The unexpected impact of COVID-19 on the planet
Editor's Note: This piece was contributed by Nick Wilkes, a playwright in the UK and friend of Sahoja.
A lot of us believe Coronavirus has stopped the world.
Of course what is actually happening is that people have been forced to stop their usual routines, restricted their movements and forced a change in their habits. This lack of human movement has had a surprisingly apparent side-effect. Nature is flourishing. Far from the opinion that the world has stopped, the Earth is in fact doing very well.
Human activity across the planet has seen a sharp decrease, the major result being a huge fall in carbon emissions across the globe. Factories have ceased production. Car travel has fallen by as much as 70%. Air travel has reduced to the point that a vapor trail seen in the clear blue sky now becomes a talking point amongst socially-distancing neighbors.
Globally it is thought by leading scientist that the current climate is witnessing falls of Co2 by up to 40%, back to a level not seen for generations. Polluted cities can see themselves again, buildings, and landscapes hidden for years are being enjoyed and wondered at.
A prolonged wet winter and spring in the UK, followed by a long dry spell has seen an explosion of green. This coupled with the "corona impact" means we are seeing trees, grasses and landscapes like we haven’t seen in our lifetime.
With less road traffic, the road-kill statistics are through the floor, with hundreds of thousands of badgers, deer and hedgehogs unaware of their great change in fortune, and with a great many local council workers in lockdown, the civic grass verges and green areas are remaining uncut, a haven now for wild flowers and insects. The result is a surge in birds in our gardens. Squirrels too. Some towns in the UK even have deer walking through once crowded streets.
Now this may all sound like a utopia for nature, and a welcome result for those of us keen to see change in the climate emergency that we are living in, but we must remember in all sobriety that this has come at a great human cost.
What we can all do is hope that when human movement recommences, that we can all do it with climate change in mind. Leading scientists have appealed to governments internationally that a greener way of thinking should be considered as the world "starts" again, rather than going back to our carbon-belching ways, and we can help as well.
It's up to us to try to embrace the green lesson that has been unexpectedly taught to us at this strange time, and to utilize it going forwards:
- Consider your travel habits and commutes; are all your journeys necessary? Can you walk or cycle? Would continuing to work from home some be possible?
- Think about your home energy usage and where you can cut back.
- Buy products that have less plastic. Check to see if packaging can be recycled before you purchase.
These tips come with grateful thanks, from your planet.