It is easier to demolish a house than to build one. – Irish Proverb
An article was published by “The Guardian” discussing the correlation between the protocols taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, and the positive impacts on the environment. I have seen multiple things going around social media with similar sentiment; we might not like to admit it – but we live in a highly consumable society and one that generates a ton of waste, through the carbon emissions during the creation, manufacture and transport of products and the trash after using them (packaging, excess material for cushion in transit, or eventual throwing away of the original item, etc).
In trying to keep looking at positives, we can look at this time as an opportunity to create better habits, both as individuals and as a whole, world-community.
1. Now that we are reduced to “essential” outings only – perhaps later we will scrutinize the use of our vehicles more and reserve the use of a car for more “minimal” trips.
2. Maybe in missing the ability to be outdoors as much, we use bikes, rollerblades, or our own two feet for more errands and “non-urgent” outings.
3. I know for myself, I see how much faster I generate waste now, having to stay in. Maybe this makes us more aware and allows us to find ways to reduce that “trash” and begin to compose, recycle and reuse items.
**I also read an article about a woman who lives a “no waste” lifestyle, and in 4 years time has only a mason jar full of “trash” – however, even she (during these COVID times) has tried to balance the improvement of the global climate/environment with the acceptance of increased “waste” in an effort to protect herself properly (like buying prepackaged, frozen foods instead of “bulk bin” options or things more susceptible to contamination). **
4. While I myself love to travel – with airlines being “grounded” (more or less) right now, it makes me think about the amount of emissions that are not polluting our skies/air. I don’t think I travel NEARLY frequently enough to be a major polluter of the skies – however, maybe I will more carefully choose my flights to see where I can find a happy medium between cost and distance/time/flights because if I can pay slightly more but only take a direct flight, that’s a small improvement.
5. Maybe this starts a whole new wave of interest in the agricultural sciences. Farming and gardening are great “skills” that can be reinvigorated among the masses, perhaps injected into the metropolitan mindsets of those who live in more urban areas. Even if it’s a small “box” garden for herbs, it might be a nice way to save some money!
6. With a new mindset for “necessity” and “patience”, perhaps we think more carefully about the “instant gratification” desires of our heart and consciously “reel it in” on the single item orders. I, myself, have an “Amazon Prime” membership – however maybe start a shopping “list” on Amazon and place one large order per month and save some transit emissions, instead of ordering one thing every other day/week.
Now mind you, I am not and never have been any sort of self-proclaimed “environmentalist” and I don’t do nearly as much I probably ought, in terms or recycling, etc. – BUT – I do recognize that while this isn’t “fun” it likely IS a nice break for our planet. Our own breathing (while masked) can breathe air that is less polluted, our oceans and rivers can perhaps run just a little cleaner, and overall, we can set out to a (possible) new and brighter trajectory for our future, post COVID.