Climate change and COVID-19 may appear to be two completely unrelated issues, but they have one thing in common, both are having a devastating impact on the human race. Global warming threatens the lives of millions of people today and promises to have catastrophic implications for future generations. Ironically though, the world does not appear to view climate change as a threat. In Nov 2019, over 11,000 scientists from 150+ countries endorsed a paper published in the BioScience Journal that delivered a stern warning. The scientists were unanimous in their belief that humanity would face “untold human suffering due to the climate crisis” unless drastic changes were made to global society. Despite the stark warning, the global community is very slow to acknowledge the fact that we are facing an existential climate emergency. Between June 2019 and Feb 2020, approx 46 million acres of land were destroyed by bushfires in Australia, the worst fires in Australian history. The past decade was the hottest on record; rising temperatures resulted in drought and ‘megafires’ that saw the decimation of wildlife species and their natural habitat, and the loss of countless human lives. Where is this devastating story in the media today?
Climate Change Meets the Coronavirus
Today, countries the world over are working together in a huge act of solidarity to manage the Coronavirus pandemic; a response that would seem like a dream to environmentalists. COVID-19 is threatening the lives of millions of people globally, with countries the world over closing their borders and locking down their citizens. The situation is rapidly evolving, and all eyes are firmly fixed on the ever-increasing tally of active cases and total deaths, with the USA reporting 122 cases on March 4, 2020, and 21 days later, reporting 53,358 cases. COVID-19 is a human tragedy that is changing life as we know it and is having a massive impact on the global economy. But so is climate change, albeit in a slower, more insidious manner, yet we choose to address it with complacency despite it also being recognised as a global health crisis. Environmentalists and scientists have been imploring governments to take the issue of climate change seriously for decades, but their concerns continue to fall on deaf ears. Where is the concern over climate change now?
What About the Protests in Hong Kong?
Anti-government protests rocked Hong Kong for the best part of 2019 and by November 2019 showed little sign of slowing, at least that was the case until the COVID-19 outbreak. The protests initially flared up in response to plans to extradite offenders under the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill, but soon re-ignited Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Protests continued to escalate and saw Hong Kong police using excessive force in an attempt to control the masses. British politicians called for an inquiry into the professional conduct of the Hong Kong police, claiming that their actions went against internationally recognised humanitarian principles and international human rights laws. Protests were beginning to wind down in January due to injuries and arrests when the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic hit Hong Kong. Passion for pro-democracy was quickly replaced with a fear for life that transcended politics. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam faced growing criticism for her resistance to close all Hong Kongs borders with mainland China. The move was perceived to have left Hong Kong vulnerable to the spread of the virus and intensified widespread distrust in the government.
Climate change and the Hong Kong protests are both justifiably concerning in their own right and deserve to make headline news. However, an issue such as COVID-19 is a concern that cannot be downplayed or ignored, and it will not be bullied into submission. The virus is affecting every person on the planet today, and the world is currently experiencing a sweeping lock down with the most severe restrictions on personal freedom in modern history.
The Big Issue
The need to practise social-distancing and self-isolation has become a necessity, and the level of uncertainty regarding the pandemic is high. However, one thing that has become crystal clear over the past two months is our reliance on the global supply chain. For example, we are fighting a massive global shortage of face masks, with Italy in desperate need of at least 10 million more masks, after South Africa delivered 800,000 to the Coronavirus-stricken country. However, countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, Germany and Russia banned the export of face masks with many other countries following suit in a bid to protect their citizens. The borderless nature of the Coronavirus means that it requires a combined effort to tackle any supply chain issues. Multinational freight forwarders are perfectly positioned to address these challenges and to support countries who are being hit hard.
Panic buying, constrained supplies and politics are placing unprecedented pressure on freight forwarders with many finding it difficult to navigate the uncharted territory of a multifaceted crisis. However, well-established companies such as Avion International Freight Forwarders, are demonstrating indomitable staying power with their strong presence in major virus hotspots across Europe, China and Hong Kong. Less resilient forwarders are buckling under the pressure and businesses are looking for more robust freight forwarders to deliver their valuable cargo to these destinations in the most difficult of circumstances. The Avion Group are operating as usual while adhering to strict social distancing protocols. Avion’s global network of affiliates is working together to ensure that the supply chain is kept moving to deliver goods to destinations worldwide. Warehouse facilities are well managed with strict safety and social distancing practices in place to protect all employees and to ensure that clients storage, pickup and delivery needs are met. Give us a call today to discuss your freight forwarding requirements.