May there be a new normality?

Authored by Paola Campassi (Pro Natura Torino), Translated by Maria Giulia Rosini

The Covid 19 pandemic cannot be considered only a painful digression in our existence and in that of the world. It forced us to reflect on the need to change our lifestyle and socio-economic system that the West World built to the detriment of the natural environment and to the detriment of the rights of other populations and human beings.

Luckily, there are some alternatives: the movements for peace, social justice and for the environment have been talking about this theme for ages, but even if some progresses have been done, there are still too many contradictions between political statements – and the agreements between Countries during the Summits – and the actions taken, or rather, not taken.

The increased awareness due to ongoing pandemic can and must be the opportunity to re-launch these alternatives, in order to pass from the exploitation of relationships – among humans and with nature – to the care of them. We have to abandon industrial logistics of intensive cultivation and breeding in the production of food. We have to support small-scale producers, encourage short and local chains. In the organization of work, we have to increase personal services rather than production of goods. Regarding our consumption, we have to reduce waste and superfluous.

It is necessary to safeguard biodiversity and take a decisive turning point toward renewable and sustainable energy sources.

There is no lack of examples of good practices, as also proved by the tools analyzed by Breakthrough for Resilience project.

However, a greater vision and attention to future generations are needed. A well-managed Green New Deal could also be able to correct a lot of social and economical inequities, by finally setting the stage for a fairer and more sustainable future for all.

Will we be able to take the responsibility of realizing this change?

The covid19 pandemic caught everyone by surprise.

The covid19 pandemic caught everyone by surprise. There was no time to prepare for it very much, or at all. After restrictions were put into place, there was little space to be outside or even leave the house altogether. Life changed dramatically almost overnight. Now that some restrictions have been lifted, things are still strange, and there is a permanent feeling that they are not what they used to be. Bearing in mind our past experiences, it is difficult to grasp what has happened. In some ways, it feels like we are part of a sci-fi movie, that what we are living now is something that we have seen on TV before, and it is hard to match reality with fantasy. I think our brains are trying to adjust to the thought that a situation like this was never supposed to be something of the real world.

The speed at which things took place has also been significant. It is similar in situations where people have little time to adapt. Sadly, this happens often. People lose a close friend or relative without warning and need to adapt to a life without them. People also lose a job without much notice and there is a steep process to be employed again. It is in these situations when we need resilience tools the most, and yet, people seldom have knowledge or access to them. In the end, situations like these can happen any time to anyone in a different context.

The situation also applies to vulnerable people who are usually in need of help, for example, elderly people who live alone. Often, the health crisis has meant that they have received help and support that they did not have before. Perhaps there is an opportunity for that support to continue after the crisis ends. There is a free toolkit called “Stop the Curve” (“Frena la Curva” in Spanish: www.es.mapa.frenalacruva.net/views/map) that takes the form of a map where people can post different types of services they can offer during the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the country. People can also request help with services, which include:

  • Go the pharmacy for someone in need, eg.: an elderly person.
  • Go shopping for someone who needs it.
  • Chat
  • Company
  • Care for someone
  • Walk a dog
  • Take care of children
  • Help with information and orientation regarding public services available, public funds, administrative issues

The team has considered using this tool as a ‘community resilience tool’ that can also be applied to places and to conservation, for example, by pointing out areas where people can help with recycling facilities, growing urban gardens and others.

This is a resource that vulnerable people could use at any point to overcome unexpected difficulties, not only where is a health crisis.

“We won’t return to normality because normality was the problem”

“We won’t return to normality because normality was the problem”

During the lockdown I bumped into the aforementioned sentence. This statement got me thinking about the meaning that is often attributed to the concept of normality.

Does a universal concept for indicating “normality” really exist? Since I was a child, my mum taught me that no, it doesn’t exist.

From the ‘50s/’60s onwards we have been led to believe that leading a “normal life” meant relying on consumerism, on an indiscriminate use of natural resources, on an anthropocentric vision of the world and on an unconditional exploitation of planet Earth and part of its inhabitants.

Especially in recent years, humans have acted as undisputed owners of the planet. They have devastated entire habitats and their biodiversity; they have deforested, burned, polluted and killed. They have lived and still live in overcrowded environments, and they have forced animals to do the same. They have devastated indigenous people, and they have turned the other way when these people were asking for help; people from whom, before, they have stolen everything they needed.

During this time these behaviours have also been denounced by a large number of scientists who have warned us that if we are not able to reverse the course, COVID-19 will be just one of the many devastating epidemics that will affect humans.

COVID-19 has had the ability to show us how only after 2/3 weeks of almost total cessation of human activities nature has begun to recover its spaces and how it has started to clear itself of our misdeeds.

