Dear friends,

The consequences of the covid-19 pandemic are – and will be – defined by choices. Those choices should be based upon values, not value: compassion, courage and cooperation. Those have always been ours. Lets lean into them now. 

The struggle to contain the coronavirus is our number one priority as people and as an organisation. Life and death decisions are not only being made by doctors and nurses but by each and everyone of us as we practice physical distancing. Together, let’s make the right choices.

Greenpeace is a family. Like every member of this family, we are facing our own coronavirus challenges. We both live in countries that have adopted us, Germany and France, from the US and Argentina. Our worry for our parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews is compounded by distance and by health systems that might not be able to help them. It is hard to find balance in the emotional turbulence. But like all of you we find connection. We have discovered that in crisis our living rooms have become places to dance with our children and partners, revelling in the comfort of old and favourite songs! We hope you can find your balance, connections, and outlets.

We should all take the needed time: putting our families and our communities first. To take care of our children and the sick. And of course ourselves.

We are witnessing many acts of couragecompassion, and community that provide inspiration and underline the power of people. We can see all around a resolute desire to not only survive but to thrive. Let us continue to join the chorus of collaboration and celebration of the best of humanity in the face of adversity.

Let’s ensure that the stories we tell are of compassion for the most vulnerable, of coming together: countering the fear and blame.

While leading with compassion, let us also be vigilant.

In crisis, as we know the impossible becomes possible. For better or worse.

We all understand that in tackling the acute public health crisis and associated economic shocks, choices are being made that will have a profound impact on the chronic climate emergency.

We must prevent investment in industries with preexisting, planet wrecking and health destroying, conditions. And as the 2030 ‘climate’ tipping point fast approaches, these funds must be invested in public and planetary health. The vast previously ‘unavailable’ public funds must support a just transition to a better future, in which people and planet are in harmony: where every living being can thrive. We must hold leaders to account.

We must be vigilant against attempts to use the workers they normally exploit in poverty wages or exposed to deadly substances, day in day out, to capture and misdirect public support. The so-called ‘shock doctrine’ is in play, trillions of dollars, euros, yen are being pumped into the economy to try and inoculate it from the impact of the virus. Rules without consent are being adopted.

We must advocate for investment in the future. Rather than looking to the past to explain our current predicament, we should be looking to the future to see what must be done. A future that is open, cooperative, egalitarian, peaceful, in harmony with nature, and with public good as a driving force.

This virus does not have a nationality, it does not have an agenda or a political affiliation, it exists to spread where, when and how it can. The only thing that can stop it is community and cooperation.

This is not a time for blame or division. There are plenty of forces in the world doing precisely that for power and profit. We must lead by example, extending our values, platform and knowledge to others, especially the most vulnerable in our society. Perhaps that means forging unusual allies, in this most unprecedented of times, or doing things outside of our comfort zones and echo chambers.

We want, need and deserve from this new chapter in our planet’s story that deep lessons are quickly learnt, root causes fully addressed, and true political leadership established.

When this pandemic passes, our collective character and future potential will be defined by the choices we made to protect the most vulnerable. Not how we protected industries. It will be strengthened by the lessons that we learn. Each and everyone of us holds a piece of the better world we need, where compassion and cooperation are the keys to a safer fairer future.

The future is being written today, let’s write it together with all of our hearts and our humanity.

Jennifer & Anabella

Jennifer Morgan and Anabella Rosemberg are the Executive Director and Programme Director at Greenpeace Internationalrespectively.

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