March 31, 2020

Underground social solidarity: rose, thorns and buds in the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted by Tom Gleeson

By Tom Gleeson

Well, the world is certainly in a crazy time – one of the most enlightening tweets that I keep thinking about is:

In a longer article, Klein asks a crucial question: can social solidarity replicate faster than the virus?

So to encourage social solidarity in our dispersed global community of groundwater nerds, I suggested we share:

  1. A picture of our #StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView
  2. A song that is working for you right now, for our very own ‘pandemic playlist’ (ideally from an artist from our region)
  3. A rose, thorn and bud of our current situation where:
    Rose = something that is working well or something positive;
    Thorn = something that isn’t working or something negative;
    Bud = an area of opportunity or idea yet to be explored.

In this post, we’ll be sharing our #StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView and roses/thorns/buds, but stay tuned for the release of our ‘pandemic playlist’ later in the week.

Social solidarity participators (and groundwater nerds).

Andy Baker (UNSW Sydney)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Just grateful to be here, the view from the home office, day 4 of home-quarantine.

Rose: Successfully getting home this week from research sabbatical in Switzerland, on the last Emirates flight to Sydney, and thankful for everyone who made it possible.

Thorn: The challenges facing family and friends who have decided to long-term self-isolate to protect family members

Bud: Time to explore existing datasets, and share them with colleagues; helping friends and neighbours with science home schooling







Mark Cuthbert (Cardiff University)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: View from my home desk (not sure what the rubber duck is doing there…)

Rose: More creative home time with my family; chance to work on my garage skateboard mini-ramp.

Thorn: Concern about the global situation; worry for close family members with health issues; can’t get out surfing; research field/travel plans scuppered.

Bud: Increased (non-physical) contact and support between neighbours and friends I’ve lost touch with.














Grant Ferguson (University of Saskatchewan)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: My new officemate, who thinks that he should be on the other side of this door, regardless of which side he is on.

Rose: More time with my wife and daughter; solo runs; long distance collaborations and ­­friendships that didn’t skip a beat; sheepskin slippers as new work footwear

Thorn: Worrying about family far away, especially two sisters working in healthcare; trying to figure out how to transition an undergrad course to online delivery quickly.

Bud: A chance to strip away all the noise of academia and think about what is really important and essential














Tom Gleeson (University of Victoria)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: View from my home office of chickens on top of a container with extra food!

Rose: Doubling down on my self-care practices like yoga and 7 minute workouts (that I have started to do with my son each morning); lots of gardening; group whatsapp with friends and family

Thorn: Fear for a friend that is in treatment for cancer; uncertainty about when school is going to start again.

Bud: If I can be patient enough to actually (sort of) teach a five year old














Andreas Hartmann (University of Freiburg)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Leaving our office desk for my partner, I mostly work from this comfortable corner. Most importantly, there are candles on the little table and liquor in the cupboard 🙂

Rose: After re-organizing, private life and work got more focussed on the essentials

Thorn: Online meetings do not make up for the daily social and scientific interactions with my team

Bud: Finding an increasing sense of appreciation for family and friends among everyone I am in contact with. While deadlines and project work moves stronger to the background.







Xander Huggins (University of Victoria/Global Institute for Water Security)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Ok, so not my home office, but my oft-used canoe these days (to clear my mind extreme social distance)

Rose: Lucky to have got ‘stuck’ in a place where I can canoe and walk through the forest with my dog, instead of my apartment in the city – makes the situation all the more bearable! Sun staying up longer and more space for my thoughts “to surface”.

Thorn: Worrying about the health of my grandparents; summer research travel plans highly doubtful at this point; remote desktop lag!

Bud: Will making my work life and personal life more cohesive have untold benefits?













Min-Hui Lo (National Taiwan University)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Outside of my office.

Rose: Glad that most of the people follow the rule of quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Thorn: Will we have enough medical treatment preparation for such kind of event?

Bud: All the meetings are canceled. EGU, JPGU, AOGS, … will AGU still be this year in SF?














Di Long (Tsinghua University)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Performing preliminary defense for my first Ph.D. student (top) and spring coming to my apartment in Beijing, off campus (down)

Rose: More time with my almost three-year old son to play, do some simple drawing and count; walking around my campus and some parks to think about research and life

Thorn: Concerned about all the colleagues and friends from around the world, though situations here are getting much better now; health status might not be optimal due to less burning of calories; eyes tired due to staring at laptop at home.

Bud: Opportunities to really think about what is good science and how science really benefits all the people as a community with a shared future.
















Viviana Re (University of Pisa)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: The view from my kitchen (current office). I can’t wait to see the park full of of kids playing together again

Rose: The expression of affection from all the friends worldwide sending a nice word or a message of support; witnessing a lot of acts of kindness and generosity in such a difficult moment; using the time otherwise spent commuting to deepen my yoga and meditation practice.

Thorn: Being worried for my family and friends and feeling anxious quite often; Finding hard to detach from work; had to cancel some working trips I was really looking forward to do

Bud: Practice gratitude for the small things that makes our life beautiful; learn to balance work and self-care












Jared van Rooyen (University of Stellenbosch)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Work office with my partner 🙂

Rose: Time to do some woodworking in the Garage for new deck furniture

Thorn: Constant distractions (Not the worst thing). Also South Africa is in full lockdown and we can’t even walk our dogs or go for a jog 🙁

Bud: I have so much completed analysis that was on the backburner for processing and can now start playing with new models to see what we can unearth from the data 🙂





Sam Zipper (Kansas Geological Survey/University of Kansas)

#StayAtHomeAndStaySafeView: Wishing I had a bigger laptop! Lightweight and portable doesn’t do much good when there’s no bike commute…

Rose: Bike rides to the local ‘waterfall’ (a bridge overlooking a small hydroelectric dam) every day with my daughter

Thorn: Harder to separate work/non-work time when everything’s at home; family had to cancel their first trip to visit Kansas

Bud: With everyone going stir-crazy and spring in the air, lots of chance encounters and conversations with neighbors out walking (maintaining 6 ft distance of course!)