Sergi Arfelis Espinosa, researcher at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change of ESCI-UPF, attended COP27. In this second article, he shares his thoughts about the results and decisions made in Sharm El Sheikh.
Welcome to the weird world of working from home in coronavirus self-isolation exploring how we ended up in the current situation of public health emergency and why we should take this occasion to rethink the structures of our society. PS: I am writing this in serious hope that everybody is safe and healthy.
Wednesday, March 11th (three days before chaos)
After work, I went to a Spanish course, the Italian classmates were super upset. I guess, in Italy is chaos. Then, I went to see a Champions League game in a pub. Dragana (my partner) was mad at me because I watched the game there. I can’t understand why?
Thursday, March 12th (two days before chaos)
While I was at work, a friend called me that his stoke-shares dropped and he lost a huge amount of money. What is going on with the world?
Friday, March 13th (one day before chaos)
One can feel the tension in the air in the corridors at the University. There is a meeting of the rectors, perhaps the classroom lectures will be canceled. I do not understand why, everything seems to be normal…
The email came at around 17:00 that home office will have to be established. ESCI-UPF will be closed tomorrow, all my papers, materials and my PC are there….
Saturday, March 14th (D day)
The government announces that the quarantine starts today at midnight, Dragana insists that we stay home from today. Went to buy some food, everybody is buying tons of TP like TP cures the COVID-19. Luckily FNAC is open and I managed to buy all the hardware needed for home-office. Let’s hope that the Uni will work on Monday.
Sunday, March 15th (day two in quarantine)
Boring…!!!! Nothing to do, do not have my materials so I can’t work a bit. I never had time to organize my Vinyl collection. Today was that day ☺.
Monday, March 16th (day three in quarantine – reality check)
Went to work and got the materials and the PC. Everything looks spooky, not many people on the streets, most of them wearing a mask. I cannot recognize my home town looking like Pripyat in 1986. Managed to organize an office at home. I was thinking about the deadlines for the whole day.
Tuesday, March 17th (day four in quarantine)
Wearing a mask to go to the shop. The queue is enormous, everybody is nervous, me as well. Feels like my childhood in the 90ties in Yugoslavia. I started working to catch up for yesterday. Lost half-day organizing all the tools needed. Tomorrow will be a mess.
Wednesday, March 18th (day five in quarantine)
Day five and a routine started. Everything aligned for working from home. I already had the first group meeting online. God bless the technological advances, and the location doesn’t matter that much. I have to organize some physical activities.
Thursday, March 19th – onwards
Due to repetitive actions, the diary was stopped ☺.
Now we all wonder how this was possible. It is simple, humanity pushed the boundaries of nature pressuring the limits of the animal world for years, and we found something that can kill us. Our most disgusting habit of always pushing and asking for “more”. Our whole economic model is based on that “constant growth”. Limitless economic indicators based on limited natural resources. The term “sustainable development” was introduced in the 80ties as a golden handshake between economists and environmentalists, and even than humanity knew that we have to slow down a bit. Since then, “sustainability” became the biggest buzzword for everybody, especially the politicians. Now everything is “sustainable”, sustainable growth, sustainable development, sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture, sustainable… But are we sustainable?
No one knows how the world will look like when this is over, but one thing is certain: we would need to change something, and let us hope that we will learn something from this because the world now looks like an episode from “the Twilight Zone” (for younger generations “Black Mirror”). We haven’t before, because this is at least the fourth time that similar kind of virus is hitting the humanity in the last 10 years after the H1N1/09 (swine flu), bird flu H5N1, Ebola virus and Zika virus. Can we expect another? Certainly!
While having “romantic” walks in between the entrance door and the balcony, and “exotic” walks for shopping groceries, we need to think about how to remodel our society. Now we have time, distracted from our desire to be constantly busy and occupied with something. Or at least how we can prepare better for such future “social experiments”. But I think that we all are prepared as much as I am. I have my vinyl collection organized.
Sergi Arfelis, the researcher at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change of ESCI-UPF, was in Egypt from the 10th to the 18th of November as a COP27 observer. In this article, he warns about solving global warming as a zero-sum game, with one eye on the common good and the other on one's good.
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