The global pandemic has altered much of our daily lives – school, work, shopping, how we connect with family and friends – and is shaping how we view our future.
“You would think spending the last 20 years teaching evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto might have prepared me for some of this,” says U of T Scarborough professor Maydianne Andrade. “I spend a couple of weeks every year teaching my students about the evolution of viruses. In fact, I have a slide that says this is one of our biggest threats.
“I’m also a behavioural ecologist, which means I understand, or think about, how our evolutionary history interacts with what’s around right now in the current context, to shape our behaviour.
“But none of that helped.”
In a new weekly podcast created in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn, Andrade – the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology and vice-dean of faculty affairs and equity at U of T Scarborough – explores how we’re coping with this “new normal” and what kind of future we’re building in the process.
Over the next few weeks, Andrade will introduce listeners to members of her family, her students and some of her faculty colleagues as she investigates how people have found ways to connect, even as the pandemic has kept them apart.
“We are all in this together,” Andrade says. “And what we are when we come out the other side will depend on how we work together to overcome the challenges of this new time.”
The first full episode of The New Normal will be released next week. Entitled “The Corona Shuffle” the episode will explore how simple tasks such as walking down the street or visiting the grocery store have changed.