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And Then We Realized… We Are Human After All

The following is the intro text to our latest Humankind newsletter. A message of hope. You can read the entire newsletter here, and subscribe here.


And then we realized… we are human after all. What a weird time to be alive. For many of us, this is the first crisis of this scale we have to deal with. Of course, we hear the word ‘crisis’ quite often in the last years. But the COVID-19 virus really disturbed our daily lives in a way the climate crisis - unfortunately - never really did.


If you feel overwhelmed by emotions, not knowing what to do, maybe these tips can help you. Don’t worry, we all go through the same process. It is just too much to take in, and let’s not pretend we can be experts in virology, crisis management, and economy from one day to the other. This is a moment to practice trust. By being responsible yourself, taking care of others and listening to the experts. In times of crisis, it is hope and trust that we need to move forward.


And there are more reasons to be hopeful than ever before. Historian and bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari does not deny that the coronavirus crisis is the worst global health threat we have faced in at least a century. But he also reminds everybody that "modern medicine" leaves us in "a better position than any previous time in history.


Interesting that historians like Harari and Rutger Bregman are those now giving us insights into the future. Where in the past studies like history - or sociology or philosophy - where quite unpopular (because who needs the past when you have the future?), now we realize that we need to use the past to create the future. And make the present bearable.


In our newsletter (which you can read here), we share an excellent book "Uncharted: How to Map the Future Together" by Margaret Heffernan. She urges us to cure our addiction to prediction, a result of our desperate need for certainty about the future. We must instead use our own creativity and humanity to create the futures we can believe in. Quarantine might feel like bad news, but it’s also a great opportunity to take some time to read good books. Don’t forget to buy them at your local bookstore, support the local economy!


This moment of crisis can be our opportunity to create a world that is human and kind to ourselves, others and our planet. Let’s not feel powerless by news on corona and bad human behavior. “For every antisocial jerk out there, there are thousands of doctors, cleaners, and nurses working around the clock”, says Rutger Bregman in The Correspondent. For every panicky hoarder, there are 10,000 people doing their best to prevent the virus from spreading further.” We all have seen the beautiful videos of acts of creative kindness in Italy and respect for our healthcare workers.


As city makers, we must learn from this, and go that extra mile to make our cities more sustainable and just. It is time to prioritize what really matters. We, humans, need each other. We are our social connections. Let’s make sure that this moment of social isolation is a reset, so we extend the care for the other beyond our family, friends, or compatriots. Let’s practice real kindness, and build our cities based on those values. So these terrible situations in Greek refugee camps are something of the past.


At Humankind we are using these times of social distancing to prepare to work even harder on an urban future based on solidarity and connection. If you have ideas or plans we can contribute to, let us know. Take care!


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