Last year was very challenging. Adjusting to COVID protocols wasn’t easy. Stress and uncertainty lay heavy in the air as students walked to their classes. It was overwhelming to think about tackling issues like climate change. We neglected our deteriorating planet while COVID-19 consumed our lives.
Now it’s time to deal with it.
It may appear that the global pandemic slowed climate change. Carbon emissions were down for a while, as was air and water pollution. A reduction in traffic has allowed animals to get back some of their habitats. Nature had a chance to recover while humans stayed in quarantine. Climate experts think, however, that the overall effect on the environment has been negative.
This is because countries like the U.S. helped struggling companies by providing financial support and reducing regulations, including regulations that protect the climate. By May, carbon emissions were back to pre-lockdown levels and they will continue to rise at an increased rate.
Online spending is reported to have doubled since the pandemic started, negatively affecting some local businesses. The transport involved in fulfilling Amazon orders takes a huge toll on the environment. Clearly, the most climate friendly option is to shop locally.
Pre-COVID, local businesses had taken steps towards being more environmentally friendly, including banning plastic bags and straws, and encouraging people to bring their own containers for bulk foods and mugs for coffee.
Unfortunately, these initiatives did not mesh with COVID restrictions. Some places are serving food in takeout boxes with plastic cutlery, even if one chooses to eat in. This is completely understandable and an important measure to protect employees from germs. However, this creates a lot of unnecessary waste.
COVID has lasted longer than any of us could have predicted and things may never go back to the way they were before. We must continue to search for ways to preserve the planet and our health.
Make finding creative solutions to our COVID-induced environmental problems your new priority. Remember to be kind, responsible and safe.