Is Corona a Turning Point for the Environment?
Will the effect of corona restrictions on the environment last?
Since the advent of the coronavirus a third of the world’s population has been in lock-down. Corona called a time-out on man’s environmental destruction and it’s been a real-time global environmental experiment. Just think, the world has had an extended break from air pollution thanks to reduced vehicle traffic; closed factories and grounded airplanes. The Earth has a hiatus from exploitation and wild animals are enjoying a safer habitat free of the planet’s most dangerous predator, man. We’ve had a chance to see what the planet could be like if we only took better care of it.
The Immediate Effects of Corona Restrictions on the Environment
Just to name a few examples of how corona or rather the restrictions implemented to quell the virus have affected nature:
- There are clear waters in Venice canals.
- A 30–50% improvement in air quality above major cities.
- In Delhi there has been a 70% drop in nitrogen dioxide pollution.
- Carbon emissions dropped in China by 18%.
- Fossil fuel pollution in Northeast U.S. dropped by 30%.
- The Himalayas can be seen from India for the first time in decades.
- Animals have enjoyed unhindered freedom and safety including the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles along India’s coast that have dared to come ashore to lay their eggs.
Can We Learn About Our Relationship With Nature From COVID-19?
We’ve learned how much and how fast we could improve the environment if we chose to. We can work together and take drastic actions at all costs when human survival is at stake. We live in a global village — what happens to people on the other side of the planet can affect us, more than we ever realized. This means in the future we need to care more about our fellow man, even if they differ from us in politics, color or creed. We’ve also learned that our planet is resilient and when led off course by man, harmed, beaten and drained of its natural resources it can get itself back on track with just a little help from mankind.
Can We Keep Up the Momentum of an Improved Environment Post-Corona?
We can’t allow ourselves to return to business-as-usual, or we will be on a crash-course to environmental destruction. If we could learn from the coronavirus experience and make some minor changes to our lifestyle it could make all the difference.
>Now that we’re used to staying at home and working from home more people could include at least one day of remote working in their weekly work schedule, saving on unnecessary vehicle pollution.
>If we could have more meetings and conferences online using Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp instead of traveling to these gatherings.
>We could get used to exploring our own countries on vacation rather than flying. Stay-cations and domestic travel could dramatically reduce the pollution created by air travel and tourism.
>Even homeschooling and remote schooling, if implemented just once a week could have a remarkable impact.
>Perhaps we also need to reconsider our eating habits and consumption of meat.
>With stores closed, our consumerism and addiction to amassing more and more “things” have become clear. Less consumerism equals fewer polluting factories and a reduction in the mountains of discarded waste on the outskirts of cities.
Post-Corona Environmental Issues
We obviously don’t want the COVID-19 crisis to continue and we also wouldn’t want to lose all of the headway we’ve made towards a cleaner environment. It will be a slippery slope if we just return to our previous behavior and let all gains be lost. One of our biggest challenges will be how to approach the economic issues created by corona without destroying all the environmental good this period has brought. Rehabilitating the economy is likely to be harmful to the environment unless a holistic approach is taken with care and consideration for the environment, mankind and other living creatures as one.