CHENNAI : As we slowly restart our lives, we are all sceptical of what the coming weeks hold ahead of us. All this time while we were home, we read about the clearing skies, the emerging dolphins, the revival of the planet without human intervention. While this made us happy, it also taught us the effect we as a species have had on planet earth.
As we cheer at the positive effects that the lockdown has had on nature, some climate activists are warning that this is no time to be complacent. Simply pausing our consumption and travel habits for a few months is not going to reverse the impending climate emergency; the Earth will not suddenly “heal itself ” just because we stayed at home for a couple of weeks.
We must stay doubly committed to our targets for reducing emissions by 2030 once we are past this health crisis, or we will find ourselves in another crisis — one that isn’t going to take a few months to go away. There is no denying that right now we have all embraced living a slower lifestyle that is kinder to people and the planet.
These are five changes you’re probably doing already that would make a real difference if we all stuck to them when we’ve beaten COVID-19. And if this virus has taught us anything, it’s that we can all act together to cause a real shift in Earth’s health.
1.We have woken up to food waste. We are extremely aware of what is in our pantries and have been innovative about what we cook in order to use up all the items in our cupboards before stepping out to get more.
2.We have embraced our local food. While big supermarkets and grocery delivery agents have struggled to cope with demand, many local shops have stayed well-stocked and have been going above and beyond to adapt and help their communities. Understanding that our supply chains are complex, could see us make more effort in the future to support our local producers, shops and businesses.
3.We are taking stock of our travel habits. It’s not yet clear when we will be able to travel anywhere as freely as we used to. This leaves international travel an even more distant possibility. When things get back to normal, we might realise that we don’t need to take a long-haul flight for a lovely vacation or a quick business meeting.
4.We’re appreciating nature. For many of us, hearing birds singing outside our open windows and balconies has brought us the cheer we’ve needed every day. Many have taken to feeding stray cows and dogs during this difficult time. All of this has been a welcome distraction and keeps us from thinking about our own isolation.
5.We’re engaged and active. Lastly, we’ve seen how as a collective worldwide effort we have the power to affect real change, really quickly. When we have healed as a human population, we can turn our focus to the climate and our planet, with protests, petitions, movements and action. We’ve never felt more like a global community. Let’s not waste the opportunity to continue to make a difference for everyone who lives on planet Earth.