Covid-19 has flipped the world upside down and people are having trouble finding positivity in a time that is so uncertain, lonesome, and frightening. In the beginning of 2020, when the Coronavirus started secluding people into their homes, all anyone could see was the negatives. How will people work? What will happen to our economy? Where is the good? And as time went on, billions of people being plucked from their normal public life into a more solitary one, we have seen something the world has never seen… Earth healing itself, with our help.
One of the first positive environmental impacts the world recognized occurred early March before the US even went on strict lockdown. China had been dealing with Covid-19 since late 2019 and had already quarantined its population for several weeks at that time. News got out that their air pollution was down to almost a quarter of what it was, same time the year before. It has even been related to what states like Ohio emit a year, which is amazing! China is the biggest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, and tainted air pollution can lead to residents having lung and cardiovascular health issues. With air pollution limited, people can breathe healthier air and potentially live a healthier life, hopefully air is clear for a long period of time, and continue so all around the world.
The Venice canals have been populated by boats and tourists for decades as Italy has become one of the top 10 places to travel in the world. Videos hit the internet in late March of fish and dolphins swimming in the Venice canals for the first time in a long, long time. When people travel these canals, sediment is brought up from the bottom giving the water a murky look, and now it is a clear blue transparent to the life filling it. Oh, and not to mention less litter in these waters from lack of travel on them.
Another positive impact that hits close to home with some of us beach lovers, is that sea turtles are thriving! South Carolina, along with many East Coastline states, deem ‘Nesting Season’ from May 1st to October 31st every year. This is when turtles come upon shore, incubate their eggs for 60 days, and let them hatch peacefully. This process can be tampered with by beachgoers leaving plastic and waste, making it difficult for the baby turtles to push their way into the ocean, artificial light, like flashlights, leading them astray, and people digging the eggs up, even if they are closed off from the public. Since beaches have been closed for months, and some still on curfew, less foot traffic has saved many turtle nests and allowed for more sea turtles to hatch. A few articles even said that most SC beaches have documented 25-30% more nests in the past few months. Click here to view the ‘Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System’ for South Carolina beaches, online!
This impact can be perceived as both positive and negative depending on the safety of people, and where your heart is regarding animals, but, animals have been seen roaming the streets more than ever! Our world is crawling with important wildlife, and our homes are just as much animals, as they are our own. Frequently throughout history, we have invaded their territory for our benefit and made it completely our own. There have been photographs posted of lions sleeping in the middle of the road in South Africa, when there are usually Safari Tour buses traveling there. Monkeys have taken over streets in places like India and Thailand, even searching for food in front of stores and restaurants. Thousands upon thousands of birds have flocked to Agua Dulce Beach in Lima, Peru since beachgoers are not staking out on the sand. Deer have been seen sleeping in people’s front yards at night, goats roaming around town, and even our beloved sea turtles fit into this. Click here to view photographs of these examples, and spot a few more!
Many other positive environmental impacts include being able to see Mount Everest and the Taj Mahal from the smog clearing, less waste in our oceans due to boat and cruise travel halting, and many people donating clothes/home goods to charities after de-cluttering during stay at home orders. But, there are also negative effects of the world staying at home and quarantining. Stray animals and wildlife are having a hard time finding food because tons of restaurants feed strays with left overs, and some animals even go dumpster diving. The Brazilian Amazon’s deforestation has increased more than 50% for the first few months of 2020, as it did in 2019. Rainforests around the world have shrank over 6500 kilometers since Covid-19 as nature preserves have not been patrolled or assisted in being taken care of. Migration has also been halted, for people and animals, which is great for the environment and is a pivotal part of nature working its course.
So, what can we do? How can we keep up the good things happening from the pandemic as life goes back to ‘normal,’ and how do we pick up the slack of things that aren’t going so well?
- Carpool. Carpooling to and from work, extracurriculars, or even using public transportation will help with emitting carbon dioxide into our air and contributing to the oil crisis, when social distancing is over of course.
- Recycle. Recycling has taken a turn for the worst in this pandemic, especially with how much medical waste has occurred. Recycle in your house, reuse some cups or dishes, DIY plastic objects, get a reusable water bottle, and be sure to separate your trash from recyclables. Recycling helps us preserve our natural resources, saves energy, decreases pollution and creates jobs!
- Let animals be animals. The world will be a very beautiful place if we help animals and wildlife survive, especially in their own homes like the ocean, rainforests and safari.
- Clean up after yourself. Beaches and water streams around the world are cleaner than ever helping wildlife live and even making it more aesthetically pleasing to look at. There have already been tons of viral posts showing absolutely trashed and wrecked beaches after people were allowed back on. That has to end.
- Donate. Like our blog last week, many great causes have been put on hold due to the pandemic, and we must do our part to keep the world going round.
- Educate yourselves on products you’re purchasing and what company it is from. You won’t believe the morality of some companies of what they are doing to our people, animals and Earth. Shop wisely.
- Volunteer your time. Recycling takes time. Saving water in your home, or printing less takes time. Cleaning up your trash takes time. That can be a start that can eventually lead you to volunteering more time and assets.
It is beautiful to see that during this crazy time, the world has some positivity in it from healing itself all the way to helping heal each other. This pandemic has shown us some areas that the Earth has been lacking in, and it is our job as caretakers to keep the world healthy for generations to come. Although Covid-19 has flipped everything upside down, it is on us how we react to it. Let’s do our part, one step at a time! And always, find the good!