Skies – as well as rivers and seas – have turned light blue again, nights have returned starrier; air has stopped being unbreathable even in the most polluted cities in the world; animals have started to re-appropriate of their spaces.

Humans were forced to stop and reflect on the meaning that they attach to life and death, on their rhythms of life, on the things that really matter, on the loved ones, on their shortcomings and on everything they could lose if they don’t change their attitudes.

Nature showed us the strength of resilience. She showed us her willingness to be born again.

So, I ask myself: “Why prevent her from returning to shine coming back to what man believed was normal? Do you really want to return to that normality?

Personally, I don’t want to. I don’t want to go back to that normality “because normality was the problem”.

Autor: Maria Giulia Rosini

LIMITED LIABILITY SOCIAL COOPERATIVE OF FOKIDA “YIANNIS VOLIKAS”

Limited Liability Social Cooperative (Koi.S.P.E.) of Fokida, “Yannis Volikas”, as all the other social cooperatives (Koi.S.P.E.) is a legal person governed by private law with limited responsibility of its members that was implemented by the law 2716/1999. Social cooperatives are productive/commercial units and mental health units which are overseen by the Mental Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. Koi.S.P.E. of Fokida was established in 2006 by the Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health and its members are individuals . with psychosocial problems, professionals in the area of mental health municipalities,communities, , associationsand other individuals. Koi.S.P.E.’s main purpose is the socio-economic inclusion and professional , integration of individuals with psychosocial problems contributing to their rehabilitation and economic self-sufficiency. Today, Koi.S.P.E. of Fokida runs four sustainable economic activities, which are the following:

  • Organic products shop “Prasino Spiti”
  • Alternative tourism office
  • Soap laboratory under the name “Pure Soap of Delphi Olive Oils”.
  • Cleaning Services.

The importance of the Social Economy in the Resilience of people and communities


Social and Solidarity Economy, through social enterprises and cooperatives, is directly linked to the resilience of vulnerable groups and local communities. The social economy becomes more important in the crisis and post-crisis periods, as in this period of time the quantity of unprotected inhabitants increases, the unemployment growth and special measures should be taken to help the people survive.
Greetings from the Cooperatives Unit of the International Labour Organization  in Geneva.
This a moment of great disruption. Full or partial lockdown measures have affected more than 5 billion people around the world. Recent ILO estimates indicate that more than 436 million enterprises are at risk. Millions of workers around the world are without a job and unable to sustain themselves and their families. To die from hunger or from the virus” is an all-too-real dilemma faced by 1.6 billion informal economy workers, half the world’s total workforce of 3.3 billion. Values of solidarity and cooperation are more needed today than ever.
Historically, such values experience a surge in popularity during such times of crises, including financial crises, natural disasters and conflicts. This was the around the financial crisis  in Argentina, the global financial crisis  and the debt crisis  in Greece. Similarly, cooperatives and wider SSE organizations have been key community actors in responding to public health epidemics such as AIDS (Swaziland, Vietnam) , the relief and reconstruction efforts after natural disasters (Japan, Australia) and in post conflict settings  (Sri Lanka, Rwanda).
In the face of the pandemic and its aftermath business activities for many cooperatives and wider SSE organizations have suffered across sectors. While some sectors, such as food retail, may have seen a surge in business most others have seen a total stoppage or dwindling of their activities. In order to serve their members and communities, many of the cooperatives in the rural and informal economies are having to adapt and innovate in responding to needs pandemic and its aftermath. Others struggle to figure out how to access government relief measures in countries where such measures exist.
Cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy organizations are also mobilizing to provide relief for their workers, members, and communities in different aspects of the crises in the immediate to short term. Their support ranges from ensuring workplace safety and working conditions and stabilizing supply chains to shifting production toward much needed supplies, broadening access to relevant information on COVID-19 and advocating with governments to influence their policies to support their members and communities.
Credit unions and financial cooperatives are providing liquidity support to affected micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in countries such as Kenya, France, Ethiopia, Italy, Uganda and Canada. They are setting up solidarity funds and crowdfunding initiatives to support local businesses and vulnerable people.
Some cooperatives have transformed their products and services to meet urgent local needs for protective equipment, food supplies and care support. They shifted production toward much needed supplies like hand sanitizers and face masks and distributed them for high risk populations and frontline workers. Health cooperatives, including pharmacy cooperatives, are establishing support funds and distributing protective gear for their members, workers in essential enterprises and health care workers who are on the frontline of the public health care crisis.
Producer and consumer cooperatives are among key players keeping supply chains of essential foods and goods moving while also relocalizing production especially when produce coming from elsewhere is blocked. Agricultural cooperatives and consumer cooperatives have created direct supply chains in Japan. Coop Denmark’s Savannah project advances direct trade with Kenyan coffee producer cooperatives by shortening the value chain, enhancing product quality and building export capacities for producer cooperatives in the process.
Cooperatives and SSE organizations with strong presence in their communities are fulfilling a series of community support functions. Cooperatives in Italy are helping vulnerable people who cannot go shopping by themselves including in partnership with municipalities. Those in Japan and Korea are providing lunch boxes for disadvantaged elementary school children during school closures. In France they are producing service vouchers for disadvantaged populations, such as homeless people, for use in affiliated establishment offering hygiene and food services.
It is the nature of crises to expose new faults in a system or widen existing ones. Some thinkers predict a new global order. They point toward a rediscovery of the value of social state, especially as it pertains to health, education, social assistance. This is also a time when many people are realizing the need for transformative business practices that do not only care for the economic bottom line only, but also about social and environmental ones.
The value of cooperatives is recognized in the immediate crisis response. In some countries, like Italy and South Korea they are included in both consultation and implementation processes of government support measures. Their existing infrastructure and networks help in understanding emerging needs and implement support measures in an effective way.
What is important is that even after the crisis their role in the recovery and transformation of societies and economies beyond the immediate, but in the medium and long term is recognized. Toward that end it will be important for cooperative organizations to disseminate the knowledge on how cooperatives can help with enterprise transformation for instance in the case of bankruptcies, supporting worker-buy-outs of businesses through worker cooperatives can help preserve jobs.
Cooperative advocates can also share examples of how platform cooperatives work. Domestic workers and home-care workers in the US have been establishing their cooperatives using online applications. They are essential workers for ageing societies, but also face a deficit of affordable, accessible care services.
During these challenging times, at the ILO Cooperatives Unit we would like to reaffirm our solidarity with the cooperative and wider social and solidarity economy movements. We are convinced that cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy organizations will be instrumental beyond the emergency phase and well into the medium to long term recovery in the affected countries, as we have seen in many other crises contexts across history. We have all the confidence that their values and principles can guide the transition toward not only a new normal but a better normal.

