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COVID-19 teaches us interdependence

Interdependence is crucial for our health, economy and psychological well-being.

Without services like roads, education or public health, our lives would be far more challenging. Our strong American values rooted in individualism are important, but stop us from recognizing that what we consume, wear or own all depends on other peoples’ labor and government services. Because no person is an island, interdependence enables the full scope of individual freedoms we feel entitled to in the United States.

COVID-19 has shined a light on the importance of community – how we treat each other has life and death consequences. Since March 2020, more than 575,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. For most of us, this challenging year has made us reflect on what compassion means.

If more people would have adhered to public health recommendations, including wearing masks, many deaths would have been prevented and the economic impacts could have been less severe. More people would be back to work, local businesses would be healthier, fewer workers would have been in vulnerable situations. Our schools could be open if more of us recognized that protecting our neighbors from COVID-19 also meant maintaining our personal freedom.

As we move forward and strive for a more sustainable and compassionate future together, let us recognize our interdependence on one another, be this for public health or other governmental services, in maintaining our personal freedoms.

Only with interdependence is a sustainable future possible

Weylin Ryanr, board member of Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado