While the Coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly everyone in one way or another, the silver lining seems to be the required social distancing practices have given our environment a much-needed break. As a result of entire countries following home isolation protocols, put in place to help flatten the curve, the positive changes in the environment could actually be seen from space.
Aside from monitoring your area’s quarantine policies, there are other ways you can contribute to these positive changes right from your home.
Lowered Carbon Emissions
The transportation industry has one of the most significant carbon footprints. When people are no longer commuting to work or taking flights for business or pleasure, those numbers dramatically decrease. The ecological benefits of staying at home were immediately visible from space first. In densely populated cities in Italy and China, residents reported how clear the waterways and air quality became after just the first week of quarantine. In India, pollution reached its lowest in nearly a decade, and people were able to see the Himalayan mountain range.
As nations attempt to tackle the spread of COVID-19, the pulse of society has slowed so much that seismologists are reporting lowered average noise levels. Nature’s current and much-needed respite from the hum of our daily lives is more than clear skies; it is measurable. In Brussels, they reported 30-50 % less ambient seismic noise, resulting from fewer modes of transportation continually running.
While the Coronavirus pandemic has already wreaked havoc on life as we knew it across the globe, it will likely have many more far-reaching consequences. Delays in many countries’ environmental policies and deadline extensions for companies expected to meet ecological standards have put a dent in this year’s fight against climate change. In the aftermath of the 2008 global recession, carbon emissions also decreased initially, only to rise by 5.9 percent in 2010. If we are not more environmentally conscious, the situation could occur at an even larger scale post-COVID-19.
Our global environmental well-being has a lot of other issues beyond carbon. Human activity alone has radically altered nearly 75 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface. From the degradation of nature and environmental crimes to the enormous wildlife market trade, COVID-19 has shed a blinding light on how nature-related risks and opportunities affect many more sectors than people realize.
Doing Your Part From Home
You don’t need to make a bunch of drastic changes to help the environment recover from home. Living as eco-friendly as possible during isolation can be as simple as making a few, everyday changes. When spending so much time at home, it’s essential to still be comfortable while being environmentally conscious.
Grabbing a throw blanket or sweatpants, and lowering the temperature on your water heater and thermostat by one or two degrees, can save you from unnecessarily overusing a lot of energy. Making a habit of turning off lights when areas are not in use, and unplugging appliances or devices when you’re done, will also help take a bit off the energy bill every month.
Many of us are finding creative ways to fill the moments of boredom during these unusual times. Home improvement projects, new adventures in crafting and other DIYs are a great way to pass the time and bond with family. Try finding creative ways to recycle materials as much as possible from what you have on hand, and using paints and materials made with organic dyes.
Naturally, many people are eager to get back to their “norm”. Amongst other important takeaways, this unfortunate crisis has highlighted just how substantial the human footprint is on our planet. The way we treat our planet is not only crucial for future generations, but it also impacts each of us, right now. Although the circumstances are far from ideal, hopefully, the coronavirus pandemic will stimulate policy changes, increase green jobs, and clean energy initiatives as we move to adjust to a new normal.