This pandemic disease, Coronavirus’ speed, and scope has claimed thousands of lives and has caused an economic disruption, leaving the world governments by surprise. It has changed our normal routine resulting in the public’s threat where everyone is suspected as a possible carrier of the deadly virus. But amidst all the long list of trials, our nature also has its way of responding to this global crisis.
Coronavirus and its implications are not only dominating the news but also the lives of nearly the whole globe. It is unsurprising that many have been thinking about the consequences of the virus on climate action.
On the other hand, one good thing about the global lockdown is a win for nature and climate. It points to the huge reductions in pollution and greenhouse gases resulting from large-scale economic shutdowns and lifestyle changes. Journalists have reported on the improvement of the water resources and fish canals across the globe. Maps from NASA showed lower percentage levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2) from which is around 10-30% lower compared to the last year’s report. One scientist has also predicted that the reduction of air pollution from reduced industrial activity in China could actually save more lives than those that were lost in that region due to COVID-19.
No reason to celebrate
Humans are continuously harvesting nature’s resources and plugging them into an industrial cycle to claim and declare that there is a growth in their economy which puts out various consumables like cars, clothes, gadgets, processed foods resulting in a lot of waste that endangers our surroundings. This process drains also the environment’s natural ability to balance itself and damages ecological cycles, it adds a large amount of waste leading to changes in our planet.
Humanity tells us that we have nothing to acknowledge in the pandemic that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. The goal of taking action on climate change should be a deduction of human suffering and save lives; economic destruction and disease are not possible climate mitigation strategies.
In practical terms, the current dip in emissions is unlikely sustainable, and an economic recession endangers investments in clean energy which makes it more difficult to secure financing for other climate mitigation and adaptation projects.
The bigger picture of this article points out that a climate crisis is equivalent to a health crisis. Health impacts climate change that is profound are far-reaching. From endangering food security to enabling the spread of mosquito and other vector-borne diseases to an increase in a number of deaths due to more frequent and severe heatwaves. These effects are known with the scientific community, and yet health has not yet made its way into the center of climate politics or policies.
Climate and health are two sides of the coin
Climate emergency and health emergency are two different scenarios. Both arerooted in the same abusive economic behavior and has proven to be fatal to humans. The risks of ignoring these two concerns are too high. This pandemic offers us a painful but important opportunity to re-organize our social and economic systems based on what really matters, the planetary health. This means embracing the fact that the health of the people and the health of the planet are inextricably intertwined; that our natural ecosystems are the most important elements that support life on this planet.
Aspects of climate change
progress at different phasing and in different locations, some changes may not
be obvious for some, but it is truly happening. There may be certain thresholds
which if crossed will cause change to be irreversible. And while we do not
receive daily updates on the death toll caused by climate changes as we do with
Corona Virus, changes in our climate are more fatal than the latter.
A broad number of countries around the globe have taken strict measures to curb the movement and gather people to contain the spread of the virus, also at the expense of each country’s economic growth. The same has happened to climate change. The current climate change measures have taken a little heed of the scale and progression of the environmental changes that we are experiencing. Climate change does not follow any specific cycle, it does not wait for decades or centuries for the development of sustainable targets.
The pandemic disease is a test of humankind’s citizenship
This is the time where everyone can make a difference but needs an action plan across the globe. This is where our leaders channel resources in response to this epidemic and will be the biggest determining factor in our ability to re-shape the future based on what really matters. This pandemic has also demonstrated how fragile our economic system in which we can probably transition it into a more sustainable way of living. This is surely a collective realization that having good health is the foundation of everything that we do.
The quick response to COVID-19 by our world leaders illustrates the remarkable capacity of the society to put the emergency brake to resume, by simply acting at the spur of the moment. It manifests that we can take radical actions if we want to.