Rural municipalities have been suffering crisis-level budget shortfalls for years already, as zombie companies wage an escalating property tax strike forcing counties to cut hundreds of millions in services or raise taxes on everyone else.
Over the last two months, our food system has faced unprecedented challenges. Almost overnight, the food service industry, which usually consumes one third of produced, shuttered. Not only is this likely to destroy tens of thousands of small businesses, the supply chains that fed these bars, restaurants and cafeterias have gone through wrenching shifts.
“The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ - an over-abundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”
A chain-smoker develops pneumonia and nearly dies — and quits smoking.
An alcoholic is informed by his family they’re leaving — and sobers up.
It is well-recognized that a sudden, unexpected shock — frequently painful — can terminate a long and apparently unshakable pattern of self-destruction.
The pandemic has revealed much that was fragile and dangerous in the old “normal” most took for granted only a few short weeks ago. The silver lining, if there is one, is laying bare so much we need to do, and why prompt action is critical.
Let’s remember something important: the pre-pandemic economy failed us all in many ways. The coronavirus revealed, with terrible consequences, the inequities, weaknesses and willful ignorance that had been built into the market.
As the death toll from the global pandemic continues to increase, one question not being asked is: How many lives will the coronavirus save? The answer will provide the context we need to help avert an even greater loss of life from the coming climate crisis.