This crisis is unprecedented in so many ways, but it does fall into the familiar trade-off between saving lives and saving livelihoods. Most sensible political leaders and societies value the primacy of human life and understand that long-term, the best thing for the economy is to flatten the curve. The economy will suffer in the short-term, but today’s sacrifice is necessary for long-term public and economic health.
The choices we are currently making in this trade-off are exactly the choices we seem unable to make when it comes to climate change. Yes, there are many differences between COVID-19 and climate change, but I’m curious how this crisis might be an accelerated test of a much bigger and longer-term trade-off we will need to make in the coming years and decades. Will we be willing to make economic sacrifices so we can save lives and save our planet? What lessons will we draw from this current trade-off? And, how might the economic pain of this crisis make us less willing to make those trade-offs in the future?