The Covid-19 is an awful virus which is spreading across the world and cruelly taking the lives of thousands of people. Millions of people around the world are also struggling with their mental health as they remain on lockdown or in isolation for significant periods of time. The virus is having a huge impact on the economy with businesses being forced to close and families stressing about their income. Every time you pick up your phone and look on social media, or turn the TV or radio on and listen to the news and adverts, you cannot help but read and hear negative and distressing facts, figures, stories and advice about it. So, what can we look at as a positive from this challenging time?
Well, one of the issues young people have been shouting about in recent years and is impacting each and every one of us as humans, is climate change. Unintentionally, a huge benefit of the coronavirus is that is having a very positive impact on the environment. Have you noticed whilst taking a walk that there is much less noise pollution? With less traffic on the roads, approximately 75% less aeroplanes in the sky and fewer trains on the railways, it feels much more tranquil outdoors. As you look over towards the city centres from the hills, you can see a much lighter layer of smog hanging over the buildings with less transport and businesses closing. If you look at recent pictures of the sea, lakes and many other waters worldwide, they are looking beautifully clear again, more like a blue lagoon, than a murky, mucky brown colour as there is less waste depositing in them. A good examples of this is the canals in Venice – take a look at pictures!
All of this is having a positive impact on the environment and wildlife, along with many aspects of our personal health. We are breathing in fresher air, having less pollution resting on our skin and destroying less natural habitat. According to www.politico.eu a researcher from Stanford University called Marshalls Burke has calculated the changes in air quality in China since they have been in lockdown. He estimates that the improvement in air quality has actually saved the lives of approximately 4000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70. If what he estimates is correct, the improvement in air has saved the lives of around 20 time more than the number of lives sadly taken by the coronavirus.
With the coronavirus understandably dominating the news, climate change has been brushed under the carpet for the time being, but maybe we should start thinking about how we can change our lifestyles once this pandemic is over to continue improving air quality and our general health on a day to day basis. We don’t want to have to face such a traumatic illness each time to make us see the impact we as humans are having on the environment. Once the virus clears, businesses will re-open, flights will resume, roads will be chaos again – maybe we can reflect on how we as individuals can maintain a better environment, not just for us, but for future generations.
Ask yourself a few questions during this time; is there any way I can travel less when life gets back to ‘normal’ or walk a bit more? Can I reduce waste at all by using less disposable tings such as baby wipes, surface wipes, plastic bottles, a quicker shower and less clothes to keep up with fashion? Should we look at more local holidays to reduce the number of flights, one of the biggest contributors to pollution? Try taking a secluded walk alone on a quiet route where you can keep your social distance and think about these whilst enjoying the rare tranquillity, peace and clean air which we can currently appreciate and think of the positives you can get from this rather different time.