Optimism in pajamas

Can self-isolation help us rethink our consumer-driven society?

By Jana Rudnik

What you do affects me ― it has never been as visible as in these days. Like many of you, we at The Index Project are also in self-isolation, trying to do our part in combating the coronavirus epidemic by being anti-social.

It would be a lie to say that we’re not scared. Worried about our family and friends, not only in Denmark but spread around the globe, out of our reach now more than ever.

We are equally addicted to and terrified of the push-messages and live tickers, as even the good news, like the number of those recovered, are drowning in what feels like apocalyptic messages. At this point, we can’t foresee what this means for our health systems, our economies, our cultural institutions, hospitality, gastronomy and all the small, vulnerable businesses out there. There is no question that COVID-19 will have a profound impact on more than our health.

But, it’s not all gloomy. Until further notice, we’re much closer to leading the kind of sustainable lives that our climate (and Fridays for Future) demands of us. As China currently enjoys cleaner air, we’ll see more direct results of our reduced production, consumption and travelling. The world being on hold offers a unique chance to take stock, reflect on our path forward and ultimately pour our energy into re-designing what’s wrong. So our lives remain sustainable also AC — after Corona.

We choose to be optimistic. Not just to keep us sane but also, because what we see emerging amidst the bad news haze makes us root for a happy end. People are taking care of each other and finding creative ways to cope with this situation.

We love the help and shelter being organised in neighbourhoods for the sick or especially vulnerable ones. Andrà tutto bene, people across the world singing together on their balconies and cheering for those who work tirelessly in hospitals, pharmacies or grocery stores, putting themselves on the line. The fast-movers, who turn their businesses upside down to produce products we are badly in need of.

But also, we can’t get enough of the stories that tie us together on the most basic level, depicting our state of mind very accurately as we’re locked in-home office and start to look the part. Or the memes that make us laugh instead of panic. We need more of all of this to come out on top on the other side of these weeks yet to come.

Please share the stories that inspire you and make you laugh or initiatives everyone should know about ― you’ll make our day! Until then, stay home everyone and let’s keep each other safe.

We celebrate people, from far and wide, who use design to change the world. We call it #designtoimprovelife