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Media Coordinator Laura Cox tackles the subject we can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid talking about.

It’s hard to write coherently at a time like this.

As a writer (both for pay and procrastination), it feels like this should be when it’s easiest to write, to spew everything up onto a blank page. But somehow the words are piling up in the wrong order, and making no sense at all.

The media is utterly consumed by Corona… The numbers, the government advice, the experiences of those in other countries, the endless FAQs.

The response of XR York’s Media working group has been minimal. What can be said when the situation is so uncertain? Maddie, one of the Media coordinators, knew what to say. This week, we posted this statement on our social media pages:

“Almost all of us are feeling the effects of social-distancing as a result of trying to halt the spread of coronavirus. However, it is important to know that wherever you are, and especially here in York, there is a whole XR community behind you to help combat the effects of isolation, together.”

In York, other community groups are mobilising to deliver vital aid to anyone who needs it. Supermarkets are voluntarily assigning specific hours for the elderly, vulnerable people, and NHS workers. JORVIK Viking Centre has announced it will create e-learning resources for children to access at home. Cafes like Pig and Pastry have offered free suppers.

City of York Council have been appropriately verbal on social media, especially when it comes to protecting the local economy:

“Calling all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in #York. If you pay business rates by standing order- CANCEL IT. If you pay by cash, don’t pay. Pay by direct debit? We’re working through the weekend to cancel around 4000 before payments are taken.”

Things are changing rapidly. At the same time, so is the response from the Council, businesses, and local community groups. Events like this force system change to happen – through struggle, we evolve, and supposedly improve. There’s a silver lining to every pandemonium. We hope.

Come May, June, or whenever we reach some kind of stability again, the mass panic surrounding COVID-19 needs to serve as a reminder of how little control we really have. We must also recognise the importance and constant self-sacrifice of frontline workers – namely NHS staff and carers, but also those stacking shelves in supermarkets and dealing with customers face-to-face. This should be reflected in wages, work-life balance, and other provisions for these essential workers who are criminally uncelebrated.

Ongoing initiatives to maintain mental wellness have to continue. I recognise my view comes from a place of privilege, but I’ve worried far more about mental health at this time of social isolation than the physical illness itself. Humans are social creatures. Without social contact, life loses its meaning. The global shift towards ‘isolation’ could be arguably just as deadly as the virus itself.

In XR, our response to the plethora of challenges that come with COVID-19 is to continue to strive for regenerative culture. We’re using Zoom to keep our meetings going. Individuals within the group are reaching out into the community. We’re having the hard conversations we need to have to formulate an organised response.

But, as always, we need to do more. And we will.

Want to be part of the conversation? Join us on Zoom on Tuesdays at 7.30pm (7.00pm for new members):
Meeting ID: 940 151 6315


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1 Comment

  1. Great blog Laura and I agree completely. During this time and across many countries we can see the impact of human desire and drive to connect and support life, we see the impact on the environment of even short term changes in human behaviour, clear water in the canals in Venice, cleaner air, blue skies visible instead of smog, drastic drops in CO2 emissions. Solid evidence that human behaviour can change within days and weeks when there is the motivation to do so. A government and opposition both absolutely on board with working with scientific evidence to tackle imminent danger. People reaching out to communities and across the world to make connections and contact. Massive changes to ways of working that require less CO2 and toxic pollutants.
    Our challenge and task is to build on these detoxifying and regenerative activities to help consolidate a different way we can be – by choice. We are in the midst of a forced and extremely disruptive and distressing experiment on the impact of change in human behaviour the evidence for how to tackle the other (greater?) emergency, climate heating, is considerable so lets make sure we use it.
    Thanks again


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