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Why We Don’t Want a Return to Normal

This article originally appeared on Medium

AsI write this, schools and universities across Mexico are closed, along with almost all beaches, hotels, shopping malls, government offices, and a good chunk of businesses, small and large. If quarantine continues, other industries are expected to follow suit. In fact, according to the Mexican Employers’ Association, COPARMEX, 43 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises could go bankrupt.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands remain in their homes. Many — myself included — are looking after children who have seen very little of the outdoors for weeks, much less their friends.

These scenes are repeated in much of the world during this global pandemic. Some countries have implemented curfews, large fines and penalties for anyone who leaves their home. Faced with an unprecedented moment like this, it’s not surprising that we ask ourselves when we we can “return to normal.”

But the real question should be what is it that we consider normal?

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Ashoka insight

At Ashoka, we’re committed to systems change —efforts to rethink and redesign our social structures, institutions and culture. Our Fellows are building coalitions for change by bringing together young people, organizations and entrepreneurs who work for the planet and the climate.

To quote Naief Yehya, the truth is that “nothing will ever be the same and we will have to choose between continuing as before and founding a new world order.” Let’s build the world we want.