Coronavirus. Case which gives us hope that we can overcome the climate crisis?
Millions of people are banned from traveling, other millions of people are under lockdown, allowed to leave their homes only in exceptional cases. Pubilc events are canceled, events by events, worldwide. Schools and universities are being closed one by one. Coronavirus has disrupted everyday life throughout the world through travel bans, restrictions, and the event’s cancellation.
But the fact is that it is not the only global crisis we face. Another one is the climate crisis. And paradoxically, the one global crisis can help solve the second one.
According to scientists, if we want to protect our planet, we have to introduce restrictions to many areas of our lives.
Imagine how it can feel painful — to resign from having a car, not having the possibility to buy what you want whenever you want, go wherever you want by choosing any means of transport. What will happen if we close plenty of factories and production companies? What will happen if due to transport restrictions it will be impossible to get to work or go to university? If face to face meetings with your client will be impossible because you won’t be able to go abroad?
The answers are obvious — people will adapt, like every time in the history of humankind.
So, coronavirus and climate change are linked in some ways. It may be a small example of what we will be able to observe very soon.
Countries, cities, and places are under lockdown, which means limited resources to people and finally leads us to the closure of companies, especially in the production sector. A similar case would be possible when battling climate change.
(Another fact is that the new generation of coronaviruses and pathogens are hidden in icebergs and permafrost. They will be released to the environment along with increasing global warming.)
For sure, it hits our economic system, but let’s see what happened in China after introducing the restrictions.
NASA published satellite imagery showing air pollution has dropped during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Following the World Economic Forum:
“Researchers said nitrogen dioxide rates were on average, 30% lower than usual, compared to an average of 10% lower during the same periods between 2005 and 2019. They added there hadn’t been the usual rebound after the Lunar New Year.
In an analysis published in February, CarbonBrief estimated that the coronavirus had cut China’s carbon emissions by 25%.
This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years, and it has lasted longer,” Liu said. “I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize the spread of the virus.”
Such a result is impossible to achieve with normal limitations we try to introduce for many years.
Coronavirus conducts a forced behavior change experiment. The closure of factories affects our economies, but economic crises, such as this associated with coronavirus, tends to slow down negative environmental impact, including reducing emissions from industry and transport.
The fact is that nowadays we live in a global village. Like never before, we are keen on rapid movement between cities, countries, and continents, which means that like never before, we can decimate our population in a flash. This is a reason why governments introduce global restrictions.
If we start to look from a different angle, we can see plenty of possibilities to change our world and decide how we want it to look like in the future.
All restrictions we can see provide us 3 significant trends, highly connected with the climate crisis.
1) Limited transport
2) Remote work
3) Limited resources
(I don’t want to insinuate anything, COVID-19 it’s a frightening thing, but — how to quickly make people learn how to live differently? Introduce restrictions. And scare them to stick to the rules. Just saying.)
Banned transport between places forces us to learn how to work remotely, how to make better use of locally available resources. Probably it can support local businesses because if you don’t have a choice, you have to rely more on what is available near to you. Besides, limited transport can support branches like Remote Work and E-Learning. If you can’t go abroad, Skype has to be enough.
Without properly working transport, we are not able to get to our offices, but also to our schools and universities. The risk of getting infected by your colleague doesn’t sound fun. Many companies and universities are closed due to crisis. A lot of them try to deal with lockdown by remote work, but not all of them can do that. We are still not ready for full remote learning, but this is becoming a thing lately. Do you see a massive opportunity for every company that wants to work in the e-learning area?
Dealing with remote work seems to be a crucial competency that companies have to understand and learn.
All we know that our production is too big. We produce too much food, clothes, and environmentally unfriendly products. We produce more than we can consume. We don’t distribute it very well too. A lot is wasted instead of reaching someone who needs it.
With limited production, we will be forced to use what we have already produced one more time or eat differently. Limited production leads to less environmental pollution, similar to what we could observe on the image from NASA.
In summary, what will be our lesson? Will we quickly reassess our needs in the face of the crisis, or will we return to old habits as soon as the end of the epidemic is announced?
Chances are good, that virus will stay with us for longer and decrease our population. Due to this assumption, it’s good to remember that our biggest asset in an emergency is staying calm and thinking clearly. Don’t panic — adapt.
Don’t you think that COVID-19 is a perfect tool to check if we are still able to save our only home, Earth?