By Erin Hansen
Last year if anyone had told me that it would become socially acceptable to gift others rolls of toilet paper, I would have laughed in disbelief. However, that is the reality we currently live in. It seems like something out of a science fiction story. Global pandemic, schools closed, social distancing mandated, disinfecting everything we must bring into our homes. We all know the story - I don’t need to rehash it. Our new reality is uncertain, both in terms of how long these COVID-19 adaptive measures will last, and what our ultimate future will look like. Lives are sure to be changed forever, and much adaptation will be necessary. 
The entire world has become united battling our common enemy - that invisible virus. We have been reminded that at the end of the day, we all have the same basic needs, no matter where we live. We truly are one international community. Everyone is working together, and we all have a crucial part to play, even if it is just staying home. We all matter. 
Even though Rotary’s primary focus is humanity, I can’t help but wonder how much our planet will recover environmentally during this unprecedented time. People in large urban centres are experiencing better air quality. There is less litter on our streets. We have more time for our friends and family, even if it is online. These things are a tiny glimmer of silver lining on the vast storm cloud we are living under but grasping onto these tendrils of gratitude is essential to weather the tempest. We must maintain hope for the future. 
In this time of cocooning, we have an opportunity to envision a better tomorrow. What parts of our old reality do we want to preserve? What parts now seem insignificant? Most importantly, what do we want to improve? 
In the following posts, I will be highlighting Rotarians who are making a difference during these uncertain times. Stay tuned!