Environmental effects of COVID-19

The whole world has seen the ravaging effects of Corona virus across the globe, tearing apart families, thousands of deaths, crashing economies and of course travel restrictions and social distancing affecting the mental health of many.

We know that this is devastating beyond words but it also has a silver lining for Earth as a planet.

For many years we have polluted and destroyed our oceans, lands and skies as our ancestors before us through oil spills, land fills, CFC’s, illegal logging, poaching and wildlife trafficking as well as emitting a high carbon footprint through transportation and the continuing rise of industrial factories. In return we are now facing rapid environmental changes such as the melting of polar ice caps, extinction of species, severe depletion of rain forests, erratic and increasing natural disasters.

There have been extreme changes documented around the globe of species returning to habitats where they have not been seen for many years because of increasing human populations in these areas as well as the significant change in the reduction of air pollution.

China is a top contender for air pollution due to many factors, however the pictures below make it clear what even a month of national quarantine can achieve for the air quality of the human race.

The picture on the left shows a satellite image of China before the effects of quarantine in January 2020, while the picture on the right shows the effects during quarantine in February 2020, the comparison is remarkable and is a clear message of the damage we are causing to ourselves and to wildlife.

China is not the only country to have satellite images showing substantial changes but is however one of the most talked about.

While we are aware that we will always leave some kind of carbon footprint and have a growing need for factories to manafacture the needs of the 21st century, the time has come to consider other viable options that leave a smaller environmental impact as many companies have already started implementing and/or are researching.

Aside from dramatic changes in air pollution there have been significant changes in wildlife behaviour as shown in the pictures below:

Due to ghostly empty streets around the globe we have seen a rise in wild animals taking to the streets in city centres to explore, while others are entering to look for food as they rely heavily on tourists for the majority of their meals. Bodies of water have also become clearer due to less contamination from boats and less pollution from plastics as most people are currently not around to dump their trash.

Whilst we cant always believe every picture we see and every story we read on social media, the Earth has arguably became ‘healthier’ during this pandemic and should be an eye opener that humanity does need to make some well needed changes to our lifestyles.

Will we be able to make those changes or will we continue life as before once the pandemic has come to end. Only time will tell, but we hope so.

Change has to begin somewhere, no matter how small.

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