Covid-19 has impacted our lives deeply. Some have got sick or died and many of us are concerned for the health of our own and our close ones. Social distancing has impacted our relationships, mental health, the way we work and the way we spend our time. Economic crises has left many unemployed and worried about their families' income.
Life has become especially hard for people, who have family in different countries. Many haven’t seen their loved ones for months because of travelling difficulties and restrictions.
Although this has been a tough year, every cloud has a silver lining. Some good things have also come with Covid-crisis.
Distance working is here to stay. Hopefully still after the crisis we can avoid useless business travelling and use distance meetings whenever possible. Hopefully people can also work from home in the future whenever it is possible for employers and employees.
Crises has also made us re-evaluate what is truly important in life and in the society. The importance of health, well-being and our loved ones has crystallized. Nature has become more important for many, when leisure activities are limited.
Finnish society has proved its strength in this situation. Social security system has helped people who lost their jobs. Public healthcare has taken care of those who got sick. People have voluntarily helped their neighbors during the lockdown. High level of digitalization has smoothened social distancing and distance working. Political system has been able to make the needed decisions. The result is that the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis has not been so deep in Finland as it has been in other European countries.
Many expat Finns have moved back to Finland this year; brain-leak has turned around. Maybe in windy times people want to be close to their loved ones and the stability of Finnish society is seen as something truly valuable. Not only we have seen people returning to Finland, but also we have seen people moving from large cities to rural areas inside the country. This is an interesting turn which might reflect larger change in values, ways of lives and preferences. It remains to been seen, if the trends are temporary or more permanent.
There is no going back to the old normal and the new normal is still taking its shape. Crises has made our minds and political landscape open to change. This is a good time to really think, what the most important things in life and society are, and how we can build a better life, minimise the inequalities and at the same time adjust our lives in coherence with the limits of nature. This is not the last crises, worse will unfortunately come if we don’t take the global warming and ecological crisis seriously.
People and politics have been able to make big changes rapidly in order to protect life and health from the virus. We also need to make big changes to protect us and our kids from the global warming. But in the fight against covid-19 and the global warming, we must remember to leave no one behind.
Hanna Sarkkinen is a member of the Finnish Parliament from Oulu constituency representing The Left Alliance.
This article was written for MP Talk, a regular column from the Helsinki Times in which Members of The Finnish Parliament contribute their thoughts and opinions. All opinions voiced are entirely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Helsinki Times.
The articles will be published in order of arrival.