Mask is a Utilitarian and Expressive Fashion Statement - By Anupama Pasricha
Stay safe, Stay at Home, Cover your Face, COVID19 are all trending in today's reality. Are you exposed to an unknown virus, one that transfers easily, can be asymptomatic for many, but very dangerous for some? The answer is yes! We should be, and we are following CDC guidelines to wear a protective mask to protect ourselves and others. We are trying to help ourselves and our loved ones, just after the fact. As parents, we are protecting our newborns even from grandparents; obviously, we know that both are high-risk to catch the virus. If we intend to protect everyone, which at this time causes financial, social, mental, and emotional loss, would it be smarter to take care of the root cause to save ourselves from those hardships and invisible costs? Do we know why we are in this situation?
As I reflect, the discussions I have had in my environmental justice (GSJ) class resonate with Vandana Shiva's validation of ecology and corona virus. Deductive reasoning and critical analysis point out that this pandemic is related to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other ecological missteps that human beings have taken. Director of Harvard's C-CHANGE (Center for Climate, Health, and Global Environment), Aaron Bernstein, explains it well. "We don't have direct evidence that climate change is influencing the spread of COVID-19, but we do know that climate change alters how we relate to other species on earth and that matters to our health and our risk for infections and…pandemics." Further, the Harvard center provides research-based evidence that the likelihood of infection transmission and associated deaths are directly related to the level of air pollution. If we want to avoid this situation of health and economic insecurity for us and our kids, we can ask all stakeholders to take steps toward stabilizing the climate and restoring balance. Focusing on ecosystem sustenance by reducing pollution and over-consumption, building a case for conservation and restoration, preserving nature and biodiversity, and moving toward circular design and economy will save our lives, money, and resources
If decisions of future development work follow design thinking and consideration of precautionary principles, we will make smart choices. Either we take a laissez-faire attitude and let businesses and government do their part, or we ask questions so that they do their part. We, as consumers also can either be complacent or have control of how our world operates. Are we going to pay the cost of our inaction? It is our choice.