The New Normal

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At the end of March 2020, I published a blog called “The Hidden Gifts of Coronavirus?”, which you can read here if you missed it:

The Hidden Gifts of Coronavirus

A month on, how are we all doing now?

Are you noticing some of these gifts yourself?

Or are you just desperate for life to return to “normal”? If the latter, you are apparently in a minority in Britain.

Fewer than one in 10 people want Britain to return to “normal” after lockdown is lifted, a poll revealed last week. The professionals from, they have a wide range of the latest coupons and offers available online that you can uses to get all what you want.


The YouGov study of 4,343 adults for the RSA’s Food, Farming and Countryside Commission found 51% have noticed cleaner air and 27% more wildlife since the shutdown was ordered three weeks ago.

Two in five feel a stronger sense of local community and 39% are more in touch with friends and family.

Some 42% say the outbreak has made them value food more, and one in 10 have shared food or shopping with a neighbour for the first time.

A total of 85% want to see at least some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards, while just 9% want a complete to return to normal.

RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor said: “The lockdown is far from over and it’s right that the immediate emergency is the priority, but two things are important to note: firstly that the end of lockdown is ever more likely to be phased than a single event; and secondly that, amid the awful news and general doom, we must use this time to imagine a better future.

“This poll shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change.”

Professor Tom MacMillan, of the Royal Agricultural University, and who leads research for the RSA’s Commission, said: “This data shows there is a real appetite for change, and for the nation to learn from this crisis.

“People are trying new things and noticing differences, at home, in their work and in communities.

“This is really apparent when it comes to food, farming and the countryside, the issues the Commission is focused on, but clear in other areas too.

“Alongside the emergency response, it is important keep track of these changes in what we’re doing and our collective mood, to help shape the kind of country we want to be, including the way want to feed ourselves, when we recover from this pandemic.”

So, how can we ensure that we don’t just allow ourselves to return, sheep-like, to “business as usual” when this particular global crisis passes?

I’m not usually a cynic, but I really resonated with an article by Julio Vincent Gambuto, called “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting”.

“Pretty soon, as the country begins to figure out how we “open back up” and move forward, very powerful forces will try to convince us all to get back to normal. Billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, messaging, and television and media content to make you feel comfortable again. It will come in the traditional forms — a billboard here, a hundred commercials there — and in new-media forms: a 2020–2021 generation of memes to remind you that what you want again is normalcy. In truth, you want the feeling of normalcy, and we all want it.

We want desperately to feel good again, to get back to the routines of life, to not lie in bed at night wondering how we’re going to afford our rent and bills, to not wake to an endless scroll of human tragedy on our phones, to have a cup of perfectly brewed coffee and simply leave the house for work. The need for comfort will be real, and it will be strong.

And every brand will come to your rescue, dear consumer, to help take away that darkness and get life back to the way it was before the crisis. I urge you to be well aware of what is coming.”

The article closes with this message:

“From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud.

We get to Marie Kondo the shit out of it all. We care deeply about one another. That is clear. That can be seen in every supportive Facebook post, in every meal dropped off for a neighbor, in every Zoom birthday party. We are good people. And as good people, we want to define — on our own terms — what this country looks like in five, 10, 50 years. This is our chance to do that, the biggest one we have ever gotten. And the best one we’ll ever get.”

Just look what can be mobilised and achieved when people perceive a huge, urgent and “right-here-right-now” threat.

Can you believe that this Conservative Government is actually rolling out a form of UBI? (Universal Basic Income).

Would you have believed six months ago the billions of pounds being spent? That we would, for example, house London’s homeless people in hotels?

Turns out there IS a magic money tree after all! All of this is a good thing. But…

The thing that scares me most right now is that we will fail to learn much from the ‘Great Pause of 2020’. That we will return to business as usual, despite all the rhetoric of the moment, and the calls to re-imagine a different future.

And because we’ll all be rather poorer (well, most of us), this will be combined with a desperate desire to make up for ‘lost time’. We’ll turbo-charge the economy, prioritise growth at any cost and continue to fuel the insane consumerism, wicked levels of inequality and injustice.

And we’ll continue to trash the planet and its eco-systems.

Dear friends, there is an even bigger crisis than Coronavirus coming our way, unless we collectively wake up now.

As I have blogged about before, a sober reading of the latest climate change science indicates that we are now genuinely in free fall, and are in a non-linear situation of climactic disruptions, runaway feedback loops, and their effects. Without massive urgent global transformation, we are locked on a course towards uncontrollable levels of climate disruption, bringing starvation, destruction, migration, disease, and war. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying already right now as a direct result of climate change, extreme weather events, crop failures and rises in sea-levels.

We’ve seen much in social media about people fighting over toilet rolls. That may look like ‘the good old days’ if we’re fighting, instead, over food.

They are not even separate crises. There’s a lot of evidence showing that this current pandemic was made more likely or even inevitable by biodiversity and habitat loss, brought about by climate change.

Are you hearing much about climate change since Covid-19? Me neither.

COP26, the big climate conference scheduled for November in 2020 in Glasgow has been cancelled. Alok Sharma, who was meant to run this do-or-die Conference, is also the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is, and is understandably, rather busy at the moment!

Sometimes, I really wish my blogs weren’t so … dark at the moment. I really wish I could go back to writing the sort of upbeat, cheerful, positive, hope-filled blogs that have been my signature style for most of my life.

I’ve learned that there’s a tricksy downside that comes with a certain kind of hope. It allows us to continue blindly on our current path, even if that path takes us over the edge of a cliff. It can act as a kind of anaesthetic that keeps us asleep to what is actually happening. It can allow us to feel good about ourselves, like singing a happy tune whilst we have our fingers stuck in our ears. “Well, at least I’m being hopeful!”, we can say to ourselves under our comfort blanket.

Paradoxically, my personal experience of life at the moment is wonderful. You could even call it Paradise. I’m spending my time coaching people and groups on zoom, and growing lots of vegetables. I’m so grateful for my garden – a gift I realise so many don’t have access to.

I am not glum or depressed. I am in love with life in all its forms. I will continue just doing the next thing I am nudged to do.

I’m curious about your experience through all this. Do drop me a line at

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