Fan art of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.  (Mandy Stobo/@badportraits on Instagram)]

Maggie’s take

The good, the bad & the pandemic

It’s worth remembering that there’s always
a light at the end of a dark tunnel
By Jasmine Graf

YOU DON’T need me to tell you that things aren’t great right now. Some of us have lost our livelihood, some of us are no longer able to see family, and some of us came home from school three weeks ago not knowing that it would be for the last time.

Another piece of Dr. Deena Hinshaw fan art.  (Allison Dakin)

Just two months ago, none of us could have imagined a deadly virus would be spreading around the world. Terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation” weren’t in our vocabulary.

Now, they are our new normal.

Canada’s Government Operations Centre suggests that, as a best-case scenario, these intense preventative measures are expected to last until July. That isn’t taking into consideration people who won’t follow the guidelines, or the predicted second and third waves of this virus.

However, as in any dark time, it is important to remember the good things. While COVID-19 has caused thousands of event cancellations and store closures, it has also brought about positive changes that could impact our future for the better.

We have witnessed the rise of new everyday heroes; people who were previously overlooked are now guiding us through this global emergency with vigilance and precision.

Most notably in Alberta, the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has provided consistent updates on the situation, both through media conferences and Twitter. Her stoic expression has since become an inspiration for fan art, and even T-shirts carrying the phrase: “What would Dr. Hinshaw do?”

Proceeds from the Rosendaals’ Hinshaw T-shirts will go to Alberta food banks.  (@dinnerwithjulie on Twitter)

The shirts – created by Calgary-based sisters Alison and Julie Van Rosendaal – were sold online and raised $20,023 in only three days.

Now, the Rosendaals are giving back to Alberta communities by splitting the proceeds equally among 10 food banks.

But the Calgary sisters aren’t the only ones stepping up to help. Local distilleries and breweries have converted their resources to making hand sanitizer, giving it away for free in an effort to alleviate the shortage. Some local restaurants have also started donating proceeds to food banks, even going the extra mile to provide free meals for those most in need.

Most remarkably though, the Earth has started to heal. Photos from the European Space Agency show how regions most severely impacted by the virus – such as Italy and France – have seen greenhouse gas emissions considerably decreased from those of this time last year.

Even China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, had emissions drop greatly over the course of its lockdown.

If a couple months of decreased human pollution can make such a drastic difference, imagine what a few years could do. This virus is in no way convenient, but maybe – just maybe – we will come out of it as better people, and a better humanity.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Italy (top) and France (bottom) have significantly reduced from last year.  (European Space Agency)

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