“What an opportunity,” my father exclaimed as we entered Home Depot. My house had just burned down in a California ﬁrestorm many years ago, and my contractor/builder father ﬂew out from Virginia to help me rebuild.
I couldn’t believe he would say something so thoughtless, but eventually I realized that he was right. In every crisis there is an opportunity. I built back a much better, safer house using code upgrades and more eﬃcient materials.
Walking into a Home Depot for my father was like walking into a temple. He got energized by the thought of creating something new. He saw possibility — and the excitement of creating something anew.
As I read about the many ways people are coming together during this pandemic crisis, I’m inspired by the many possibilities of creating new ways of surviving together on a planet with ﬁnite resources. Our little townhome community has little walking groups and people forming socially distancing groupings on corners to check in with each other.
We’ve come to realize that food and community care are more important than consuming new stuﬀ that we certainly do not need. We’ve slowed down and are coming together in collective ways to solve community challenges. The air is cleaner, and a sense of solidarity is developing especially toward our frontline workers risking their lives every day to save ours.
Going forward, let’s take the time to build back a healthier, safer community. A kinder, fairer and more sustainable community. We’re surrounded by an ongoing climate crisis that requires restructuring and reprioritizing. Building back will require stronger consensus, and more mutual respect and understanding rather than polarizing and divisive sectarian mudslinging. Constantly looking backward for blame instead of forward sabotages our ability to get this right. Let’s focus on what we can do and get to work to make it happen.
We’re all in this together. We can do this together. It’s the only way.
The writer lives in Greensboro.
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