CHANGES : FLO JUNG
Words by Flo Jung // Photos by Samuel Tomé
This article is from our August 2020 issue featuring, wave sailor Flo Jung reflecting on our changed world during his lockdown in Germany.
Earlier this year the world was transformed in a few weeks. For you, for me, for all of us. But the fact is we live in an imperfect ever changing world, with challenges and chances. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection and we are imperfect problem solvers.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Change is the only constant in life.” We have to be aware and welcome change for every aspect of our life. Especially in this time of Coronavirus, the only thing we can do is to accept this fact and find solutions to improve our situation. As a professional windsurfer, my passion has been on hold. I haven’t been on the water for weeks and I barely remember my last session. I’m stuck here in the middle of Germany far away from any water and windsurfing. I have lost a big part of my income and some of my sponsors have disappeared. To be out on the ocean is one of the things that I really miss while being locked up at home. I have dedicated a big part of my life to this sport and learned so much from the always-changing elements. It’s special to be able to feel the power of the ocean under my feet, the forces of the wind in my hands, and a rush of adrenaline in my blood. That is what my dreams are made of.
On the other hand, being stuck at home has given me the chance to appreciate things a lot more. It’s a gift to be able to think, to spend time with my family and appreciate good health. As an environmentalist it is good to see a noticeable drop in air pollution. With fewer cars on the road and factories open, we are giving the planet a much-needed rest to heal. Coronavirus might be a curse, but also an opportunity that can open our eyes to realise that we are part of the problem and one species among many, a part of nature, not in opposition to it. As humans, we proved our ability to work together on a global scale to fight against COVID-19. Is there a chance that we can use this momentum to act towards a healthier planet in the same way? We already have the knowledge and technology we need to feed a larger population, provide energy for all, begin to reverse climate change, clean our oceans and prevent most extinction. Change – ecological, economic, and social—is inevitable.
Imagine if we could find ways to make climate change feel more tangible: imagine if everyone would be active in protecting our beautiful planet. Starting with the mindset of each individual, a worldwide shift would happen that doesn’t stop at any border – a “blue consciousness” that would change our ego-driven attitude and force us to act with common sense – only consuming with care, minimising our carbon footprint and last but not least adhering to green policies designed to guarantee the survival of our species!
This is the kind of inner shift we need to accompany all the outside changes we are currently experiencing. New policies would force us to use the ingenious inventor instincts that made us so good in adapting to new circumstances. We would only be allowed to use sustainable energy sources and change our transportation infrastructures immediately. Goods would be made without toxins, carbon emissions or plastic substitutes.
We might still be far from that point, but this crisis demonstrated that the value of life stands above all other interests. As I said, we are not perfect, and I feel that there is so much more to learn. By accepting imperfection, we can start with little solutions that will help solve big problems.
Now is the time to reflect, to recharge and check what options we have to not only make an impact in our personal life, but in the lives of others as well. Life is not a sprint. It is a long-distance run. We have to pace ourselves and expect challenges along the way. If we go step by step in one direction we will achieve remarkable things. Therefore the question for each individual should be: what footprints do you want to leave on this planet in the long run?
Remember, we are all using the same ocean that produces waves with ups and downs. Right now it might feel like we are being washed by a huge wave. Don’t panic, think, and with smart actions you will get up and ride again.
Appreciate the lessons of Coronavirus as a part of progress. Sometimes hard times teach us the most valuable lessons. It’s a chance to appreciate our freedom of being in nature and to take a closer look at your daily choices and the impact we have. It’s about time to enjoy this never-ending wave ride of life, focussed on the elements that make the ride worth living.