Great thinking 

“The air is gently throbbing with newness. Can you feel it?”
— Vanessa Kisuule

Here are some of our favourite writers and thinkers on the impact and the opportunity of the pandemic and the tectonic shifts happening now. This kind of thinking needs to be amplified and shared. Use the #NewNormal and #BuildBackBetter tags. Let’s bring these ideas into the online discussion of how we build a better tomorrow from the lessons of today.

The Impossible has already happened 
By Rebecca Solnit

When this storm clears, we may, as do people who have survived a serious illness or accident, see where we were and where we should go in a new light. We may feel free to pursue change in ways that seemed impossible while the ice of the status quo was locked up. We may have a profoundly different sense of ourselves, our communities, our systems of production and our future.
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #ImpossibleIsADare

The Pandemic is a Portal
By Arundhati Roy

“But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality….Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #ReturnToBetter

The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying
By Adam Serwer

“The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #TogetherWeRise

COVID-19 Broke the Economy. What If We Don’t Fix It?
By Shayla Love

“Instead of reopening society for the sake of the economy, what if we continued to work less, buy less, make less—for the sake of the planet? …

…previous critics of degrowth have said that there is no emergency brake on the economy, we now know that’s not true.
Suddenly this virus comes along and it’s clear there is an emergency brake and it can be pulled relatively easily. The government can, in fact, slow down parts of the economy for the sake of protecting public health and human wellbeing. In a way, the curtain has been pulled back and the Wizard of Oz exposed. We can imagine ways of pulling it that are ecologically meaningful and socially safe. Cognitive seals have really been broken.”

#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #HealthIsWealth #SlowIsBeautiful

Our world is built for profit. Let’s build one that protects us instead.
By Nesrine Malik

“We live in a society where it’s easier to get a Michelin-star meal delivered to our doorstep than it is to get a medical mask that protects our nurses and doctors. And it’s designed that way. But we can change it for the better, just as we can change ourselves.”

#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #HealthIsWealth #SlowIsBeautiful

The new normal: 3 activists on what it’ll take to build a better world after coronavirus
By Lauren Geall, with Vanessa Nakate, Trisha Shetty and Amika George

“So when we go back and realise how embedded and systemic these inequalities are, there’s no denying that this has to be more than a moment, and we need to recognise that this is something that affects everybody and everyone has to play a part in building back better. It can’t be up to the people in power.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #TogetherWeRise

The Neoliberal Era is Ending: what comes next?
By Rutger Bregman

“If there was one dogma that defined neoliberalism, it’s that most people are selfish. And it’s from that cynical view of human nature that all the rest followed – the privatisation, the growing inequality, and the erosion of the public sphere.

Now a space has opened up for a different, more realistic view of human nature: that humankind has evolved to cooperate. It’s from that conviction that all the rest can follow – a government based on trust, a tax system rooted in solidarity, and the sustainable investments needed to secure our future. And all this just in time to be prepared for the biggest test of this century, our pandemic in slow motion – climate change.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #TogetherWeRise

Coronavirus Spells the End of the NeoLiberal Era. What’s next? 
By Jeremy Lent

“Whatever you might be thinking about the long-term impacts of the epidemic, you’re probably not thinking big enough. The precedent, and the need, is for a deep value shift.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #EverythingIsConnected

Bail Out the Planet
By George Monbiot

“Do Not Resuscitate. This tag should be attached to the oil, airline and car companies. Governments should provide financial support to their workers while refashioning the economy to provide new jobs in different sectors. They should prop up only those sectors that will help secure the survival of humanity and the rest of the living world. They should either buy up the dirty industries and turn them towards clean technologies, or do what they often call for but never really want: let the market decide. In other words, allow these companies to fail.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #HealthIsWealth #ReturnToBetter

Once Upon a Beautiful Disruption
By Brooking Gatewood, with Tommy Crawford and Brian Fitzgerald

“When the odds seem impossible, that’s a good indicator that you’re working on sufficiently big change.”

#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #ImpossibleIsADare

Essential Workers are the New Magical Negro
By Dali Adekunle 

“Our profit-driven institutions have been failing the essential worker long before the threat of a pandemic, but unlike their cinematic counterparts, this version of the Magical Negro is not accompanied by a romantic score or Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. This Magical Negro is four times more likely to die from COVID-19 complications, has a doubled risk of unemployment, and is disproportionately represented among the unhoused and displaced.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #TogetherWeRise

The America We Need
By the Editorial Board, The New York Times

“The crucible of a crisis provides the opportunity to forge a better society, but the crisis itself does not do the work… they do not supply alternatives… Change requires ideas and leadership.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #EveryChoiceMatters

Jumpstarting the New Normal: Return to Better
By Matt Prindiville

If we’re sufficiently concerned for each other’s well-being and the planet, we can change business as usual. We can shift engrained norms of behavior in very short periods of time given the proper motivation… While not fair trades for the devastation COVID is wreaking, things like cleaner air, more wildlife, a stronger sense of community, and being more in touch with friends and family – have brought many to realize what we have been missing, and what is still possible. 
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #EveryChoiceMatters

It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This
By Jon Alexander

Leaders tend to love two stories: one in which we are Subjects, doing as we’re told and the government’s power is absolute. The other in which we are simply Consumers, and it’s just individuals and the market making decisions. In Maggie Thatcher’s words, “There is no society” and in Ronald Reagan’s “Government is the problem, not the solution.”

“What we need to build instead is the Citizen story, where the role of government is neither all nor nothing, but in between: to equip and enable us, and to partner with us; to share as much information and power as possible, so that we can work together with government and with one another to create a new normal.” #BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #TogetherWeRise

The Coronvirus is rewiring our imagination
By Kim Stanley Robinson

“Just as there are charismatic megafauna, there are charismatic mega-ideas. ‘Flatten the curve’ could be one of them… Knowing that we can act in concert when necessary … will change us.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #HealthIsWealth

Prepare for the ultimate gaslighting
By Julio Vincent Gambuto 

“From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal…”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #SlowIsBeautiful

Beautiful Trouble’s Irreverent Guide to Activism in a Time of Pandemic
By the Beautiful Trouble Collective

“We do not get to choose the historic moments we are born into, but we do get to choose how we respond. And as we recover, and put our world back together, we have a chance to put it back together differently and better.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #EveryChoiceMatters

Images of Animals Approaching Human Spaces
By Nina Pullano

“There’s something very beautiful about nature never giving up and showing us that we’re temporary in the scheme of things”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #MotherNatureIsTheBoss

And last but not least, the essay that inspired the name for this project:

Do Not Lose heart, We Were Made for These Times
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.

The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires … causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both — are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”
#BuildBackBetter #NewNormal #EveryChoiceMatters