Studying From A Pandemic To Resolve A Local weather Disaster
What can a pandemic teach us about the climate crisis?
Would you believe the pandemic can save the world from climate change? No seriously! There have been many good things that have emerged from the pandemic, and tackling a climate crisis can be the most beneficial indirect outcome.
However, the benefits can only be realized if business leaders, government leaders and society at large learn from the positive elements of the pandemic. The key word is “learn”. This requires those responsible for learning (aka learning practitioners like you) to play the crucial role in helping them discover and apply this newfound knowledge.
It’s safe to say that we have had a few unusual and unprecedented years together (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future). I have said repeatedly that when our species faces major tragedy or change, we always come out stronger and better. If not, we would already be extinct.
This pandemic is no different from any other catastrophic event our species has faced. Yes, we all wish it hadn’t happened, but it did. Now, hopefully, the global human collective will shake off the shackles of past complacency and become more innovative and motivated. Learning from this event is key because it is likely to happen again. The question is: will we actually apply what we have learned? Let’s hope so, otherwise we will surely be extinct on the next run.
Here’s the thing: the pandemic will pass. Taken together, we’re really good at taking action when it comes to things that happen quickly and suddenly. It is the slower disasters that we tend to postpone, like avoidance and the wrong approach to climate change. Then it came to me; This is where the pandemic and the climate crisis intersect. If we’re smart, we’ll apply what we learned during the pandemic and use it to help tackle the climate crisis.
As? Among other things, the pandemic has torn us from our social autopilot slumber. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the pre-pandemic normal that everyone desperately desires was not a good normal. We didn’t realize how bad it was just because society gradually developed into it over decades. Many of the things we did and still hold onto were meant to be for a different time and circumstance. For example, the 9-to-5 work week or commuting to work in a certain location. The pandemic is forcing us to rethink how we function in a society that, if permanently changed, could allay our concerns about climate change.
No more cities
Of course, saying “cities no more” is provocative, but here’s the thing we need to seriously ask ourselves: why do we have these big hubs (cities) to gather and work? The pandemic has made it very clear that cities are irrelevant mainly because of remote working (see next point).
This begs the question, coupled with deep critical thinking and objectivity: Why do we need cities at all? Before modern cities, societies worked remotely and mostly for themselves (and often for the state). I don’t mean going back to a terrible past, but the concept of modern cities is to bring people together to work in production environments, which leads to tangible results. And then we rush from the cities to our suburban homes (some live in cities, but it’s getting fewer and fewer). Meeting in an ordinary place only makes sense for an industrial age economy, but it doesn’t make sense when moving towards a fully functional, low-impact, knowledge-based, and technology-enabled economy.
The challenge is that with hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in infrastructure investments and tax revenues, governments and corporations have a vested interest in keeping cities running. The problem is that these infrastructure investments were planned when climate change was not an issue. Today, cities are making a significant contribution to climate change. And these self-interests inhibit proposed solutions either out of self-preservation or out of lack of courage to make substantial changes. Major changes require a fresh start.
We probably won’t see massive changes, but keep the following in mind: There will be subtle changes over time. The pandemic has changed the way we work, and if there are real strategic changes, the positive effects on the climate could be significant. But our society needs to take immediate steps to rethink the future purpose of cities because right now it’s a climate issue and the pandemic shows we don’t need it.
Remote work and carbon footprint
After almost two years, most western societies have switched to remote working. If you are a knowledge and / or employee, you have spent a lot of time working from home. During this time we have adjusted to a productive, decentralized workflow.
Granted, not everyone had the luxury of working from home, such as front-line workers, but most of us did. And for the most part, most of us liked it. Think about what you didn’t have to do, e.g. B. commuting by car, commuting by public transport, buying clothes, buying personal and beauty care products and much more.
Working remotely has probably not only saved you a ton of money, but also significantly reduced your carbon footprint. Now you can say, “But I’m only one person! How much influence can I have?” Granted, you alone are insignificant, but consider that hundreds of millions of people are doing the same thing. It adds up quickly.
Remote working is fundamental to rethink how we work, where we work, and what we are working on. It contributes to a more balanced working life. According to FlexJobs’ 2019 Annual Survey, 78% of people said they could be healthier by having a flexible workplace, and 86% said they would be less stressed (see: Working remotely: It’s good for the environment, the body and the business, CPA Canada).
As a result of changes in work habits sparked by a pandemic, global greenhouse gas emissions appear to have decreased by about 2.4 billion tons in 2020, a 7% decrease from 2019 and the largest decrease since records began (according to research by the University of East Anglia , the University of Exeter and the Global Carbon Project).
In addition, Global Workplace Analytics reports that continued part-time remote working can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 51 million tons annually. The pandemic has forced us to reduce energy consumption in the office, business travel and paper consumption, which will also lead to a reduction in production emissions. There was also a slump while idling, which led to a temporary decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
What can you do?
Your role as a learning practitioner is becoming more and more relevant. You are the knowledge gatekeeper and need to use your role to equip your company with the skills to adapt to a new, unpredictable and ever-evolving reality.
Your responsibilities are twofold. First, proactively support your stakeholders in their need to learn what they need to do to not only adapt to post-pandemic reality, but also to promote an environmentally conscious corporate image. You may not show it, but your stakeholders desperately need relevant learning that will help meet employee needs and mitigate uncontrollable problems in an uncertain environment. They are under pressure to ensure organizational success while handling the uncertainty of a pandemic and meeting environmental expectations.
Your second role is to proactively support the needs of employee development in a new remote working context. This means helping to maintain levels of performance and productivity in times of uncertainty by providing timely, relevant and well-integrated learning resources. This is not the old school that employees and stakeholders have put up with in the past. That is long gone. And if you still do, you’ll be gone for a long time. You need to innovate by developing dynamic and adaptive blended learning offerings.
This is really your time to step up and shine. You have the expertise. It’s time to take advantage of the technology, tools, and creativity. This will help your business thrive in turbulent times and also shows that your contribution to a new future will make the world a better and healthier place.
Please share your thoughts and feedback with us. We look forward to hearing from your efforts. And who knows, maybe it will be the topic of our next article in the eLearning industry. Also, check out our LinkedIn Learning courses to learn more about how to build your business credibility for your learning endeavors. Please share your thoughts and remember #alwaysbeearning!