2020 has been dominated by the news of the Coronavirus as it has swept the world and released the turmoil of a pandemic upon us. Within the short three months of the new decade the virus has been able to spread through countries and affect thousands. With Italy struggling, Spain facing the same and Britain on Lockdown, with many other countries on the same course, it is difficult to be optimistic during a time like this. However, the reduction of industrial action has had a beneficial impact upon the environment allowing us to analyse our old habits with scrutiny and many are seeing a silver lining due to this.
2019 was the year that saw a rise in environmental protests as Greta Thunberg became the main figure to raise awareness on the impact humans had on the environment. We saw marches protesting the actions taken towards the climate crisis alongside the rise of the Extinction Rebellion. A consciousness surrounding our climate and the interaction with it arose as people called for a change to the structure of our societal system. Although this call for change was often refused and was met with the belief that it could not be done.
Through the news reels of the contagion of the Coronavirus and its impact around the world, positive tales of those on the frontlines and the recovery of the climate has begun. A connection between communities has arisen as we see care for NHS workers, the elderly and immune-compromised people at the forefront of people’s minds. Our impact on the planet is even more noticeable as we can see the health being injected back into the earth. Air pollution has decreased drastically as industries faced restrictions to stop the spread of the corona virus. Venice has seen its canals become a clear blue with fish swimming within the crystalline water. Japan is seeing wildlife emerging into streets. China has saw a drastic change in their air. A sense of community has been reproduced as people help with grocery shopping and connect online as worries are shared or tips on how to spend our self-isolation.
Through this pandemic an opportunity has arisen to be able to study our daily lives and move away from the individualistic, disconnected rut. Due to this pandemic we have been able to see how adaptable life truly can be as governments, of course being aware of the impact, have been able to change fixtures and structures that we were originally told couldn’t be changed. Jobs, bills, factors of daily lives have been altered to adapt to the new lockdowns. The fragility of the structure that society follows clearly can be changed for the greater good. Now we have been given a chance to change our lives for the better, for the planet and everyone. However, this would depend upon governments and those in power replacing the ideology of greed, money and economy.
Through these drastic and quick changes to our environment, maybe now we can learn and adapt to this change to help reverse climate change. There is still enough time to maintain the habits that we have learned from lockdown, not to deviate away again into an internalised lifestyle centred around ourselves. Habits need to be rethought and changed, to fit the new model that has been forced upon us. Warnings have come with this positive news as this change will most likely not last, the positive changes we have seen might reverse as our normal lives return. The structural and habitual change we have seen must stay in place to ensure a healthier and more connected future.
Image: US State Department