Today would have been the biggest celebration of the natural world.
The environmental movement is growing day-by-day and for that, we should all be proud. No matter how small your action is, simply by taking action you are contributing to the fight for a better more sustainable world. As our newsfeeds are clogged up with constant COVID-19 news, it can be hard to think of anything else. However, in a time of anxiety, we instead focus on some much needed positivity.
The closure of industries world over has had incredible positive environmental impacts. For the first time in 125 years, the Himalayas are visible from Punjab, the Venice Canals run clear and China’s Nitrogen dioxide emissions have fallen by over 40%. In fact, the global reduction in harmful emissions has resulted in the accelerated recovery of our Ozone layer.
Media reports across the world have shown animals to be seen in places they haven’t been for years. Welsh mountain goats were seen on the streets of Wales and Basking Sharks have even been spotted off the coast of Cornwall!
Although we have never experienced a global pandemic of this size in the modern world, the global financial crash of 2008 provided a similar halt to heavy industry. However, whilst this also had a positive impact on the climate crisis, it was only temporary. In the aftermath, China (the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter) injected a $586 billion spending package into their economy and production rapidly ramped up. The result was higher greenhouse gas emission over the course of 2009 than had been predicted without the financial crash.
However, unlike America’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, China is yet to announce its own. In an odd move by the communist country, China is holding back on injecting vast sums of money. Whilst the economic damage is not clear, perhaps the Chinese have an alternative plan. However, China is alone in this decision. Other to the US, the UK, Japan, France and Italy have all announced financial relief in almost unbelievable sizes.
So, unfortunately, it looks as though history will repeat itself. Whist Europe looks more likely to be able to avoid a post-pandemic boom, it would be naïve to assume that the current reduction in emissions will last. However, it does show the stark impacts of industry on our planet.
For real positive change, we need everyone to do their bit. We aren’t advocating or supporting any specific organisation, but instead encouraging everyone to make little changes in their lives to do their bit.
The pandemic has demonstrated how different communities can and will pull together; regardless of race, culture or socio-economic standing to combat a common enemy. From clapping our carers to Captain Tom Moores extraordinary fundraising efforts, we can be united by a common goal. And we should. But it shouldn’t just be about one thing. If we somehow managed to solve climate change, that wouldn’t resolve all the world's problems.
Let’s work together towards a better future for all of us. We should all look after the people around you, be kind to others and to our planet.