The outbreak of Covid-19 has reminded us that pandemics are also natural disasters, although much more threatening. They are universal, affecting all human activities everywhere and individual human behavior plays a decisive role in their spread. The humanitarian and economic crises they cause must make us more aware than ever of the need to invest in their prevention.
Crisis upon crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has burst into a planet threatened by climate change and environmental degradation. On World Environment Day, mankind must return to action, aware that the fight to save the natural environment from degradation must continue. Effective communication is essential to modify behaviors and take advantage of the perception change of the territory we have had during the confinement.
The health emergency poses new challenges to urban planning. The criteria of sustainability are broadened with those of health, and the concept of healthy city radically changes if extreme poverty is not taken into account. The awareness that individual health is synonymous with collective health is one of the lessons of Covid-19 that we should not miss.
Beyond human tragedy, COVID-19 poses a reflection on how we relate to each other and to nature. And it leads us to another vision of the problems that beset the human species. The new society that is emerging from the crisis will have to integrate health emergencies into a more global vision with the values of proportionality and cohesion that are characteristic of the culture of the green economy. The path towards the SDGs must be aware of the fact that a pollution-free and ecologically balanced planet is synonymous with health.
The adoption of the circular economy in the complete water cycle is presented as the best option for achieving water security for large areas of the world in the face of climate change and demographic imbalances. The new productive model requires a communication challenge to achieve awareness and citizen participation in the understanding that the water cycle is a universal natural capital, knows no borders and is vital for the future of mankind.
Do we eat sustainably? The meaning of this sentence is different for someone living in NYC o in Dhaka, or for a farmer in the French Burgundy, in Anantapur or in the African Sahel. The responses do not allow us to draw global conclusions either. The food challenge faced by mankind is enormous: in addition to the need of water and land there is now the carbon footprint. The climate crisis is present in the diet of those who have the privilege of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. And what about all those who don’t?
The construction of buildings and cities cannot manage without water. The Smartwater initiative moves forward and expands towards the smart building industry: the Smartwater, Smartbuilding sessions. The We Are Water Foundation gathered leading experts from the world of architecture and design in Mexico City with the aim of presenting and sharing ideas to foster a debate that can be passed on to society as a whole.
In the progress towards global sustainability, the access to water and sanitation plays a double role: it is at the same time a tool and a goal of the solutions. From agriculture to the domestic supply, it provides essential information to attain SDG 6. To achieve it, governments and companies need to take into account the enormous existing asymmetries and ensure that no one is left behind.
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