Recently two major events made me think that our society is not yet ready for the big changes we have been living and facing in this 21st century.
The first one is the storm Gloria that impacted severely in Spain a few days ago with very strong winds, 8-metre-high sea waves , heavy rains and snowfalls, lots of accidents, electricity supply cuts, etc. This may be one of the many effects of climate change that we should seriously start taking into account by changing not only our habits to reduce this process, but also the way we build houses and infrastructures where the introduction of the concept of resilience regarding communications, emergency protocols, energy supply, etc. is being now mandatory.
The other event is the “coronavirus” that went off in China and is now rapidly spreading worldwide also due to the increased habit of travelling by plane on business and leisure in virtually any part of the globe.
Travelling is good for the growth of cultural knowledge and business and makes distances, once perceived as inconvenient and expensive, viable and comfortable. The issue is that the aviation industry is not yet structured for keeping an aircraft landed for too long to ensure proper cleaning and disinfection activities (also in normal times) as this has got a cost that currently cannot be compensated. Being aircrafts usually leased, they have to fly as much as possible to generate passengers revenues. For example, the low-cost carrier Ryanair operates with the policy of 25 mins max between the previous landing and the next takeoff.
As the spreading of diseases has got a high social cost (apart for the family grief suffered when a member passes away), probably the entire social system should re-think many of the economic pillars we based our economy on to reduce the possibilities of having other problems as the current one. Governments should play a leading role in this process, will they?
EPN Consulting CEO