The COVID-19 pandemic has brought massive loss, uncertainty and hardship. But some positive impacts are also emerging from the changes being imposed on our daily lives and the world around us. Here, some Transition Town Lewes steering group members suggest some of the changes that they’d like to see endure after the lockdown is lifted.

Sue’s newly-discovered ancient oak tree

Arnold – Accept the connection between climate change and Covid-19
The legacy I would most like to see is an acceptance by the public that climate change is an even greater threat to the world than Covid-19. There is a perfect opportunity to persuade people to accept some of the restrictions that they have willingly adopted against Covid-19 to ensure that we have a healthy planet in the future.

Susan – Keep taking flight from flying
I’d like to see the huge reduction in flying continue. Flying tends to be the biggest part of the carbon footprint of many individuals so we can make a difference by ourselves. Let’s look at better ways of going on holiday, innovative ways of conducting business meetings and conferences and new sustainable jobs to replace those lost in aviation thus reducing the noise and pollution impact of airports. The coronavirus shows that we don’t have to carry on with the same old climate-destructive behaviour.

Juliet Encourage wilder towns and cities

Juliet OxborrowThere are many legacies I’d like to see from the lockdown – environmental, social and economic. But one good thing is seeing how public spaces have been allowed to get a bit more wild. Just the small act of leaving street verges unmown seems to have given a boost to my local insect population. What would be the impact on biodiversity, insect health (and our own health and well-being) if we actively created wilder public spaces and nature corridors across all our towns and cities? Let one legacy of the lockdown be that we spend less time and money on trying to neaten nature and more time on nurturing it.

 

Jon – Don’t shop till we drop

Juliet OxborrowI would like the economy to restart with different underlying assumptions. I want people to understand that they are not entitled to buy a tee-shirt for less than the cost of a pint of beer, or to buy asparagus flown in from Peru, or to fly two families to the Maldives for a wedding, or to pave over their front garden to accommodate a second or third car. And I never want to hear the horrible phrase ” because you’re worth it” again. Because to be honest, you probably aren’t. Nor is anyone else.

Juliet OxborrowAnn – Young families cycling in country lanes

There have been far more families cycling around Lewes than there used to be. The peaceful country lanes with little traffic could be access-only for motor vehicles, with a 20mph speed limit. Technology could be used to detect and identify vehicles that exceed the limit.

Sue – Doing less and looking more
I’m going to hang onto slowing down and looking around more. What a revelation to discover so many good footpaths within walking distance of our home in Cooksbridge, for example. We always tended to go to the more ‘interesting’ places like Chailey Woods, Markstakes Common, Black Cap & the Downs. We’ve chanced upon so many new and beautiful routes –  how come we never noticed so many ancient oaks spaced along all the hedgerows? At bluebell time we found five small, deserted, woodland areas full of bluebells and birdsong. I’m so grateful for so much beauty all around me when I take the time to see it.

Julia – Plane-free skies… and lots more!

Although having 14 days quarantine should do the trick, longer term we must have a plan to reduce air travel – perhaps by giving everyone an allowance of 10 hours flying a year which they could then use or trade?

I’d also like to keep…

…the blossoming of nature – the clean air and the quiet without so many cars makes our natural world so much more stunning.  Couldn’t we ask that people only use their cars for essential journeys after lockdown?

Plus also: the quiet and unsmelly traffic-free roads, the tranquil walks in newly-discovered bits of Lewes, the sense of support and community, more people shopping locally and cooking at home and fewer buying takeaway coffees … and innovative window displays!