Currently, the world is dealing with a deadly monstrous disease COVID-19. It has changed our way of living as per our necessities. There are many lessons we have learned these days, but one of the most important is to realize as to how an individual can live a conscious life with minimum requirements. We hear frequently about climatic changes, global warming, and a lot of things about nature crisis but never thought that nature could also take revenge on human beings and so, here we are to face the revenge of mother nature in form of a — ‘pandemic’. We have put up an immense level of irreversible effects on the environment. However, the world is coming together and battling with this pandemic by channelizing our production and consumption needs. Sometimes a negative thing can also result positively (short term) as the COVID-19 Pandemic has a positive impact on the environment.
Here are some ways in which the earth’s climate has impacted:
Air Quality Has Improved
According to BBC, the air quality has improved in just three months’ duration of time because of the shutting down of industries, low emission of Carbon dioxide. Air pollution has decreased in most of the polluted cities in the world like Beijing, New Delhi, and many more.
Mountain Peaks Become Visible
According to CNN, residents in Northern India are reporting and sharing on their social media accounts that they are finally able to see the top of the Himalayas after 30 years. India’s Central Pollution Control Board unveiled that Delhi has seen up to 44% reduction in PM10 air pollution levels on the first day of restrictions.
Animals Are Roaming Free
Animals are taking advantage of the lack of people in national parks and forests. According to Times, a record-breaking number of flamingos flocked to Mumbai, India during their annual migration. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) told Times that they estimated around 25% more flamingos have migrated to the region compared to last year.
Ocean Water Becomes Fresher
According to Business Insiders, Over 70,000 turtles showed up this year on the coastline to dig nests and lay eggs. Water in oceans becomes clear and fresh for marine lives due to low carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean surface.
Earth Is Shaking Less
There has been a noticeable drop in vibrations measured in the earth’s crust during this Pandemic. These vibrations are generally created by moving cars, trucks, trains, etc. it’s a seismographic vibration which is measured by the Royal Observatory in Belgium.
“A Coin Always Has Two Sides”, In the same way this pandemic has some negative impacts too along with positives which should also be considered. Negative impacts could be worse than ever if we do not take proper actions.
Here is some listed below:
Deforestation in the Amazon
As per ABC News, Brazil is hit hard by COVID-19 and fighting for it, some illegal loggers and miners are taking advantage of the situation. They are cutting down large swaths of the Amazon. Between January and April, 55 percent of more area has been razed than was destroyed in the same period in 2019. The cleared area will be burned to make it suitable for cattle grazing. The Amazon rainforest absorbs two billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere a year, this could increase the chance of wildfires.
Delay of COP 26
The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC was originally scheduled to take place from 9–19 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.
On 28 May 2020, the COP Bureau decided that it would take place from 1–12 November 2021, in Glasgow, UK, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, the COP Bureau announced that: “In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible. Rescheduling will ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.”
In COP26, every country had pledged to take action to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 2° C. This year November at COP26, all the countries had to discuss their future plans to keep it maintained but now since it has been delayed by a year, countries wouldn’t seriously implement strategies.
Less money to invest in renewable energy
Since the Coronavirus has hit the nations, the government has been actively putting their money in emergency services, majorly in the healthcare sector and other immediate and urgent needs. At the same time, the government has reduced the tax revenue also which has taken a heavy toll on government funds. This economic toll has resulted in the government to delay or divert funding to invest in renewable energy and climate resilience projects.
The use of Plastic has exponentially increased due to COVID-19. Used Face masks, gloves, protecting gears, disposable bags are continuously littering public and personal spaces. Increment in online shopping made the excessive use of packaging material resulting in an increased carbon footprint. It’s becoming new normal to wear face masks and gloves but also necessary to take care of the environment.
According to TOI, Covid will push more cars on the road because of the government guidelines of NO contact. Everyone fears catching an infection in public transportation from others who prefer to drive alone in a personal car that will automatically result in excessive air pollution, traffic congestion, and toxic gas emission in the environment. People are moving from crowded cities to suburban houses nearby which means more transport and other services. Walking and cycling could be more independent and contactless traveling options to commute in a better way.
The true lesson here is that there is hope. Nature can mend and our planet can recover. As long as we come together, all of us around the world, with the right blend of action and policy to manage our global carbon footprint, can reverse the effects of climatic changes. It’s up to us now to declare a new normal — let’s leave the way we lived before, and construct a new reality where sustainability and consciousness are at the forefront of our decisions as both being producers and consumers.
- Biswas, Soutik. “India Coronavirus: Can the Covid-19 Lockdown Spark a Clean Air Movement?” BBC News, BBC, 21 Apr. 2020. Available at: www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52313972
- Picheta, Rob. “People in India Can See the Himalayas for the First Time in ‘Decades,’ as the Lockdown Eases Air Pollution.” CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Apr. 2020. Available at: www.cnn.com/travel/article/himalayas-visible-lockdown-india-scli-intl/index.html
- Carlisle, Madeleine. “Over 100,000 Flamingos Descend on Mumbai Amid COVID-19 Lockdown.” Time, Time, 2 May 2020. Available at: www.time.com/5831198/flamingos-coronavirus/
- “Endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Nest in Peace at Empty Odisha Beaches as Coronavirus Keeps People in LockDown.” Business Insider, 26 Mar. 2020. Available at: www.businessinsider.in/science/environment/news/endangered-olive-ridley-sea-turtles-nest-in-peace-at-empty-odisha-beaches-as-coronavirus-keeps-people-in-lock-down/articleshow/74822132.cms.
- “The Earth Is Shaking Less Due to the Coronavirus.” Focus on Belgium, 30 Apr. 2020. Available at: https://focusonbelgium.be/en/science/earth-shaking-less-due-coronavirus
- 25, Renee Cho|June, and Renee Cho. “COVID-19’s Long-Term Effects on Climate Change-For Better or Worse.” State of the Planet, 7 July 2020. Available at: blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2020/06/25/covid-19-impacts-climate-change/
- Sharmila Bhowmick | TNN | Updated: May 21, 2020. “Covid Fear May Push More Vehicles on Road, Says Study: Noida News — Times of India.” The Times of India, Available at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/covid-fear-may-push-more-vehicles-on-road-says-study/articleshow/75857246.cms.