Coronavirus’ impact on the environment - most recent top reads
I don’t know it all. I wish I did, and sometimes I act as if. For that, I hope, I can be forgiven. I have long been wondering what impact the Coronavirus crisis has on our environment, especially after witnessing increasing amounts of personal waste. Since I don't know it all, I wanted to share some of the most interesting reads that I have come across recently. They all debate the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on our environment. Spoiler alert: Sustainability to become "the new normal" in the post-pandemic world.
Society must recognize that both climate change and COVID-19 are sustainability and security crises. The three pillars of sustainability— environmental, social and economic stability — essentially define “security.” [...] The causes and effects of climate change, including air pollution, destruction of habitat and migration camps, can exacerbate and accelerate threats like coronavirus and other zoonotic diseases.
Thus, what legal rights should humans demand from leaders in light of these crises and threats to the security of themselves, their families, and their health and livelihoods?
Considering human activities need to change if we are to avoid the worst effects of human-induced climate change, the coronavirus crisis might offer us an unexpected opportunity. [...] But rather than try to return to business as usual as soon as possible, COVID-19 challenges us to think about the type of consumption that underpins the unsustainable ways of the travel and tourism industries.
Pollution made COVID-19 worse. Now, lockdowns are clearing the air by Beth Gardiner for National Geographic
“If you’re getting COVID, and you have been breathing polluted air, it’s really putting gasoline on a fire,” said Francesca Dominici, a Harvard biostatistics professor and the study’s senior author. [...] But while pollution inhaled in the past is still causing harm today, the temporary experience of cleaner air brought about by widespread shutdowns may offer lessons for the kind of world we want to build after the pandemic.
To wit, zoonotic outbreaks like the COVID-19 arise from close interactions between humans and animals due to deforestation and wildlife trade. Nearly one in three outbreaks of new and emerging diseases are linked to land-use changes like deforestation. This is true for Ebola, HIV and SARS. The 1997 Nipah Virus outbreak which killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, for example, is believed to have resulted from close interaction with bats, which were forced into human settlement areas due to loss of habitat. [...] As we grow more economically powerful, we must update our attitudes and beliefs to be kinder to all living beings, inculcate cultural sensitivity and knowledge in our future generations, and aim for the stabilisation of environmental systems.
Today we face the Herculean task of protecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, the health of millions and the livelihoods of billions. Nothing should detract us from winning this war. But as we fight we should seize the chance too to create a new, more resilient, healthy, equal society that lives in equilibrium with nature. I hope you have the time to browse through the articles. I have selected a few quotes from each of them to give you an impression of the tone of the article. Let's read together, educate and empower ourselves. After all, WE are the ones to (re-)build the post-pandemic world!