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UNESCO Spotlights What Our ‘Next Normal’ Should Look Like

UNESCO’s new campaign asks us to question our ideas about what is normal, suggesting that we have accepted the unacceptable when it comes to our environment, economies, public health and societies for far too long.

While fears about the health of our financial future are top of mind, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cripple major economies — including the US’ — many of us are also concerned that a rush to get “back to normal” will erase some of the truly significant social and environmental gains brought about by the pandemic.

A new campaign by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) — which was founded due to a post-World War II conviction that that unprecedented conflict could give rise to a better, more united world — aims to reinforce the need (as the pandemic itself has done) for us as a species to slow down, take a breath and really consider the best ways to move forward in a post-pandemic world.

Yes, there has been egregious mishandling of response to the virus in various countries and states; and some outrage over how guidelines around masks infringe on personal freedoms — but, in large part, people around the world have showed solidarity during the crisis and have seen the value in enhanced cooperation for helping to build a better future. And many businesses pivoted in real time to help fill emergency needs around the world. But as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic and “get back to normal,” we can’t forget about the clearer skies, cleaner water and solidarity that have emerged from us taking a collective pause.

UNESCO’s “The Next Normal” asks us to question our ideas about what is normal, suggesting that we have accepted the unacceptable when it comes to our environment, economies, public health and societies for far too long.

The campaign is part of a wider effort by UNESCO to reflect on the world to come — through initiatives such as the UNESCO Forum, a laboratory of ideas bringing together prominent thinkers; the Futures Literacy Network and more.

Read more about UNESCO’s work to rebuild a better world …

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