Having time on our hands during the current health emergency allows us widowers and widows to muse about the past. I have found this rewarding with my single daughter, an educator forced to stay home during our the crisis.

Perhaps even more important for us seniors, we should muse about how we can help protect future generations from future crises, for example, the inevitable, future pandemics and the inevitable future Earth crises, such as  climate change.

Though world health crises differ from global climate crises in some respects, after only a little musing, I found they have amazing similarities. First, to deal with them both effectively, preparation is essential, something which did not adequately happen to the former and is not adequately happening for the latter.

Secondly it has been the scientists who have been correct in their diagnoses and who have not been adequately listened to, nor supported with funds, let alone respected.

Thirdly, these emergencies require all levels of government to be able to cooperate with each other in order to deal with them, local, national and especially global governance. This cooperation is undermined by the "my nation first" syndrome. I would l hope seniors with a longer-term experience would push more global cooperation, not competition.

It is ironic, though only peripherally acknowledged, that the results of regulating our lifestyles brought about to mitigate the health crisis is fighting climate change quite effectively as well by reducing emissions.

Seniors with the wisdom that comes from a long life should remind us all that healthy relationships and focusing on spiritual truths are more important than than accumulation of stuff and the worship of economic growth.

They should teach us by word and example that moving from an Industrial Age into Sustainable Age is essential and possible. Primatologist Jane Goodall believes we will need to simplify life to do so. Up to now it has been the youth pushing to deal with the climate crisis.

Let us seniors combine our wisdom and Goodall's perspective with Greta Thunberg and her fellow youth's energy, and the truthful view that our house is on fire.

Our society can learn better ways to fight the climate emergency than by neglecting preparation, scientific warnings and global cooperation in dealing with today's pandemic.

Harris Webster


The writer is a former secondary school social studies teacher.

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