Bryan Bruce: Remember, we can’t have any lifestyle – if we don’t have a life

The coronavirus ... 500 million fit onto a pin head. Image: RNZ/AFP

COMMENT: By Bryan Bruce

The covid 19 coronavirus is so small it is estimated around 500 million of them could fit onto a pin head. Yet, over the last 11 months  – yes, less than a year – this tiny thing has brought the world economy to its knees and caused an enormous amount of human misery.

Dreadful as this pandemic has been, however, it has taught us some valuable life lessons.

We have allowed too much of our economy to be determined by international money and forgotten we once lent and borrowed from each other within our country to great effect
That is not to say that all foreign investment is bad, but the operative word is “investment”.

It is hard to see, for example, how allowing a Chinese company to mine fresh water virtually for free and put it in plastic bottles to pollute the planet is “investment”. It’s exploitation.

We have allowed ourselves to become victims of mass consumption and forgotten that we can live with far less stuff in our lives. We once made many of the things we need – from clothes and shoes to railway engines.

Yes there was less variety and we cannot make everything our high tech society now requires, but we were more self-reliant and less dependent.

The pandemic has also forced many of us to re-evaluate our lives. Do I really need to work from an office in town or can I work effectively from home?

Do I want to live a simpler life? What matters most to me? … are just a few of the questions with which people are grappling.

In other parts of the planet covid is multiplying at breakneck speed. If we want to keep Aotearoa/New Zealand at level, 1 we need to keep up our vigilance at the border, using the contact tracing procedures and keep up social distancing whenever possible.

Because perhaps the most important lesson covid has taught us is how dependent we are on others for our own well-being and that you can’t have any kind of lifestyle – if you don’t have a life.

Kia kaha

Bryan Bruce is an independent filmmaker and journalist. The Pacific Media Centre is publishing a series of occasional commentaries by him with permission.

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