We are a world of nations dealing with imminent threat; we are individual people and families dealing with imminent threat. In this coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing in clear and visceral ways how our government, health care, and economic systems are failing us—and have been failing us for a long time.
Of course, the effects of climate change have been showing us this, too. But climate change catastrophes hit different countries with different meanness at different times, and it’s too easy to be lulled into a chronic, back-of-the-mind fear. The coronavirus has radically changed business-as-usual for everyone. It has terrified us out of our daily routines and small-scale thoughts.
Our world is experiencing its human interconnectedness—our responsibilities to each other, our government’s responsibilities to its people, our relationship with nature and science and industry. If you draw a line from the bat in the market in Wuhan to all of the human choices made since then, it’s astounding to see how intricately woven are our fates. That interconnectedness is visible in the computer simulations of virus vectors exponentially moving through our global population. Specifically, we see it in our social media feeds as strangers come together to raise funds to help laid off restaurant workers and as neighborhoods organize grocery deliveries for elders, and child care for parents with school-age children.
Yes, this has been a terrifying jolt. Yet communities are rising to the challenge with compassion and creativity, exercising important skills for an uncertain future. When the virus has run its course and we are left to deal with the aftermath, we will be wiser and more resilient. Many people will be transformed, more willing and better armed to help build a more just and sustainable world.
This is what our summer print magazine issue will focus on.
Send us your leads and pitches for reported stories on community initiatives or groups responding to the coronavirus pandemic with creative and compassionate solutions.
Reporters, what’s happening in communities near you? Tell us about the movements toward more just health care. The economic resilience of cooperatives. The compassionate response of mutual aid societies. The relevant preparation of the Transition Town movement. The power of local and regional governments and groups to step up when the federal government fails us.
We are looking for themes of solidarity, community activism, environmental stewardship, decolonization, racial equity, economic fairness, and well-being and caretaking.
This issue will:
Look forward. We will examine the ways in which this event is a rehearsal for other global disasters, including climate change. We will find the system changes and community responses that work not only in this coronavirus crisis but also will help create a better world.
Inspire. We will show how we gather strength through community and are empowered by the beautiful regional and local responses across the globe in all areas—transportation, entertainment, education, small business, public policy, health care, food security, faith. We will find the spiritual lessons that people might take from this unique moment.
Celebrate. We will spotlight the everyday heroes emerging in this crisis—groups, movements, individuals, and communities rising to the occasion and inspiring the rest of us. We will lift up the strategies and practical policies that are protecting our most vulnerable people and leading us toward just, sustainable, and compassionate practices for the future.
All of the stories we seek will be examples of excellent journalism and storytelling: stories that have compelling characters, are well-researched, and demonstrate struggle and resolution. Hurry and send your pitches to [email protected] by April 3. After that, you can continue to send them to [email protected].