I am sorry it had to come to this. Many of you are suffering during this global health crisis. Some of you will die. However, things had gotten a little out of hand. Please trust me: this was an absolute last resort.
While I have been impressed with your individual and collective intelligence and evident ambition, you all seem to have forgotten what really matters. In your races to advance, acquire, own, control, and indulge you have lost touch with some of the basics.
I have been sounding a range of alarms to alert you of the consequences of your habits. You and your leaders do not take my warnings seriously.
Climate crises including rising sea levels, unprecedented heat waves, and other major weather events are your new now if you do not change your ways. Skyrocketing rates of depression, suicide, and escape addictions will continue to advance around the world if you don’t reset your priorities and spend more quality, connected time together. Entire societies will continue to be forced to relocate in the biggest wave of climate migration in history if you don’t pay attention to the global impact of your local habits. The list goes on.
The children have heard me, consciously or not. They have been crying out for connection and awareness with everything from gun violence at schools to global climate awareness advocacy. They need you, I need you, to wake the fuck up.
So, it has come to this. While coming weeks and months are sure to be wrought with social, economic, and a broad spectrum of personal and cultural inconvenience and suffering, I assure you, life will not go on as usual once this wave has passed. In this time of disruption and pause, for those of you merely inconvenienced, I invite you to consider making some changes:
Try to travel less. You don’t all need to move around so much. All of this air, automobile, and other fossil fuel-burning travel is killing me. It should not take a global epidemic to slow these rates down. It has only been a few weeks, but I’m already seeing improvement.
Spend more quality time with your loved ones. Texts, emails, social media, and passing need-based communications are not connection. While technology is incredibly helpful during this period of social distancing (including for your schools), it is equally important to endeavor over time to reconnect with your close family and loved ones. As we ease out of this, try to spend time together, in person, ideally at home or within your community. Prepare meals together. Play games together. Make things together. Listen to and love each other. It is my hope that in this time of challenge many of you will reacquaint yourselves with your core values and better equip the next generation to be one of integrity, delight, kindness, health, and service.
Engage with your local community. Get to know your neighbors, the people who deliver your mail, the people who own or operate local businesses near where you live, and the people who make your community what it is. Shop locally. Appreciate and find ways to support parks, schools, medical centers, and other community-based organizations.
Spend more time outside in solitude or in small groups. Take a walk, a run, or go on a bike ride. Explore parks, landmarks, and other places where you can breathe some fresh air, have a little quiet, and adjust your perspective. Reset in my spaces.
Have the courage to empower only capable and empathetic leaders. Enough with letting economic interests drive global, multi-generation-impacting decisions. And please, please, please, can we have more women in positions of leadership and influence? This means in governments, board rooms, and organizational leadership. I over-indexed the females among your species with emotional intelligence and empathy for a reason. Let them balance things out a bit in this time of global crisis.
Learn to take care of yourselves and each other. Too many of you, particularly in busy urban areas, don’t know how to feed yourselves, clean your homes, look after your neighbors, and generally self-sustain. You also seem to have lost the ability to educate and entertain yourselves and each other without a screen or some other external production. While these innovations are wonderful tools, it appears you may be growing too dependent on them. Reacquaint yourselves with board and card games, crafts, cooking, and some of the many other activities that have connected, inspired, and engaged you and your communities across geographies and countless generations.
Honor and love the children. They are trying to make sense of the world. what is happening, and are looking to you for signals, guidance. Most want you to spend more quality time with them. Many of you are parents home without the regular routines of work, school, and other activities. Try to embrace this time if you can. Tell them your stories. Teach them what you remember from your own elders. Pull out old photos and letters and explain what you recall. Prepare meals and do chores together. If you don’t have children of your own, think of one or more with whom you’ve connected and send them an article, a letter, a photo.
I am sorry it had to come to this but if we did not slow things down now, it would have been much more difficult, more dramatic later. I empathize deeply with your suffering. As this virus does not discriminate, most human lives will be impacted in some way. I hope that in time the suffering will ease and perhaps your habits, ways, change a bit for the better. I am already starting to see heightened awareness, kindness, and connection among you.