By Jagoda Munic, director, Friends of
the Earth Europe
Our world has changed overnight.
Coronavirus has forced us to join together, to be in solidarity, and to
organise unprecedented urgent action. The pandemic has brought the world to a
standstill, unleashed extraordinary responses from governments, and confined
many of us to the four walls of our homes.
In these extraordinary times, Friends
of the Earth Europe expresses solidarity with all those affected by the
coronavirus. We show our immense gratitude to the researchers - and especially
to the healthcare workers on the frontlines facing risks in order to care.
We thank the farmers, fruit and veg
pickers, shop workers, distributors, waste handlers, and all others providing
As with any national or global or
environmental crisis, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer most. We
are in solidarity with people who may have lost their job or income, or who are
put in an impossible position of having to choose between their health or
continuing to work to pay rent and put food on the table. We recognise that the
vast majority of nurses, cashiers and care-givers on the frontline are women.
We are all called on to care for each
other in this moment – our friends and family, our colleagues, our neighbours,
and those isolated or in need. This might be a good time to get to know our
neighbours a little better, to cook extra for those who are sick, and pay special
attention to those who are vulnerable.
Friends of the Earth Europe staff are
working from home to help prevent the spread of the virus. All who can are
asked to isolate ourselves and take all steps possible to avoid transmitting
the virus – to avoid tipping our hospitals over the edge of coping point.
That’s also how we care for each other.
We can all contribute, by cooperating
with and supporting one another, by providing help where needed and reaching
out to others.
The powerful responses from our
governments to coronavirus are particularly revealing for environmental
activists. They prove to everybody that our governments are able to
listen to scientists and act on expert advice. They are able to take
far-reaching action, disrupt daily life, and make vast sums of money available
in response to emergencies that threaten lives and livelihoods – even when this
will have economic costs.
For both the coronavirus and the
ecological crises, we need our governments to work together and cooperate
internationally to limit these threats that know no boundaries and that touch
everyone. We need our governments to mobilise resources to alleviate the impact
of these crises in ways which address existing inequalities and prioritise the
most impacted and vulnerable people.
Friends of the Earth believes in a
caring, compassionate world within environmental limits. Our core values have
always included solidarity, empathy, and equality – but never have we held them
more dearly than now.
May we respond to the challenges we
face with the best of humanity. Take care of yourself, each other and the planet.