The stars were aligning. Plans were being made, and big things were going to happen in 2020. Just three months ago, sometime in January, the Bamboovement was planning a trip with the Trans-Mongolian Express, from Moscow to Beijing by train. The idea was to meet up personally with our manufacturers and discuss the possibilities regarding product development. However, we figured we had to cancel these plans due to the developing coronavirus in China, already at the very beginning of 2020. Instead, we booked tickets for exhibitions and conferences closer to our home and would be going to London and Hamburg instead. What we didn’t know by then was that a virus would soon shake up the whole world. One that would continuously be ahead of us. One that soon was to be called an undetectable enemy, according to different presidents around the globe. Disturbing, the very core of our lives. Let’s start at the beginning and go back to the times before the coronavirus was everyone’s #1 priority.
Time to shine
The day we left wasn’t holiday-like at all. Grey and rainy it was. Wet roads and chaotic traffic jams made the drive to Calais even more exhausting. However, all of this changed once we got off the train in England. An azure sky accompanied by a brightly shining sun awaited us. All too happy we interpreted this welcoming as an indisputably positive omen with regard to the two events we would be attending.
A conference by A Greener Festival (AGF) was the first. Festivals that had distinguished themselves, concerning environmental-friendly, innovative, and creative approaches to a sustainable event, were going to be rewarded by AGF. This one-day event also provided a stage to many different speakers, with varying responsibilities and initiatives. It was so inspiring to hear all those ideas and intentions to transform festivals, into something more like sustainable and circular communities.
The second event was called HRC and enabled suppliers of hotels, restaurants, and caterings to display their assortment. During three days, a massive exhibition centre was turned into a confusing maze that blew your mind every time you’d turned a corner. Talking cleaning-robots being taller than kids, pizza-ovens looking like UFOs that seemed manufactured by Ferrari, and stunning flowers growing in steeping teas. Just a selection of the astonishing things the exhibition floor offered. For some reason, we were the only ones offering sustainable bamboo amenity kits — lucky us. Many, many people showed genuine excitement once they discerned our stand. Our goodie bags with sustainable products did the rest. Everything looked very promising.
As time flew by, it was time to head homewards again. We stepped into our car, still filled with faith in a bright future.
A surreal and disturbing transformation of life
When we reached the French mainland, the sun was still shining, but unreal clouds seemed to be gathering. We received this disappointing email. It said that our next event in Hamburg got postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus.
Soon after we got home, things escalated quickly. Countries went in lockdown and borders got closed. Everyday life as we knew it stopped. Now, only several weeks later, things are getting ever more severe as the coronavirus ravages its way through the world. Its toll becomes more and more visible. A large number of people have died so far and, sadly, it seems unavoidable that many more are yet to follow. Survivors need weeks or months to recover from the damage they sustained while being under ventilation. Others, those who lose their job or have to stay at home, will suffer financial hardship and mental health risks. Everything we had taken for granted, anywhere around the globe, seems to be affected by the current situation.
It is a historically tense situation in which we hope for all of you to stay healthy, both physically as well as mentally. Take care of yourself and those around you, and act responsibly. Please also listen to our policymakers and all hospital workers, who we are so proud of.
Despite everything, the Bamboovement wouldn’t be bambooving if we didn’t try to send you a positive message. There are things we have always taken for granted that weren’t positive at all. As a result of exploded tourism, Venice’s canals were so contaminated over time that when they cleared up in recent weeks, even locals were surprised to see fish living in them. Very poor air quality around the world seemed to be the norm. But the air quality has improved impressively as a result of the quarantine measures, in China, Italy, and Spain. And wildlife takes to the streets in big cities, making the beauty of our natural world visible to estranged city dwellers. These are little lights in an uncertain world, that can guide us to a better future and which the Bamboovement is more the willing to follow.
It’s heart-breaking to see that, only the hard way, we seem to understand the impact we have on our environment. So, once again, please take care of yourself, your loved ones, and also our environment. Because only together we can make our world a better place.