The new leftist narrative: The Wuhan virus will help sustainability
With the "we're all going to die" panic having has run its course, there's a new idea trending on the left. According to progressives, the Wuhan virus is a blessing in disguise because it will push us even farther toward the sustainability that found its highest expression in the Democrats' Green New Deal. The reality, though, is that the Wuhan virus has exposed the terrible problems with leftist environmental initiatives.
Two recent viral videos illustrate how progressives are now spinning the Wuhan virus as a blessing in disguise. To understand these videos, you have to appreciate that leftist social media accounts have been awash in stories and videos about the way in which the complete shutdown of the world's economy has lessened air pollution and returned animals to cities. Here are just a few examples:
Satellite images: Air pollution in India plummets 🛰— EarthSky (@earthskyscience) April 27, 2020
These satellite images over northern India show strikingly how aerosol levels have dropped since the Covid-19 lockdown began. Read more: https://t.co/25EUVJcaeL 👓
Image via ESA. pic.twitter.com/PlQh4dl9eE
NASA Satellite Data Show 30% Air Pollution Drop over the Northeastern US – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet https://t.co/ikZSs6ezoL— WhatsUpEnvironment (@environment_up) May 2, 2020
Before and after satellite images of air pollution across the Southeast due to the stay at home orders. Pretty amazing Reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide Associated with Decreased Fossil Fuel Use Resulting from COVID-19 Mitigation. More here-->https://t.co/L79fxZr9Fu #ncwx #scwx pic.twitter.com/lnu6RUiZKP— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) April 29, 2020
A viewer captured video of a coyote going for a stroll by Levi's Plaza in San Francisco during shelter-in-place order. https://t.co/EQyRcYwl3V— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) May 3, 2020
Family of wild boars filmed on Midland street https://t.co/JswdQCnuwE— Birmingham Live (@birmingham_live) April 18, 2019
nature is healing pic.twitter.com/taCDtT4KOe— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) May 3, 2020
Inspired by this information, progressives have been swooning over a video from a British poet who goes by the handle Probably Tomfoolery. In his poetic "bedtime story," which has 3.2 million views as of this writing, Tomfoolery talks about the horrors of a pre–Wuhan virus world filled with isolated people, polluting cars and planes, and animal-killing plastics. Thanks to the great lockdown, though, families love each other again, and nature is restored. It's "The Great Realisation."
The PBS News Hour has its own entry in this genre. Kelly Corrigan does exactly the same thing, looking ahead to the wonders of the post-Wuhan virus world, when families love each other again and the Earth heals.
The post–Wuhan virus reality probably won't match these progressive expectations. Progressives have already seen and panicked over the supply chain breakdown, whether of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or meat. The supply chain runs on fossil fuels.
Progressives have also seen, although they struggle to acknowledge it, that America's packed public transit systems (especially New York's) have been major vectors for the spread of the Wuhan virus, killing almost 100 transit workers across America. Public transit is a lynchpin of the Green New Deal. It doesn't help that mass transit is nowhere near as green as its supporters promise.
The high-density housing that the Obama administration tried to force on America's suburbs is also a problem. The Wuhan virus struck with its greatest virulence in America's densely packed cities, where people live stacked in tall buildings, in apartments that can be reached only via elevators or narrow stairways, and where they work in densely populated high-rises with vast shared ventilation systems.
Corporations are affected, too. In the past, they embraced sustainability and social justice, in a bid to optimize profits and to satisfy college-grad employees (all of whom were marinated in environmental Marxism). Now the Wall Street Journal explains how corporations are backing away from "sustainability," their former favorite buzzword. (It's a paywall article.)
The article begins with Lauren Singer, who lived a "zero-waste" life and specialized in selling eco-friendly products. The Wuhan virus, however, has made her realize that the modern world relies on packaged food for a reason: it lasts a long time and can help people survive temporary shortages.
With bottom lines hurting badly, says the WSJ, corporations realize that their sustainability and social justice initiatives — none of which has anything to do with their products, but all of which make college grads happy — are unaffordable luxuries:
Unilever PLC suspended a number of its "change initiatives" that tackle complex social and environmental problems. (The company's initiatives include water conservation and sustainable farming.)General Motors Co. killed its car-sharing program. Ford Motor Co. canceled an electric-car project and postponed autonomous vehicles. Starbucks has paused the practice of filling reusable cups.
Lastly, those American colleges and universities that churn out progressives who revel in the idea of a Green New Deal are falling apart.
Hey! Maybe the progressives are right to see good things coming in a post–Wuhan virus world. They're just looking in the wrong direction.