The Greek case and good practice of Limited Liability Social Cooperative (Koi.S.P.E.) of Fokida “Yiannis Volikas” (Koi.S.P.E. of Fokida)
Limited Liability Social Cooperative (Koi.S.P.E.) of Fokida, “Yannis Volikas”, as all the other social cooperatives (Koi.S.P.E.) is a legal person governed by private law with limited responsibility of its members that was implemented by the law 2716/1999. Social cooperatives are productive/commercial units and mental health units which are overseen by the Mental Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. Koi.S.P.E. of Fokida was established in 2006 by the Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health and its members are individuals . with psychosocial problems, professionals in the area of mental health municipalities,communities, , associationsand other individuals. Koi.S.P.E.’s main purpose is the socio-economic inclusion and professional , integration of individuals with psychosocial problems contributing to their rehabilitation and economic self-sufficiency. Today, Koi.S.P.E. of Fokida runs four sustainable economic activities, which are the following:
– Organic products shop “Prasino Spiti”- Alternative tourism office- Soap laboratory under the name “Pure Soap of Delphi Olive Oils”.- Cleaning Services- Support Center for Social Economy

ILO COOP COVID-19 Solidarity Message

https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/cooperatives/news/WCMS_744958/lang–en/index.htm – Original post

Greetings from the Cooperatives Unit of the International Labour Organization  in Geneva.

This a moment of great disruption. Full or partial lockdown measures have affected more than 5 billion people around the world. Recent ILO estimates indicate that more than 436 million enterprises are at risk. Millions of workers around the world are without a job and unable to sustain themselves and their families. To die from hunger or from the virus” is an all-too-real dilemma faced by 1.6 billion informal economy workers, half the world’s total workforce of 3.3 billion. Values of solidarity and cooperation are more needed today than ever.

Historically, such values experience a surge in popularity during such times of crises, including financial crises, natural disasters and conflicts. This was the around the financial crisis  in Argentina, the global financial crisis  and the debt crisis  in Greece. Similarly, cooperatives and wider SSE organizations have been key community actors in responding to public health epidemics such as AIDS (Swaziland, Vietnam) , the relief and reconstruction efforts after natural disasters (Japan, Australia) and in post conflict settings  (Sri Lanka, Rwanda).

