A time for hope

 

Sir, – Our initial acceptance of lockdown has been transcended by a fear for our individual and collective futures. The young feel abandoned. The old feel trapped, fearful of a health service at breaking point even before Covid-19.

But Covid-19 has given us an opportunity, as strange as that sounds. It has taught us that we are capable of enormous societal change when faced with a crisis. We continuously evolve and adapt. We will not open up as we shut down, abruptly and without warning. It will be gradual. Why not take this opportunity to be brave and ambitious, to look beyond the here and now. We face an existential crisis in climate change and associated problems. Let’s use this time to plan for a new future. Let’s engage our young people. A national “think-in” to generate ideas to help us move forward could be a first step.

A Covid vaccine does little to protect us against the next global viral pandemic. If we continue our toxic version of consumerism, the next pandemic will inevitably come. We now have a seat on the UN Security Council. Everything must begin with the promotion and preservation of human rights.

Wouldn’t it be incredible to tell our grandchildren how Ireland helped to pioneer a brighter future. Despite the pandemic, we prioritised universal healthcare. We promoted and funded education. We innovated our energy production. We evolved our food industry methods. We promoted local businesses over pandering to large multinationals. Through co-operation of citizens and government support, this can all be achieved.

Human endeavour has brought us to the moon and back. It has eradicated diseases. Our challenge is to recognise our collective humanity, to build a world where everyone is given a chance to thrive. In darkness we must shine our light for those who are lost. Instead of falling apart as a society, we can unite for a future that is ours to imagine. – Yours, etc,

Dr ANN-MARIE HAYES,

Cork.