It seems that Stephen Maseda, in his letter to the editor of April 4, has completely missed the point of Lynne Plambeck’s perceptive column (“Coronavirus and Its Changes,” April 3) regarding future benefits arising from the unfortunate circumstances that have become a part of our daily life. As she noted, past plagues and epidemics, though all were definitely tragic at the time, spurred beneficial scientific discoveries, inventions and innovations that may not have ever occurred without that impetus. All resulted from attempts to solve problems that were, at the time, a scourge on those societies.
One of the scourges that predominates in our society is that of an overabundance of carbon in our air, as well as other severe pollutants. We have had great relief from this scourge in our own city since we have had to shelter in place. Thinking people understand that the way this has been accomplished thus far is by many people being able to work from home, not finding it necessary to add carbon and other pollutants to the air, as they refrain from the usual daily commute. Another benefit is the gift of extra hours gained by not having to drive those miles. Perhaps we have also received this gift of time to think about other ways to improve upon our way of life.
Of course, it is true, as noted, that those who are considered service workers would not be able to take advantage of working from home. During this time we are able to see how important these workers are, and, perhaps would decide it best that they receive a higher wage, as they are often at the lowest end of our economic scale, and sometimes must keep up with more than one job just to make ends meet. It is also possible that improvements in the way this work is conducted could result in beneficial changes.
Perhaps another benefit of importance is we have been slowed down considerably, thus giving us some time to think about who we are and how we are living our lives. In many cases, it lets us realize how important our family and friends are in this whole scheme of things we call life. Hopefully the effect of this thoughtful period will remain with us for a long while, influencing our decisions regarding what we believe is important in our lives, our community and our world. Optimistically that would include treating our planet with the great respect that it deserves.
Let me hope that Mr. Maseda will peruse Ms Plambeck’s letter once again, take in its positive outlook, and consider and personalize the possibilities for improving our world for everyone. Lastly, here is a commitment each of us must make: I will do all I can to leave a better, cleaner, more peaceful and beautiful world for my children and grandchildren.