“And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack”
I am sitting at my dining- room-table-turned-home-office desk… The Talking Heads, Once In a Lifetime playing in my ear.
“And you may ask yourself
Well, how did I get here?”
This whole lock-down thing feels as if it happened overnight but, when I think about it, we’ve been heading towards this for over 250 years. I know, after spending the last month learning how viruses spread, and re-learning how to wash our hands, our brains are ready to burst, but studying the past teaches us a lot about the future. I’m sure Mr. Cala, my high school History teacher would agree.
For those of you who slept thru European and American History, let me refresh your memory and give you a brief recap. The Industrial Revolution started around 1765 in Britain when people decided to move their manufacturing out of their home shops and into bigger facilities. Just like Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the garage wasn’t cutting it anymore.
“And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?”
Moving their craft into big production facilities made it easier for manufactures to make stuff faster, like clothes, shoes and other textiles. Instead of spinning yarn and making cloth by hand, machinery replaced this hard and painful work taking it to a new level. It saved time and helped these manufacturers produce more and make more money. Again, just like any entrepreneur. Growth is always part of the plan.
“Letting the days go by”
As time went on, we found new ways to make a lot more things including iron and steel. Then along came steam engine trains and steam powered factories that used coal to make flour, paper and so much more. Remember, this was before the days of hand sanitizer and Clorox Wipes and there was little to no sanitation. These places were filthy, and soon small towns that used to be quiet, farming villages were overrun with factories spewing black, thick pollution into their air and fragments of coal dust into their water.
“And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?”
By the 1830s thru the 1840s the Industrial Revolution in Europe had spread to the United States. Mr. Cala would tell us this was the first Industrial Revolution. The second one started in the late 1800s with big advancements in steel, electricity and Henry Ford’s automobiles.
All of these improvements to travel and communication made life easier in many ways. No more back breaking horse and buggy rides to Aunt Sarah’s, no more reading by candle light, no more running outside to use the loo.
“And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!”
But all the good brought a lot of bad. Coal was the main source of energy that made the steam engines and factories run. Women and children were the ones working in the factories making little money and sacrificing their health to work there…sound familiar? Many miners died young from horrible lung diseases and our natural resources became depleted.
Every historian will tell you, the Industrial Revolution had to happen in order for us to advance and have the things we have today. Without it, there would be no cars, no airplanes and most likely no expensive leggings to wear to yoga. There would be no televisions to binge watch Netflix, no laptops and definitely no cell phones to post that puppy pic to Instagram. But could we have done it differently? Did we have to sacrifice the health of people and our planet?
“And you may say to yourself
My God! What have I done?”
Let me remind you. 2019 was the hottest year on record. The arctic is melting and the planet is burning. Sea levels are rising and over 1 million species will be extinct by 2030 if we continue with business as usual…
“Into the blue again after the money’s gone”
Covid-19 has locked us down. With most of the world’s manufacturing halting to a standstill and 80% of air travel suspended, our planet is getting a chance to breathe again. China had over a 21% increase in “good quality air days” in February. My brother in L.A. tells me after living there for some 30 years, this has been the most beautiful spring he can remember. “The skies have been super blue and everything’s blooming after all the rain,” and he’s not the only one noticing a difference.
“Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground”
With fewer tourists in Venice, the canal water is returning to a clear blue. The big cruise ships and tourist boats aren’t there churning up the drudge and the calmer water is bringing wildlife back to the canals. The Guardian reports “shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and multicoloured plant life” is returning.
In Meppayur Town, Kozhikode Kerala, India, a nocturnal Civet Cat is slowly walking down the street. It appears to be sick but seeing it’s a nocturnal creature walking around town during the day, it could just be disoriented. Regardless, it’s a rare and unusual site and not just because this wild, endangered feline is walking across the street but because the town is virtually empty.
“Into the blue again into silent water”
People are sharing video of deer walking the streets in Sri Lanka; a Puma running thru the neighborhood in the Chilean capital, Santiago; wild boar descending from the hills around Barcelona and dolphins returning to several ports around the Mediterranean. It’s a Nature Revolution we haven’t seen before or at least in the last 250 years.
“Time isn’t holding up
Time isn’t after us”
We’ve been put into a time out so we can reflect on our mistakes. We must find the happy medium between over producing and never advancing. We must go back to small, local farming, small, local business, and small, local manufacturing. If this pandemic hasn’t taught us anything about our harmful ways, then all of the lives lost will be lost in vain.
“And here the twister comes
Here comes the twister”
Please don’t tell me the harm we’ve done to our planet has nothing to do with Covid-19. When species go extinct, the viruses they carry don’t disappear. They seek out new hosts and seeing humans are the most abundant on the planet, I’d say this virus found a good one to hold onto.
“Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…”
Nature has pushed the reset button, giving us time to start over and once we do we cannot return to business as usual.
Take this time to seek out companies who care. Look for responsibly run businesses doing more good than harm. I know we can advance without continuing to harm our planet and ourselves. We’re innovative and smart. Now it’s time to readjust and do business the right way, the sustainable way, the only way.
“Once in a lifetime…”
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
Thank you to the Talking Heads for their prophetic song, Once In A Lifetime.
Let ME know:
What small businesses are you still supporting during COVID-19 that are helping protect our planet?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!