Is the new coronavirus saving the environment?

A couple of days ago I read on some post online the following sentence: “Climate change should hire coronavirus’ publicist”. At first, it made me laugh. A small sad but true chuckle. But then, it got me thinking about this whole connection between COVID-19 and climate change. How is the fact that the whole world hit the pause button affecting the environment? Is it true that

Is the new coronavirus saving the environment?

Effect of Coronavirus on Air Pollution

NASA recently shared the above image, representing the drop in CO2 emissions in China. The halt in industrial production and transportation due to the lockdown in the country had a huge impact on energy use and emissions. Both China and Italy also registered dramatic falls in nitrogen dioxide, a planet-warming gas.

With many countries closing borders, and therefore causing the cancellation of many flights, we are likely to see emissions-reducing all over the planet.

Effect of Coronavirus on Water

Another famous corona (positive) consequence arrived from Italy.

The Venice canals, previously dark and polluted by all the boat traffic and tourism, became clear again. And although you can now see the fish, don’t let yourself get fooled by other fake animals floating by.

Less trash on the floor

Other great news arrived from Portugal. Party streets that used to have empty beer cups laying around from all the bars are now clean. No signs of littering, and all because the national lockdown forced all bars to close.

These all seem like great consequences. Can we say that the new coronavirus is eco-friendly?

So, is the new coronavirus saving the environment?

Although we have seen all these beautiful environmental improvements, it’s probably too early to celebrate. This change is temporary. (Hopefully) soon, we will have found a way to deal with the virus and production levels will get back to normal. Or even worse, companies will overproduce to compensate for the ‘lost time’. We never know what the future will bring. What we do get to decide, is how we act upon it.

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With all the downsides it brought, we can focus on one positive aspect of the new coronavirus: it’s a wake-up call. A reminder to stop, to slow down. To take time for ourselves, and to rethink the impact we are having on our planet. If hitting the pause button for a few weeks as such tremendous environmental consequences, what would happen if we started responsibly producing and consuming?

Luckily, we have time to think about this right now. Being stuck at home gives us the perfect excuse to spend more time with our loved ones. You can also listen to some audiobooks, read books about climate change or, if you are more of a tech lover, download some eco-friendly apps.

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