The lockdown has and will be a very special time in our lives, a time like no other. Forced to spend time at home, we have seen heroic social media posts on cooking valour, our expansive generosity- no other species can be capable of.
Our scarlet sunsets have not escaped us, as we wake up to the sing-song of bird calls in our tired neighbourhoods. These idyllic scenes have happened only since the lockdown was announced a month ago.
Not too long considering, we have had over 30 years of unfettered growth in humans, cars, and pollution, not necessarily in that order.
Give the earth just 30 days, reap the rewards of 30 years of abuse and pollution, assuming the clock started in 1991. Doesn’t sound equitable at all and yet the math stares at us, right in the eye.
Nature has its disaster recovery protocol down, we, on the other hand, are scrambling to devise one. I don’t care what the climate scientists declare and pontificate, with a little discipline and reverence we can reverse the clock to at least 30 years ago.
The rise in sea levels may be irreversible, way past redemption, but the baby steps of improvement we see around us are heartening.
We are all thinking about the imminent end of lockdown. We all know that it will need to be gradual, well thought out and deliberate. While the current focus is and should be healthcare, we need the powers that be to look at transportation- or rather the lack of it and by that, I mean a benevolent curb on vehicular traffic.
There are a few rules we can carry over, past lockdown, to limit the number of cars on the road. While state governments have tried the even-odd schemes to achieve varying success, we need to exact a heavier price for the luxury of driving a car.
The need to pay for every time we step out of our parking garages needs to be implemented. That price can be arrived at by rolling up the price of wear and tear of our roads, the noxious carbon monoxide emissions, the social costs of road rage.
Imagine what the revenue would mean to our state coffers. We have seen the effectiveness of our “can do” police forces during the lockdown. To them go the success of flattening the curve.
For the first time in our lifetime, we have had a taste of the benefits of discipline. What good is it, if we forget those lessons post lockdown.
(The author has over 20 years of experience in leading marketing initiatives in the IT sector. She is based in Mumbai)