Living Sustainably During COVID-19

by Katrin Scholz-Barth, President, SustainableQATAR

Viruses aren’t the only things that spread through networks of people. Attitudes and behaviors do too, says Yale professor Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, who has studied how this works. 

“We’ve shown that altruistic behavior ripples through networks … . Networks will magnify whatever they are seeded with. They will magnify … love and altruism and happiness” as well as sustainability action.

“What can I do?” is the question on everyone’s mind, during these complex and challenging times, when the world as we know it seems to spin out of control, completely. With COVID-19 on a global rampage, we can take control of our personal actions right here at home, in Qatar.  

Get local! How are your home, your family, your garden, your friends? Now it’s the little things that count. Look up and notice them: the fresh shoots on the trees indicating spring; the birds chirping and taking sand-baths in every depression, and the neighborhood dogs and cats just as desperate for a smile and calm word of kindness.

To find a balance in our new home-bound routines we believe that now there is an ever-greater need for purpose, meaning, and perspective. When we focus on what’s right in front of us at any given moment and notice the small joys, we gain perspective. We take control! Anxiety and fear dissipate. Being grateful for the small things and the simple pleasures is very powerful and empowering to take personal actions. 

Get involved! Volunteer and put skills and talents to use. Small acts count and make a big difference. 

On April 22, 2020 EARTH DAY celebrated its 50th anniversary. This COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that now, more than ever, is the time to celebrate nature’s abundance, engage with nature, learn from nature and take nature’s signs of distress seriously and make community health and well-being a top priority through personal actions. See SustainableQATAR’s 50th Earth Day Celebration video.

Follow SustainableQATAR’s 52-Weekly Challenges to continue to live sustainably and turn personal actions into meaningful change. We strive to navigate and course-correct as the situation requires to make every day count. Show your resilience! Positive energy and community action, especially during a difficult situation, can lighten our hearts and make us feel more powerful. Thank you to all the change-makers out there who are making this happen, in Qatar!

We all choose the lens through which we see the world. SustainableQATAR follows a vision: to build an educated, connected and engaged community with our activities and programs to contribute to making this world a better place – a more sustainable Qatar that continuously grows toward regenerative development.

The formula during these testing times is pretty simple:

  • Practice physical distancing and limit physical contact.
  • Engage in virtual social connections to stay united and support each other. 
  • Get involved and volunteer, to put your skills and talents to work in your spare time. Small acts count and make a big difference.

If you are searching for a purpose and have some spare time to fill, please join SustainableQATAR in making a difference. While we must practice “Physical Distancing” now, we still need strong social networks to support each other and get things done! 

SustainableQATAR invites you to get/stay involved online with skills and talents to support our many ongoing projects. Let’s do our best during the temporary home-bound lives to keep building our resilience by embracing new opportunities with enthusiasm! 

Let’s seed our networks with this renewed purpose to magnify sustainability actions, to change behavior and change the world together, regain perspective and deal with the unavoidable reality of a climate crisis. That is in our control! 

Here are a few resources for home-bound lives and a few tips and suggestions everyone can do: