Earth Day 2020

This year Earth Day is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and the theme for this year is climate action. Climate change has been the biggest challenge to the future of humanity, but is our current situation starting to rectify this? Is there some good coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

There have been reports all over the world that air pollution levels are reduced due to many industries closing and less cars on the road. For the first time in 30 years, residents in Rajasthan and Punjab have been able to see the Himalayan range from their homes. In one of the areas worst hit by the virus, nature is starting to take back the city of Venice in Italy. The lockdown there has been in place since the end of February and residents were only allowed to exercise within 200m of their home. These tight restrictions have meant that there are very few boats on the waterways and no cruise ships visiting. There is less pollution and the sediment in the canals has settled to the bottom meaning the water is still and clear. Cormorants have returned to feed on fish that they can now see, ducks are making nests at the waterbus stops and even jellyfish can be spotted in the clearer waters. Unfortunately, the “news” about dolphins being seen in the Grand Canal was false and filmed in Sardinia!

What we need to remember is that although our day to day life is very different at the moment, when things return back to “normal”, however that may be, that we don’t lose sight of the good that has come out of lockdown for our environment and that we keep up the fight for climate change. Remember that we do not need to use our cars every day, we can take a walk closer to home and appreciate what is local to us, that our trips to the shops aren’t often “essential” and we keep using our small local businesses that have kept us going.  I’m not sure that our previous normal was the right one.