By: Noa Ben-Moshe

While we share feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness, we each confront the effects of this growing pandemic in very personal and profound ways. How this plays out, in the end, is still unknown, but it is clear we face a new reality – individually and collectively.

Long ago, I understood I had a responsibility in how I conduct my life, a responsibility to myself, to others, and to our planet. For many of us, this began as a response to the exploitation of animals. For some, it was a way to lead a healthier lifestyle and reverse chronic conditions. And still others, it was driven by environmental concerns. Whatever led each of us here, we all understand that our choices together forge metamorphic change. More and more are adopting sustainable lifestyles each and every day, and traditional industries are reforming to serve these markets. Each of us contributes, in both big and small ways, to shaping a better tomorrow for all. 

If what we are witnessing now demonstrates anything, it is how connected we truly are – grappling with a disease that does not discriminate. Never before the world had to consider the grave and tragic outcomes of a single individual’s actions. Never before has the notion of collective responsibility played out in such far-reaching and profound ways. And never before have we been forced to understand just how much we crave, cherish, and need genuine human connection – while forced to live in isolation now as our only means of survival.

The human spirit is more resilient than we tend to acknowledge, as the entire world mobilizes to fight this common enemy. The human and financial toll is mounting with every passing hour. Be assured, we will find a cure, and at some point, the disease will be eradicated. But it is as critical that all the goodwill and awareness we are now generating endures.

Just weeks ago, I anticipated 2020 would be the best year of my career, with so many new projects, collaborations, and developments in the pipeline. And then suddenly everything just stopped. Plans were thrown into disarray, budgets gone, projects canceled. I started driving on a clear sunny day when suddenly thick fog rolled in and I am unable to see what lay ahead. I am still driving along that very same road day after day, not knowing what to expect next.

Until this very moment, no other event has succeeded in awakening this entire world. In 2019 we read of fires raging across the Amazon and Australia destroying the natural habitat of millions of species, of tyranny rising in the streets of Venezuela where food had become scarce, of hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced as civil war continued to rage in Syria, of thousands being infected by an Ebola outbreak in Congo. None of those events caused us to pause for more than a few moments, the few heart-wrenching minutes of watching a burning koala being saved. As we were not experiencing the actual carnage of these tragedies first hand, we did not imagine they affected us. 

We can no longer turn a blind eye. The threat can not possibly get any closer, living amongst us all – silently and invisibly. There is nothing we can do, but to put our lives on pause and take notice. There are no more flights to catch, meetings to attend, vacations to plan, stores to visit, cafes to enjoy, shows to see, etc. There are no distractions, we are forced to face this new reality, one that has been in the works for decades. We can not attribute responsibility solely to man or solely to nature. These two forces are so intertwined, that any damage to one weakens the whole.

Whatever it is that you’re feeling during this hard, scary and confusing time- remember that your feelings are valid. Expressing the way you feel when you are sad or worried doesn’t make you less of a positive person. The expectations of society of being happy and positive all of the time are unrealistic and impossible. Take it slow. Breathe in. Hang in there️

Our choices affect others, and this is the biggest lesson we’ve learned from COVID-19. The way we live our lives, the way we consume, the way we eat: all of these choices that till now we considered being one’s personal choice, but can’t be claimed that anymore, as so-called “personal choice” is not only killing billions of innocent animals but also killing people all around the globe. It’s time for us to rethink our choices and ask ourselves who we are willing to vote for with our money, what we are willing to eat and wear, in order to truly wear and reflect our values. 

I am trying my best to help people, initiatives, garment workers and brands during this hard time. You can read more in my recent articles, Navigating Life During a Global Pandemic and Learn How YOU Can help the fair Fashion Movement NOW. Feel free to read my blog, Style with a Smile and follow me on Instagram and Facebook to learn more.