Connection Amid Crisis

by New Dream   |   March 31, 2020


Like you, the New Dream team has been busy these past few weeks transforming our daily lives, taking in information, and trying to make thoughtful choices under these urgent and significant circumstances. We sincerely hope that each of you and yours is healthy and as prepared as possible for the weeks and months ahead. 

COVID-19 is a public health crisis of a size and magnitude unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent decades. As we attempted to craft a thoughtful reflection about these unprecedented times, we found ourselves at a loss. We know that everyone, everywhere, will be touched by this unfolding crisis. At the same time, we know that many of you are finding new practices for grounding and connection, and that as a global community we will discover and nurture deeper forms of resilience than we could have imagined. 

This post offers some of our thinking, as fellow New Dreamers who are committed to finding ways to improve well-being for people and the planet. Our task has never been easy—and it’s become more difficult now as we all attempt to navigate the anxiety, worry, and uncertainty of this new normal. And yet, every day we see patterns emerging that show us paths forward that mean more, not less, connection; and more, not less, of what matters.    

Some observations we’re making: 

  • The impacts of this pandemic are exposing every day the inherent shortcomings of a system that’s designed to benefit the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the health, safety, and well-being of everyday folks. Working people and marginalized communities have always been made the most vulnerable within this economic system, and now we have a chance to fight for the transformative changes that our communities need toward a new and better world.
  • Health care staff, sanitation crews, grocery store workers, and other laborers and part-time wage earners—among the many people on the ground who are working hard to keep us safe—are finally being seen as the real heroes of our society, not billionaires or politicians.
  • What we do individually and collectively right now will shape the course of history and change the future. How we care for ourselves and each other, how we extend compassion, solidarity, and care toward one another—these acts will speak our truth and help to slowly create the world we want to see. Even at a time when we are understandably hyper-focused on our immediate needs and families, we can also be taking profound action on behalf of the collective good.
  • There has been an explosion of organizing in response to COVID-19. Through online outreach and connection, grassroots organizers across the world have spurred local efforts to build responsive networks at the neighborhood or community level, as well as efforts to serve more at-risk groups (such as people with compromised immune systems, people who are undocumented, incarcerated folks, and workers who will be out of jobs). A slew of resources are available for people to follow, use, and share, some of which we’ve linked to below. You can likely find more information by checking in online with activists and organizers in your community.
  • We can all seek to find silver linings during this crisis. Home cooking and family dinners are making a comeback; more people are taking up gardening, and learning more about their soil and place; crafters are sewing washable masks for healthcare workers; folks are embracing DIY and a chance to learn real-life practical skills; and in general we’re all getting a taste of how to be more self-reliant and less dependent on consumerism and the next “great” thing. Let’s embrace this moment and integrate these lessons into what comes next once the crisis has waned.
  • Thought leaders in diverse circles are pointing to the opportunity that this global “pause” offers to speed the transition to more just, equitable, and climate-friendly systems, from renewable energy to affordable health care for all. By supporting these efforts, we can move forward concrete roadmaps for how we, as a society, can do things differently once we’ve emerged from this crisis. The big question is, will we? And what can we all do to help?

How New Dream Fits In

At New Dream, we’re also bringing our programmatic lens to this curious time: what a moment to question consumption! It’s a natural instinct to think “every woman for herself” and to be persistent and thorough in trying to care for our immediate family and friends. We also know that New Dreamers are wired to think beyond the individual (of course, deep down we all are). 

Over the past year, as an organization we have invested our time, effort, and resources in engaging the voices of young people—the ones who are most impacted by choices around consumption and who are inheriting a planet in distress. Particularly now, young people have redefined what it means to be a global citizen, showing us that issues that affect some of us really affect us all, and that everyone’s voice is important and needed. For this reason (among many), we trust and believe in the leadership of youth. 

When we question consumption, one of the first places our minds go is a central question driving so much in our lives: what is enough? What is enough food? What is enough shelter? What is enough education? And then we consider parallel questions: What is enough connection? What is not enough? What is enough joy? What is enough laughter? 

No one has a crystal ball, but we know that difficult times lie ahead. What everyday consumption choices can we make, personally, that protect our lives and the lives of as many other people as possible? How can we think creatively and abundantly, even in these trying times? What can we each do to contribute to a healthier, more resilient community, country, world? 

"What everyday consumption choices can we make, personally, that protect our lives and the lives of as many other people as possible?" 

The current health crisis is shifting how we use our time and what habits we adopt (or let go). From canceling travel and social plans to making more time for walks, meditation, or catching up (virtually) with friends, many of us are shifting to use our time in different ways. Forced social isolation is contrary to human flourishing, in general, but it also opens up new ways of “spending” our time. 

What new habits have you adopted? Which habits will you work to maintain once the crisis winds down? What can we do to ensure that the systems that support “bad” habits change permanently when the crisis winds down?

Let us know at

Some Helpful Resources

Mutual Aid/Support

Community Organizing and Resources