Today we are strongly focused on Covid-19 as though it was the problem to be solved at global level. Actually, the virus is the emergency, that is the urgency to act due to emerging problems that have their roots somewhere else.

Urgency of act which highlights the fragilities of the social and economical system that we created and which amplifies existing inequalities. According to current information, the pandemic has its origin in deforestation, intensive breeding, urbanization and consequent biodiversity loss and climate change, that science has been documenting for a long time, but that we struggle to face due to resistance to change at individual and political level. Human being, with its widespread propensity to trust in miraculous solutions and the inadequate contrast to illicit trafficking of wild animals, is responsible for the spillover and the spread of pathogens.

In front of pandemic, inequalities between centre and periphery arise, at local, national, global level.

Access to health care and adequate hygienic conditions are the answer to the emergency that we are living, but then we realize that access is not granted to all. In front of the rhetoric of the safe home and family, the silence of women victim of domestic violence sounds even louder, in a world which is denying equal dignity and rights to women. Digital divide is no more an issue for experts, but it’s actually taking shape and the access to digital competences, devices and infrastructures becomes a necessity, no longer an option. We discover that someone collects the agricultural products on our table, usually migrants who work in the fields, threatening in our harbours, invisible and without rights on our lands. Today smart working is an extremely important solution which allows many people to go on working and to bring home the salary and we realize that it helps reduce traffic and pollution. Before the emergency, many managers opposed this solution because it involves their roles and their competences. Now will we be able to preserve this way of working in the future, ensuring the relationships connected with workflows, the right to disconnect and a real gender equality?

So let’s take action on the emergency created by the pandemic, but let us re-think ourselves starting from those issues interwoven with the emergency. It’s a matter of perspectives, but it’s a fundamental step. We need to look forward and to embrace complexity, without being paralyzed by complexity. Problems are complex, we need complex competences. An overall vision is more difficult, but it’s also the only antidote to the always more common populist messages, which simplify and iron out reality.

Good times for a change” sang The Smiths in the ’80, when we already talked of sustainable development. May we imagine that the experience of the pandemic, with all suffering and difficulties that it causes, could finally and actually urge an individual and collective change, keeping together social, economical and environmental sustainability?