In the face of the pandemic and its aftermath business activities for many cooperatives and wider SSE organizations have suffered across sectors. While some sectors, such as food retail, may have seen a surge in business most others have seen a total stoppage or dwindling of their activities. In order to serve their members and communities, many of the cooperatives in the rural and informal economies are having to adapt and innovate in responding to needs pandemic and its aftermath. Others struggle to figure out how to access government relief measures in countries where such measures exist.

Cooperatives and wider social and solidarity economy organizations are also mobilizing to provide relief for their workers, members, and communities in different aspects of the crises in the immediate to short term. Their support ranges from ensuring workplace safety and working conditions and stabilizing supply chains to shifting production toward much needed supplies, broadening access to relevant information on COVID-19 and advocating with governments to influence their policies to support their members and communities.

Credit unions and financial cooperatives are providing liquidity support to affected micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in countries such as Kenya, France, Ethiopia, Italy, Uganda and Canada. They are setting up solidarity funds and crowdfunding initiatives to support local businesses and vulnerable people.

Some cooperatives have transformed their products and services to meet urgent local needs for protective equipment, food supplies and care support. They shifted production toward much needed supplies like hand sanitizers and face masks and distributed them for high risk populations and frontline workers. Health cooperatives, including pharmacy cooperatives, are establishing support funds and distributing protective gear for their members, workers in essential enterprises and health care workers who are on the frontline of the public health care crisis.

Producer and consumer cooperatives are among key players keeping supply chains of essential foods and goods moving while also relocalizing production especially when produce coming from elsewhere is blocked. Agricultural cooperatives and consumer cooperatives have created direct supply chains in Japan. Coop Denmark’s Savannah project advances direct trade with Kenyan coffee producer cooperatives by shortening the value chain, enhancing product quality and building export capacities for producer cooperatives in the process.

Cooperatives and SSE organizations with strong presence in their communities are fulfilling a series of community support functions. Cooperatives in Italy are helping vulnerable people who cannot go shopping by themselves including in partnership with municipalities. Those in Japan and Korea are providing lunch boxes for disadvantaged elementary school children during school closures. In France they are producing service vouchers for disadvantaged populations, such as homeless people, for use in affiliated establishment offering hygiene and food services.

It is the nature of crises to expose new faults in a system or widen existing ones. Some thinkers predict a new global order. They point toward a rediscovery of the value of social state, especially as it pertains to health, education, social assistance. This is also a time when many people are realizing the need for transformative business practices that do not only care for the economic bottom line only, but also about social and environmental ones.

The value of cooperatives is recognized in the immediate crisis response. In some countries, like Italy and South Korea they are included in both consultation and implementation processes of government support measures. Their existing infrastructure and networks help in understanding emerging needs and implement support measures in an effective way.

What is important is that even after the crisis their role in the recovery and transformation of societies and economies beyond the immediate, but in the medium and long term is recognized. Toward that end it will be important for cooperative organizations to disseminate the knowledge on how cooperatives can help with enterprise transformation for instance in the case of bankruptcies, supporting worker-buy-outs of businesses through worker cooperatives can help preserve jobs.

Cooperative advocates can also share examples of how platform cooperatives work. Domestic workers and home-care workers in the US have been establishing their cooperatives using online applications. They are essential workers for ageing societies, but also face a deficit of affordable, accessible care services.

During these challenging times, at the ILO Cooperatives Unit we would like to reaffirm our solidarity with the cooperative and wider social and solidarity economy movements. We are convinced that cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy organizations will be instrumental beyond the emergency phase and well into the medium to long term recovery in the affected countries, as we have seen in many other crises contexts across history. We have all the confidence that their values and principles can guide the transition toward not only a new normal but a better normal.

We are not all in the boat…

Originally posted on Facebook. Original author unknown.

WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT …
I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are sailing in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

Some are bringing in extra money with endless overtime, Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales. Others no longer have a job.

Some families of 4 will receive £5000 per month from the stimulus while other families of 4 will see £0 for the duration of it.

Some were concerned about getting a certain chocolate for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine and are seen outside.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey so don’t judge others by what’s happening in your boat, we are all just fighting our way through the storm.


Good luck to you all and we’ll see you in the calm

“Why not change their lives…the earth is touched, ready for change!”

Written by Vanessa MT

Do we sometimes think about what we want to achieve in our life? Why do we choose a certain path? Maybe we are so happy in our current place, but for many people it is good to give oneself the opportunity to launch a new project or make some changes and improve the quality of life … Many questions arise in our minds … New periods in the world, everyone can say that they feel more or less affected by this virus, each person thinks in their own way and creates an idea about this problem.

Why not change their lives or launch a new project. The earth is touched, ready for change.

