Coronavirus will cause cultural changes around the world

Not long ago, smoking was a very common habit in private homes, offices and public places.Older readers may remember that on long-haul flights, people smoked in their seats, and the smell permeated the cabin, along with the health risks.Many non-smokers have to suffer the serious health risks of smoking in bars, restaurants, offices and other places.However, the movement to ban smoking in public began in the United States in the 1970s and gained momentum in the 1990s, leading to the passage of legislation in the United States and many other countries.The end result of these campaigns is that smokers in many places, such as Europe, have to smoke outside balconies or offices, restaurants or bars.Most hotels ban smoking in their rooms altogether, and car rental companies follow the same strategy.As a result, the smoking culture has changed to take more account of the feelings of non-smokers.

In recent decades, we have observed significant changes in many other cultural behaviors.

The current coronavirus crisis, with disastrous consequences in both the health and financial spheres, offers two important lessons in terms of cultural change and future options.

The first lesson is that it is easier than we think to maintain a social distance and forge a global policy of uniformity. It is not hard to persuade the world to move in the same direction.We thought it would be impossible to bring the cultures of the world together to understand each other.Yet judging by the reactions of countries around the world, this mutual understanding was achieved almost instantaneously, as all the barriers and cultural differences fell like dominoes to make way for a new culture of social distance.

The second lesson is that, whether we like it or not, to avoid the next crisis, a cultural shift in the treatment of nature, animals and other important issues must be achieved.The past 12 months have been crisis-ridden.Just when we thought the fires in Australia had been put out and we could breathe a sigh of relief, the coronavirus crisis arrived.We have learned that the human race can no longer be conventional, because if we do, the next crisis will force us to change — more than once.As a result, the current crisis, which has cost the world tens of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and spiraling unemployment, is likely to be the cause of the next major crisis.

There are many cultural habits we need to change, but as we learned from the coronavirus crisis, these changes can be made.For example, if we examine the capacity of hospitals in the Arab world and in many parts of Africa, it is not difficult to see that major changes are needed to prepare for and avoid major losses.

So it is crucial that the main issues on the next generation’s agenda focus first on the many changes that our culture and habits must make, and second on reprioritizing our policy and budgetary priorities.Today’s younger generation should think differently, be prepared to deal with issues that were not so important before, and empower themselves to be managers of cultural change.

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