Our lives might have come to a standstill, but the world kept on turning. COVID-19 has demonstrated how global action can accommodate a global crisis and how a change in our lifestyles can protect the future of humanity, and the environment.
Let’s take a look at what staying at home did to the environment and, as the government’s lockdown rules relax, what we can do to prevent another (climate) crisis.
Remember when David Attenborough hit us with the scene in Blue Planet II where a Mumma Whale couldn’t bring herself to part from her calf who died, literally, from our irresponsible disposal of plastic?
Well the world started to get pretty good at reducing its single-use plastic consumption after that. There were campaigns for sea turtles and bans on plastic straws, with parts of the oceans finally on the road to recovery.
Then coronavirus hit.
The long-term impact of lockdown on the environment, as well as a variety of other social and welfare issues, complex and unclear. The more immediate effects, however, are presenting themselves as obviously as if the tide dragged them in.
Which of course, it did.
Because really, what we mean by RUBBISH is this…
What can we take away from this impact of lockdown on the environment? What can we learn from our increased reliance on single-use plastic?
One of the main requirements of the recent lockdown was to keep travel to a minimum in order to prevent the spread of the virus. But working from home and only visiting the supermarket once a week for a necessary trip benefited the planet as much as it did public health.
You probably saw very surreal pictures of dolphins in Venice and wild boar roaming the streets of Milan – but these are the very real impacts of nature bouncing back. Undisturbed and calm wildlife and a lack of tourists allowed noise levels to be reduced by up to 68% in some places in the globe!
Travel less. No one is suggesting that we should all stay at home all the time, but keeping unnecessary travel and consumption to a minimum is an awesome way of minimising your carbon footprint.
There have been benefits and drawbacks of staying at home, of rationing what we buy – and we have clearly seen how we can reinvent our lives in the name of a global crisis. In the words of Prof Piers Forster, who published a study about the impact of COVID-19 on the environment:
“For once government, industry and public voices are all pretty aligned that green jobs and green investments are the way to build back better.”
The climate crisis is the biggest threat to humanity that the world has ever seen. To truly learn from the impact of lockdown on the environment, see how you can continue to make the necessary changes and avoid another danger-zone lockdown.
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