David Byrne, has announced “Now Anything Is Possible,” a new series that explores the once-in-a-generation potential of the extraordinary changes occurring around the world in response to COVID-19. Continuing in the Reasons to Be Cheerful spirit of acting as a tonic for tumultuous times, “Now Anything is Possible” examines how those changes are solving problems that have long seemed intractable. The series offers a glimpse of what governments, institutions and communities can achieve in this new era and examines how the policies being enacted today can outlast this crisis, and move us toward a kinder, fairer, and more just society.
As countries around the world scramble to mitigate the impact of the virus on nearly every system –– from healthcare and housing to transit and industry –– changes that once seemed like pipe dreams are being implemented seemingly overnight. Goals that have felt out of reach for decades are suddenly being achieved, making our economies greener, our cities saner, our justice systems fairer and our societies more cooperative. The stories will cover the widespread implementation of universal basic income, the decarceration of jails, the reconfiguration of our urban spaces and more. As journalist Mitch Anderson writes in the introduction to “Now Anything Is Possible,” as these changes gain momentum, “it will be difficult to put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
“This is a catalyzing moment and many of the changes that have been made or contemplated are going to be permanent –– some of those are good, and some deeply questionable,” stated David Byrne. “We at Reasons to be Cheerful of course want to know: how can we keep the good stuff? Who is doing it (it’s already happening) and how those ideas and initiatives are working out?”
David Byrne recently penned a hopeful op-ed titled “The World Is Changing –– So Can We,” that touched on some of the same themes as “Now Anything Is Possible” by addressing the need for human connection in a time of self-isolation. Byrne wrote, “What is happening now is an opportunity to learn how to change our behavior. For many of us, our belief in the value of the collective good has eroded in recent decades. But in an emergency that can change quickly.”