look for means by which governments and businesses can take action to create a climate fit for me and all the creatures and flora on this earth.”
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