Amongst all the heartbreak and destruction Covid – 19 has given rise to, it is fair to say there is at least one silver lining which has emerged. Our planet is finally being eased off of its own ventilator as we see Global emissions fall by 6%.
China had seen a decrease in emissions by an estimated 18% since the lockdown commenced and aviation pollution is predicted to decrease rapidly as 8 out of 10 flights have been cancelled globally. The positive effects are already being noted all around the globe, as the waters of Venice are now clear, the Himalayas have become visible for the first time in 30 years, and many photos of the reduced smog in China have been released.
Nevertheless, this is no cause for celebration, as China clearly demonstrates. The lift of the lockdown there has already seen a sharp increase in emissions as power stations are restarted and travel is permitted again. Evidently, without new, strong initiatives from governments, these polluting corporations will thrive once more post-pandemic. This is why it is more crucial than ever to (pardon the pun!) not take our foot off of the gas and to urge governments to invest more money into clean energy and cease to provide subsidies for fossil fuel corporations.
If there’s one thing this pandemic has shown us, it’s how swiftly and effectively governments can come together and react to a humanitarian crisis. Billions has been spent on finding solutions to Covid- 19, such as producing more medical supplies, developing antibody tests and creating a new vaccine to target the virus. So why should we, the public, expect any less of a response when it comes to addressing climate change? When the government begins to rebuild the economy, it is crucial that they address the many factors that contribute to climate change, including by changing our waste systems, food systems, production companies, transport, and above all, our relationship with nature and wildlife. If governments do not take sufficient measures to combat climate change and listen to science, then we will be facing a far worse crisis than Covid -19.
What Can I do to Help?
Not only is it the government’s responsibility to start taking climate change more seriously, but it’s also our responsibility. This pandemic has come as a complete shock to almost everyone worldwide. People’s lives have come to a complete standstill. We no longer have the luxury to travel wherever we desire, or enjoy nights out with friends. We have now been sentenced to STAY HOME for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, instead of moaning about how gloomy this all is, we can see this as a unique opportunity to reflect on how, as individuals, we can become more environmentally conscious. I ask you to take this opportunity to alter those bad habits. Start by introducing more vegetarian meals into your diet. Seek to use as little single-use plastic as you possibly can. Pick up the old rusty bike in the garage and go and enjoy your surroundings. Educate yourselves on ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Be creative!
The unity we have witnessed in the fight against Covid-19 is the unity we need to replicate in the fight against climate change because, as we have witnessed this year, humans are far from invincible.