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All life is an ecosystem, symbiotically working for the good and the sustainability of all. Business and life should not just be a matter of quid pro quo or “what can I get out of this?”.Tony van niekerk
Amazing opportunities Revealed
Ecosystem: “all the living things in an area and the way they affect each other and the environment” – Cambridge Dictionary.
We can look at ecosystems as one big system, Earth, but we can also break it down into various smaller focus areas, such as a geographical areas, economic groups, social groups etc. I found this fascinating article which could inform our thinking and strategies around ecosystems.
COVID-19 has revealed major weaknesses in all our various ecosystem, but it has also revealed major strengths and opportunities. It revealed the reality of inequality. The stark reality of people living from day to day, having no certainty of income and having no access to emergency funding, emerged within days of the lockdown starting. This does not only pertain to individuals but also informal and most small formal businesses.
However, within as many days civil society, business and Government sprang into action.
Millions of people were being fed daily by NGOs as well as people who have never been involved in feeding schemes.
In many areas physical kitchens were put in place with the assistance of volunteers from all over and communities started feeding themselves with donated produce.
Financial institutions, in an unprecedented move, started giving clients payment holidays and insurers started giving premium holidays and discounts.
Then Government launched large scale funding assistance to SMS at the same time as several large institutions and philanthropists provided billions in assistance.
All of the above happened within day or weeks from the pandemic hitting us. The question is:
“Why did it take a disaster of such huge proportions before we initiated these initiatives to create a stronger, more inclusive society where we ensure everyone is fed, small businesses are proactively assisted to grow and financial institutions make decisions based on factors other than pure tick box checks and balances?”
We have been trying to solve the traffic congestion issues for decades, coming up with all sorts of creative but costly ideas for new roads, public transport etc, all the while knowing that the problem will be solved if more people work from home. We thought it could never work to have 20% of staff work from home. Now 80% started working from home within three weeks.
We need to use this threat to our way of life to create a new way of life. A way of life where we ensure every citizen has access to healthy meal, daily, where we all work together to create employment by stimulating small business growth, where Government and large institutions stimulate these initiatives by releasing funds into the market. We did it now, why not before disaster strikes ?
All life is an ecosystem, symbiotically working for the good and the sustainability of all. Business and life should not just be a matter of quid pro quo or “what can I get out of this?”
The question we should all be asking is how can I do what I do in such a way that it benefits us all. Don’t wait for the “other side” to also think like that.
Start from your side and the cycle will quickly turn positive. Working together we can create a new South Africa.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples” Mother Theresa.