The re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone created a new order of life. It has been 25 years since the introduction of wolves and the changes that it created at the park. I started the day thinking about this experiment and wondering any resemblance it has to our current situation.
As I start my first day of the 21 days lockdown declared in India, I start thinking as to whether this is the emergence of a new order. The world spots the Black Swan. The proximity has convinced how black it is. The spotting convinces that there will be more spotting. We are witnessing reactions that my generation has not seen. The Human Elk is running around with no certainty as to what will happen. But slowly the reality is sinking that this is real and it is going to change the way we lived. The much-privileged dominance and freedom is challenged.
Whether it was the individual’s way of life or the way many of the institutions we designed and built and the things we ignored prioritizing on the short-term are coming to light prominently in the dark. The corrections cannot be short term, it is going to be a long haul. The steps to prevent reoccurrence or the responses to a pandemic will be re-written. Is social distancing the new normal? The optimist in me says no, but there will a new link between proximity and risk. There will be a new normal into what we define hygiene and there will be a new realization that will lead into what we consume. The effectiveness of digital meetings and conferences will increase their utility as the risk of travel will remain etched in our brains.
Will this increase the rhetoric for new walls and nationalism? I hope not, we already know what eco-system fragmentation does to life forms. The episode although requires closing of borders, but also saw the co-operation on many fronts to leverage the knowledge and understanding to fight against. The immediate response on a cyber attack will be to disconnect the network and come back after required firewalls and defences are created. But there will be new systemic changes that will be introduced, which will limit freedom. That will be the new normal.
The air is clean and I am able to hear the chirping of birds around me. Today morning I heard the Treepie and Hornbill after a long time. We will start getting acclimatized to the new good. We will learn to live within limitations. As somebody told me the 21 day is the time required to form a habit. This might be our chance.
At Yellowstone, although from the eyes of the Elk, it might have been an inconvenient intervention, I would like to believe that the new order has more positive outcomes from an eco-system perspective.
As Omar Khayyam wrote:
Like god, if this world, I could control
Elimination of the world would be my role
I would create such a world anew, whole
Freedom lovers could easily attain their desired goal
Khayyam desired the world to be a better place with a better life. This might be our chance to create the new order to a better life in this blue marble we call earth.
——- Santhosh Jayaram is Partner and Head – Sustainability and CSR advisory at KPMG India. Besides, sustainability, his interests lies in photography and painting. These are his personal views. He can be connected on — @Sjayaram_KPMG