April 23, 2020


Joel Nodelman

5 Hopeful Reflections about Surviving a Crisis

About the author

Joel is an engineer and risk management specialist with over forty years of professional practice. He is committed to helping his clients achieve climate resiliency and sustainability.

Today I want to share five hopeful reflections about surviving a crisis. These are just things I have been musing about over the last week as we deal with COVID-19. And in no particular order. 

Hopeful Reflections - People Show their True Colours in a Crisis

There are those who pitch in. Those who get out of the way. Then, there are those who snipe and complain, make outrageous demands, and try to do a post-mortem while the patient is still on the operating table.

Despite the noise from the latter, most folks try to do the right thing. But they have to trust their leaders. When a leader honestly shows they are trying to do their best, we tend to trust them. But when they are overwhelmed, panic, and flit from one plan to the next with no real action, things fall apart.

Folks are starving for good leadership. History is kind to those who give it. Consider Churchill during the second world war. He had faults. Some of them were large. But for the Blitz, he would be a footnote in history, or remembered for some of his less than stellar traits. But he provided England with leadership in its darkest hours, and we revere him.

Hopeful Reflections - We are All in This Together

Hopeful Reflections - We are All in This Together

Hopeful Reflections - We are All in This Together

Bad things happen to us all at the same time. COVID doesn't care if you believe in it or not. It’s an infectious disease that has no politics. Believing it has human motives is stupid.  

This is a lesson I carry into my climate work. The climate too doesn't care if you believe in global warming or you don't. When a disaster strikes, we are all in it together. This is worth keeping in mind when things return to normal.

Hopeful Reflections - Patience is a Virtue

Some folks are getting by in the current crisis, calmly taking it one day at a time. Others chafe at even one day of isolation with pig-headed stubbornness. This leads to acts of self-centred stupidity. Think of the thoughtless crowds who gathered to protest social distancing for the sake of haircuts, or the childish dimwits who blocked hospital emergencies and verbally abused the nurses.

But once again, most folks are coping. They carry on. The only impatience they really show is for people who put others’ lives at risk.

Hopeful Reflections - Everything Seems to Go Wrong at the Same Time

First, we had hostile political polarization. Then we had COVID-19, the bottom fell out of the market, oil prices crashed, and to top it all off, a massacre in Nova Scotia. We must deal with it all at once.

To say the least, these are interesting times. But Canadians have lived through interesting times before. My parents endured two world wars, Spanish Flu, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Great Depression. Putting aside my worries about climate for the moment, this is the first world-scale crisis to hit home for many of us in our lifetime.  

Once again, we can learn from this. Events don't happen in isolation. We don't get to choose our crisis, and life isn't a movie. This won't be solved in 90 minutes by a gorgeous scientist who removes her glasses, shakes out her hair and looks like a super-model. In real life, these things take time and we all have to do our part.

Hopeful Reflections - Heroes Will Be Heroes

We can all be a hero for somebody, even if we just stay home. I am inspired by our nurses, doctors, and front-line workers. And those we rarely think about; grocers, truckers, delivery people, those who offer shelter in a storm, an ear to listen, or who check on others to make sure they're OK.

If I can take anything positive away from the current crisis, it's that there seem to be more heroes than fools. While the fools may get in the way, the heroes will win the day. We will get through this. We will learn and be better prepared the next time. Even though things look bleak, we have enough heroes to prevail.

Let's Chat

I'd love to hear your 5 hopeful reflections about surviving the crisis. Please comment below.

How are you coping during the current COVID-19 crisis?

What are your five most hopeful refections on surviving the crisis?

What similarities and differences do you see between the COVID-19 crisis and climate change?

This is the third video I have devoted to these issues. If you would like to hear more, check out our first offering on Crisis, Response and Recovery

If you wish feel free to contact us directly.

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