Nature’s Hand-Break

This morning I was blessed to see this infographic on Twitter from the ever-inspiring Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer of the National Health Service in the UK.

At a time of nervousness and apprehension around the current COVID-19 outbreak, examples like this of a silver lining shine brightly for me.

Let’s review some of the stats:

  • 290 people joined from all over the UK joined virtually
  • 290 people saved 4.5 hours of travel each on average
  • 6,525kg of carbon saved
  • £12,000 saved on London venues
  • £52,000 saved on train travel

Now we do not know what the user experience was like, the effectiveness of the virtual conference, how well it was facilitated, etc at this stage, yet these metrics are eye-watering to behold and should provide ample space for personal, work and societal reflection.

I am mindful of those that are suffering due to the current outbreak, but also must keep a pragmatic view when compared to other diseases and natural causes.

Economic & environmental rebalancing

Now as someone that is employed by a multi-national organisation I am fully aware that these savings equal loss of income for others.  The pain of economic rebalancing is real, and it will require new social structures to support everybody over time, but in terms of this real-life example and the current COVID challenges, what if this is nature, right now, pulling on a global handbrake of ‘this is enough?’

With mental health stats going through the roof, people are feeling increasingly disconnected, the gap between rich and poor is ever-widening and more, it feels to me like mother nature is giving us an opportunity right now to slow down, to re-appraise our approach to our unique chance to be on this planet and to reflect on what really matters, both personally and collectively.

This is not a fun time.

I am not naïve.

I am however hopeful.

To think that as a result of the current pandemic, we ‘could’ start meaningfully turning around climate change, we could spend more time with our families and communities as we travel less, there is more money left over to pay people better and contribute to societal projects more meaningfully, etc  These ideas in combination whilst still ‘doing business as usual’ only 8 weeks ago seemed like a pipe-dream, yet today, they all seem highly viable, and collectively.

Indeed, I have shared the above infographic with my work organisation today and asked if I can be trained as a super-user on our Microsoft Teams technology to aid my work organisation and peers/organisations outside of that, to facilitate more effective virtual conferences and help ensure human connectivity remains high, especially during periods of challenge.

I never thought that being an Interpersonal Catalyst virtually could be as interesting as it is in-person, but this infographic inspires me that everything is possible.

I will ALWAYS prize in-person connection over virtual, but to have a robust alternative in place that allows us to continue to unleash connected, human potential at times of crisis; I am all-in for this.

The time to embrace without fear an alignment of tech and human is here, in one of the biggest experiments ever run.

Oddly, in a small way, I am grateful to mother nature for pulling on the handbrake, I sense that we will see a better world as a result of it.


Garry Turner
Garry Turner
Combining a powerful mix of international sales and culture expertise, Garry is facilitating individual and team transformations as an interpersonal catalyst. With over 20 years of sales and relationship building experience and qualified in organisational design and development, learning & development and as a chartered member of the CIPD, he focuses on bringing intentional human-centred working to all walks of life, and has the evidence to validate this necessary paradigm shift. Whether through connection-centred workshops, keynote talks, live events or through Thinking Partnerships, Garry is driven by his two non-negotiable core values of growth and connection.

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  1. Garry — Well said. The big benefit at the moment: “We could spend more time with our families and communities as we travel less.” I do not mind my wife not traveling as much. I do not mind not looking forward to my own travel. We will get better at the virtual communications as the demand increases.

  2. I think people are so afraid of this ‘stand still’ that has been imposed on some businesses.

    Let’s face it we are dependent creatures, most of us. We depend on the neighborhood grocery and pharmacy. I agree with you, this is a time to slow down, to reassess–real needs vs. plain panic and hoarding. That is a sign of serious emotional crisis. When all of the grocery stores are closed around me, I might begin to have a mind shift and I might become concerned… but … so will my neighbors, so it will be a time to come together, to ration, to share to combine.

    This life is temporary. This is a time to make the best of it.
    Good article!

    • thank you Laurie for such a thoughtful reply and comment.

      I totally empathuse. Yesterday I had to drive around 3 supermarkets trying to find toilet paper (in addition to normal groceries) unheard of! yet at the same time my wife and I were mindful of others also in the same boat and to not take too much.

      Our innate interconnectedness and share humanity HAS to be a positive result of the current shift. The old ways of extreme division of rich and poor to the detriment of the Earth just won’t be acceptable anymore. The consciousness shift was already picking up the past 18 months, mother nature just dropped us on our head from a big height to wake up I feel!

    • thank you for sharing Wendy. It is difficult finding the right balance of hope and pragmatism in our current times, but I do feel we need more systemic conversations as to what may emerge collectively vs just the short term fears, whilst I acknowledge them. thank you again for feeding back. Garry