Written By: Simon Bailie
12 months ago, the reality of the pandemic was beginning to sink in and the reality of lockdown and the economic fallout began to bite. Undoubtedly there have been lessons learnt and if we knew what we know now, perhaps decisions would have been different. But have we really learnt anything from the past 12 months and will it be enough to combat the next global crisis before it’s too late?
Not in living memory has the world faced a crisis of the scale presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Governments around the world circumnavigated the usual bureaucracy in order to move fast and build new services, innovations, legislation and even infrastructure. All at breakneck speed in a focused attempt to answer the global health crisis and to protect their citizens.
There were numerous examples of what can be achieved when a focus is placed on moving fast and building solutions to help people. But perhaps the biggest breakthrough though, has to be the vaccine.
Finding a viable vaccine within a matter of months and rolling it out to the public within a year would have been unthinkable 12 months ago. But when faced with an existential threat to society, humans are capable of amazing things. Mountains can be moved, obstacles overcome, solutions can be found and products can be built.
Imagine what we could achieve if we tackle other global issues with the same speed and determination displayed over the past 12 months?
The Coronavirus pandemic may have felt like the crisis of our lifetime but if experts are to be believed, it is merely the warm up act to what is to come. For some years now, it has been climate change that has been high on the global policy agenda of many nations and will likely be the defining crisis of our time. Despite this, dates for carbon emission or renewable energy targets have often moved depending on the political agenda of the day.
The past 12 months though required us to build things fast in order to save lives and protect economies. The climate change crisis will require us to not only build new technologies, but to fix things for future generations. The lessons from the pandemic have hopefully prepared us for the big decisions to come and have proved that when decisive action is required, the collective might of public and private sectors can combine to find solutions.
As the planet observed Earth Day, the biggest nations in the world gathered at a global conference convened by US President Joe Biden. Once again, leaders extended their commitments to tackle climate change this decade. Even China, whose economy has boomed alongside their growing carbon emissions, admitted that climate change will be a major focus of their administration over the next decade.
This time it feels different. Global political harmonisation that this is a problem much greater than their own self-interests is in stark contrast to the language of only 12 months ago. Our own personal experiences from the past 12 months proved that when forced to make major changes, we can adapt. There is now a huge groundswell of belief that if we move fast we can fix things.
This decade will be the one that defines the next 100 years and the tech industry will play a pivotal role in this new frontier, as it will require huge technological advances to ensure the political commitments re-affirmed on Earth Day in 2021, are achieved.
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