This week’s photograph was taken in Washington, DC (of course), of a citizen-created open street (“Pandemic Extended Sidewalk”) that allows for greater space for physical distancing while people exercise solo or with household contacts.
I have commented on this previously in terms of public health interest (see: Thanks for Publishing my Photo, PoPville, and Let’s Talk about Opening Gyms and Spaces), and this conversation is happening at leadership levels of our city (see links below).
A few points to be made
- People need to practice physical distancing
- Unfortunately, communication messaging like “social distancing” or “stay at home” don’t give people the tools to prevent viral transmission (of which a significant amount probably happens at home)
- If you’re looking for a good guide on how to actually prevent transmission (separate from “stay at home”), this video is excellent. I wish its knowledge could be made more accessible to empower people.
- In the absence of knowledge or tools, other behaviors begin to take shape, which to my eyes look to be expressions of grief. This is normal.
- Our role/opportunity is to give people the tools to be successful, in a non-judgemental way, so they will reinforce this success community wide
- Many many years of behavioral science tell us that showing images of the safe normal, versus the “unsafe” normal, are far more effective (see: Now Reading: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (many analogies to health care))
With that in mind, finding ways for people to be successful, with more space, rather than less, if they are going to exercise solo or with household contacts is a possibility. The sign above was created by @DDOTRA which is not affiliated with DC Government. Hopefully it will provide insight into whether this approach might be useful.
In my opinion (supported by research), and anger/control approach (which I have also documented in these images) is less likely to be successful, and we need success more than we need to be “right.”
Empowerment, Innovation over Anger, Anxiety
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A home-made sign on one of our public parks has been bothering me ever since it was posted, so I decided to remove and edit it digitally, because I can. I understand fear and anger are an early part of grief. We can help by practicing kindness and using information to empower, to assist people in not being angry at themselves or fellow humans. We can also edit unhealthy signs and post healthy ones (with assistance, thank you @alanthompson269). See next post for these examples. Many studies show this approach is most effective. We have the tools to stay safe and alive. Any questions, feel free to message me. ❤️ #DC #instaDC #FactsOverFear #Science #Empowerment #SonyAlpha #Sunset #Shaw