(April 2020) – A few years ago, I was having one of those in-depth conversations with a friend over wine, and we were trying to solve the world’s problems. The topic turned to what it would take to end war on a global scale. I said the only thing I could think of would be an attack from something or someone outside of our planet — something that would force all the nations in the world to work together to fight against it. I was thinking of some kind of extraterrestrial beings — you know, something like the scenario from the film “Independence Day.”
Watching the world’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19, it slowly occurred to me: The entire planet has been working together on this pandemic. This is not a U.S. problem or a matter of just a few ally countries that are united by political views such as democracy vs. communism. This is a global crisis, and we are all fighting it together. I also thought to myself, “Who would ever have guessed World War III would not be a war of nation against nation, but a war of nations against virus?”
It felt surreal to me that as we all watched the outbreak unfold across city after city, nation after nation, I was writing and editing this issue of the magazine, which is about the theme of Sustainability. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are designed to pull us together as a people, as the whole human race. They’ve been written by a collection of people from all over the world who care about the future of our planet, including former Congressman Jim Bacchus, the subject of our cover story, who now serves as distinguished university professor of global affairs and founder and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida.
This year, the U.N. goals are getting help from the unlikely source of a deadly virus. Even as it claims lives all over the world, COVID-19 is forcing nations to work together instead of against one another, to share information instead of competing against each other, to put down our weapons and pick up laboratory microscopes. It’s forcing us to isolate ourselves in our homes individually and as families while longing for human contact with people we used to pass by in the grocery store without even a polite nod.
No one knows how long this world crisis will continue or what kinds of lasting effects it will have, good or bad. So in this time of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s a pleasure to bring to you an issue of i4 Business that contains articles on people and organizations who are working hard every day to make the world a better place.