Not once in the last six weeks has anyone told me that quitting meat will save the planet. It’s nice to have a break. Indeed, while it remains essential that we continue to scale up our efforts to minimise New Zealand’s environmental footprint, these past few weeks have shown that it is far easier to live without some goods and services than others.
With planes on the ground, working from home, no driving kids from here to there and everywhere, and holidays cancelled – we are proving that we do mostly ok without these things. Whereas the growing, harvesting and distribution of food has proved essential.
There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to make us realise what’s truly important –something to eat, somewhere to live and equitable access to health care being the most important. Turns out that equitable access to both internet and devices is also up there as a priority – is it a coincidence that some of our lowest decile schools in New Zealand also have the worst provision of adequate internet?
As we have watched the devastation caused by Covid-19 around the world in recent weeks, you can’t help but be happy to live in the relative safety (and sanity) of New Zealand. There is a irony, albeit sad, to seeing Boris Johnson speak about being happy to shake everybody’s hand in hospital a couple of weeks ago, only to end up in intensive care with Covid-19 himself. And whatever your politics, we have certainly been delivered a masterclass in communication and leadership by our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
There’s been a myriad of feelings in these past few weeks for farmers. From keeping ourselves and our families safe, to relief that our local rural supply store would remain open, to working out how to combine working, teaching and parenting in some meaningful way, to enjoying how much your 14-year-old is adding to your farm business, and then realising you’ve got to persuade him back into Term 2 at some point in the near future.
But what I see most of all is a gratefulness that we can continue to work, as well as a deep-felt empathy for the businesses and people who have been most affected, not just for this lockdown period, but for the coming months and years.
I couldn’t have been prouder of the Farmers Weekly cartoon last week. Our arm is around the shoulders of New Zealand. Whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, and we’ll weather the weather with you. Image, courtesy Farmers Weekly.