My 2020 Podcast: Thomas Friedman on how Mother Nature has the whole world in her grip

'The New York Times' columnist and best-selling author in conversation with 'The National' for a new series speaking to leaders on how their lives and industries were changed by Covid-19

A great part of a journalist’s life is about meeting with contacts, conducting interviews, travelling to different parts of the country and the world.

Covid-19 upended all aspects of normality, including how journalists do their jobs. One such journalist is The New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman.

The author who coined the term “the Earth is flat” says that the new reality we are living in means “the world is flatter than ever”.

Reflecting on the year, Mr Friedman is the guest for this episode of “My 2020”, and says: “Mother Nature got the whole world in her hands. Unless you were alive in 1918, and are now 103. No member of our generation of human species has been around when she, Mother Nature, had all of us in her grip. All of us everywhere, are facing the same challenge”.

What is important are the lessons we take from this pandemic.

And he also believes “we're on the cusp of the most amazing era of creative destruction in human history ... Never before have more people around the world had access to cheap tools of innovation”.

Mr Friedman says we will witness the “rapid acceleration of digitisation of the economy. And it's going to be very destabilising, and very amazing”.

But Covid-19 isn’t the only major development in the US this year. The Black Lives Matter and presidential elections have had a profound impact on the US.

“My hometown of Minneapolis has been ground zero for the whole emergence of the this really deep debate we're having about structural racism America. I was actually born two miles from where George Floyd was killed. And I don't have to tell you about America ... how destabilised we are. And so that's been very disorienting for me, I'm looking for a quiet place in my head, which I kind of need. And I don't quite have it right now”.

“My 2020” is a seven-part series, hosted by Mina Al-Oraibi, The National's Editor-in-Chief, speaking to leaders on how their lives and industries have been changed by Covid-19.