When COVID is Over, Don’t Stay in Place!

COVID has given us much fear and suffering. It has also given us much space and time. And with space and time comes connection. And with connection comes action. Black Lives Matter sprang up bolder and bigger and more fierce than ever before during this tragic springtime, because people had time to witness a terrible murder and really protest this foul act in huge numbers. The COVID pandemic enabled black and white people to forget about their jobs or even their loss of their jobs and take to the streets in droves. Did it help us to be better people in the long run? In many places, “Yes.”  More white people began to truly understand that the legacy of slavery wasn’t over and that laws, and violence and monuments need to be removed before we go any further. 

Then as COVID continued to grow, people began to look at their lives and the lives of their community more closely.  Neighbors began to look out for each other, shop for each other, cook for each other. Neighborhoods became important again. Home became important again. Yes! There is probably now in this period of Shelter in Place more love-making, more poetry writing, more thought exchange, more essay publications, than there have been in years.

And with it all, many of us are looking ahead and saying – Look what we’ve done to our beloved Earth! Oil and Plastic and Trash and Pollution of every kind are ruining so many places and so many people we cherish. We have continued to ignore the road not taken, the love not shared and the care not offered to our planet and the people suffering in it. For years we have worshiped entertainment above every occupation. Our children and young people were no longer outside playing. They were in their rooms set with their faces on their phones. Unhappy, angry adults worn out from their serf-like jobs were doing the same. 

But now with this disease we are in a place of slowed or, even stopped, time. We have hours we had lost before. Take a look friends. Take advice from the ancients. While you are idle you can make your life an idyll – a place of extreme calm and happiness. Build gardens, get away from your car, get a bike, a scooter. Walk to your neighbor with a pie and a pitcher of lemonade; make your own food. Listen to the quiet. Think. Dream.

And when the time comes to WORK — choose work that serves you and the world. Look up greenjobs.net. People are cleaning up water, changing trash into sneakers, saving forests all over the world. Right here in our own hemisphere there’s a Conservation Job Board in practically every County. Get in touch. They need technical people and they also need publicists and artists and educators. Look them up. Call your local County Supervisor. Get going. 

Want to travel and get some innovative training? Check out Charity: Water  http://charitywater.org which brings “clean and safe water to people in developing countries.” In Africa, South America, Asia  — projects are waiting for you. Go! Help the world get better. Like the English language too much? The Northwest Renewable Energy Institute in Canada will train you to do good works and find a job for you, too. Wind Turbines, Landscape Architecture, bringing back fish and streams and butterflies in clean air.  Search https://www.greenjobs.co.uk/  — they are working across the world and their projects are wonderful.

Modern America has taught us a kind of individualism that is unreal and destructive and has caused more psychological collapses and diseases than we can count. This pandemic can teach us what we have forgotten. That there is not much we can accomplish alone. But there is much we can do together.

Mary Ann Maggiore

Mary Ann Maggiore is a former Mayor of Fairfax elected on an environmental platform and founder of the Affordable Housing initiative and Youth Advisory there. At the same time Mary Ann served as the Executive Director of Girl Scouts Save the Bay serving 55,000 girls. Mary Ann's work has been honored by the CA Senate, CA Assembly, Working Solutions Community Innovator Award and the City of San Francisco. Today Mary Ann continues her commitment to youth as ED of LAUNCH!, Guiding Young People 18 to 30 to Meaningful Work.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Toiya

    Mary Ann, so beautifully written and inspiring. These days, I have a deeper appreciation for being in my own backyard designed and cared for by my husband. The hummingbirds are a joy. Didn’t know we had so many! Walking trails and breathing in cleaner air have been uplifting as I listen to my audiobook, “Boys in the Boat”. Thank you for that reminder to remember and to cherish and to be inspired and to act. You are an amazing woman, always out there living life to its fullest.

  2. Jeanine Alexander

    This is inspiring and energizing. Thank you!

  3. Gina Brownstein

    Yes! This is a powerful time to come together in community! Thank you for this reflection and inspiration.

  4. Douglas Humes

    This global pandemic has reminded me of my connection with family & friends, my community, county and state (virus case numbers), my country and it’s relation with the world. Trump has inspired me to volunteer with local immigrant advocacy/assistance groups and that has reminded me of those people of the world who have moved to the US to seek a better life, and in so doing have contributed in many positive ways to our evolving culture. These are very difficult times for young people contemplating their future, but with the right connections to communities( social, activist, employment) that can excite their passions, I believe they will lead us, and all our sisters and brothers, to a broader understanding of our role on this beautiful earth. Keep up the good work Mary Ann!

  5. Wendy

    Keep focusing on the positive, absolutely. This time is what we make of it, and we have time to encourage others, to open doors. Magic is at hand. Let’s rock this joint!

  6. This is all of us thinking, feeling and reporting to each other. Thank you for your salutations.

  7. You are so right. This is a time to adapt and change. Ourselves and the world. It is also a time to pace ourselves with the voice of nature. And I know you know all this. What else is music, but sound and rhythm?

  8. John

    Yes! As a Landscape Architect I say, come join us! There are so many places that need help and so many ways to help. Even volunteering on city task forces is a way to make a difference. Progress is incremental and slow, but when enough of us undertake the work, it will happen!

  9. Mary Ann maggiore

    Thank you, John for that guidance. We all need to share knowledge so we can really make the things we want to happen, actually happen.

Leave a Reply