The magical idea of mixing human and nature, minimalism, eco-life and responsibility and sustainable projects with our planet, or just live in a freer way. Endless opportunities can arise in our spirit and we can take advantage to have good changes in our lives. The busiest cities take more and more place in the word, we work, we live, and we don’t go out of this comfort zones. If you distance yourself a little, you can find something that you didn’t  search. A new adventure? Some new people? A new experience? Launch a sustainable project? Why not a new life?

We have a vast expanse of land with many new projects and few people waiting for us … These lands are the unknown and afraid depopulated areas. 

Maybe in this period we need more space for each one and more time to be with ourselves, always the change take quite time.

We proposed you to start to list the things you love and what you done in your life. You have some dreams? Run for your live as quickly as possible and go realise your dreams! Time runs so quickly, and we mustn’t waste our time.  We continue one easy or comfortable way maybe it’s your way but if is not, do what you need. “Never give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration nothing can go wrong”, citation by Ella Fitzgerald.

Europe faces increasingly differentiated demographic challenges territorially. Aging and depopulation will cause change in many regions, including rural and peripheral regions, and will have serious impacts on social and territorial cohesion, the provision of public services, the labour market and housing. Back to roots is a project to encourage people who want to develop a project in these areas. Migration constitutes specific challenges and opportunities, including the past economic crisis, now the corona virus crisis could provide an opportunity for a transition towards more sustainable and resource efficient economic structures if appropriate measures are taken. If you have one good idea to create your project you must be conscient to back root existence! You can find a lot of support web sites to share your ideas with the people who did some project in depopulated areas, you can share the progress of yours projects. In fact, the partner has started a considerable wide network to link together realities experiencing similar issues to cooperate and support each other, having a clear idea of communities’ needs and creating sustainable activities for the entire area. We can spread the same concept in different countries. The challenges present in such context are multilevel and touch different social and economic aspects, but also political and environmental, with the risk to leave entire areas of Europe completely abandoned. It’s a good way too to find inspiration if you haven’t got your own idea you can join one eco-social village or work in one project to help his achievement and to understand what the day is like…

If you are a dynamic person, dare and take the step towards a better life that respects your way of thinking and being. Take the step, many people, one new business, your family and the nature are waiting for you! See you soon!

What about resilience today ?

Written by Sarah (Mobilizing Expertise)

The world is a different place right now, and I hope that you and your family are safe and feel acquainted with the quarantine and your daily routine.

Such unusual times allows us to take time for ourselves and gives food for thought. It made me think about resilience, mostly defines as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, and the way we deal with it today, while facing this situation all together.

Let’s be positive !

 “Like tiny seeds with potent power to push through tough ground and become mighty trees, we hold innate reserves of unimaginable strength. We are resilient.”

Because of (or thanks to ?) the one who-must-not-be-named (I guess you have an idea), there’s a new surge of art emerging in the world, from musics, comics, poetry, movies, to posts on social media that shows how creative and inspiring people can be, no matter what happens.

One funny example of resilience that I’ve found is the #ArtofQuarantine social campaign, launched by the Looma Advertising Agency, based in Ukraine. They gave a new look to classic art pieces, that teach us how to behave during the Covid-19 crisis.

Here are some of the art pieces :

Let’s get inspired !

Now, time to ask yourself (and share it with us 😊) :

What does it mean to you to be resilient today ?

What do you see from your window? #StayAtHome

At times like this we take comfort in the simpler things.

Social media often has a bad reputation as it encourages us to disconnect from reality and enter a world of criticism, shaming and fakery. But in these COVID-19 days, weeks and now even months, social media has had its moment to shine. Staying connected has never been more important and with social distancing rules staying put we need a place to connect and reach our family, friends and even people we barely even know.

I was recently invited to a page called What do you see from your window? #StayAtHome. I’m always a little hesitate to join pages like this as it clogs up my Facebook feed and Im forever scrolling until a reach something I actually want to see but something made me click accept and i’, so glad I did!

The message of #StayAtHome is very important. To see all of us, from everywhere, uniting together for this cause is amazing.

We’re a great group of people connecting from 143 countries. Call your friends to upload the view from their windows. Let’s spread the message everywhere, and still #StayAtHome.

What do you see from your window?

The idea in itself, it very simple. Take a photo from what you see outside your own window? But it clearly has become more than that. The page is buzzing with a sense of community and togetherness. Some post photos of freshly baked bread, birthdays, a simple cup of tea, their back garden or the wildlife that makes it way to their window. It shows the moments in our life we usually take for granted and even the moments we sometimes miss.

Here’s a few of my favourites;

Why not join us in this busy online community and ask yourself this?

What do you see from your window?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/707296003356488/?fref=nf

With lots of love, keep safe, take care, and #StayAtHome ❤️