The Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge disruption in many countries. People are working from home, avoiding public transport and chatting online instead of meeting in person. People’s lives are having to adapt to keep others safe in times of uncertainty. The outbreak is, of course, a terrible thing, but if we have to bear the changes anyway we may as well try and look for silver linings.
Normally our roads are packed and public transport filled well over its capacity. We pollute the world every day travelling to school, work and going on holiday. With people working more from home, businesses closed and schools around the world moving towards online learning, we are seeing a sudden change in pollution levels that the planet sorely needs. The lifestyle alterations might be a big inconvenience to some people, but to others, it may open their eyes to a new, better way of living.
Carbon emissions have dropped an estimated 25% in China over the last few difficult months. As the world’s biggest polluter, this decrease is incredibly beneficial. “Good air days” have increased by nearly 22% over the same period. This is incredible! The decrease China has seen so far in 2020 is equal to half the entire yearly carbon emissions for the UK.
What we need to avoid now is “revenge pollution”. This is where, to get businesses and factories back on track, we start to generate even more carbon emissions than before to try and make up for lost time. Revenge pollution could completely destroy any healing the planet does in the time we are isolating. It is therefore important to remember to keep calm and continue to make positive choices that benefit the planet. Keep your heating off now we are moving into springtime. Use and charge electronic devices at the same levels you did before instead of overusing them. Limit driving “for the sake of it” when walking or cycling is a better alternative.
The absolute best way to avoid emissions bouncing back though? Evaluate whether working from home is productive for you and your company and perhaps encourage everyone to work from home one day a week. If you still need to commute, consider cycling where possible. Fresh air, good exercise and zero pollution is a win for us all.
And you never know, perhaps the changes will be so successful we will even move to lessons taking place at home one day a week… We wish!
Alex B, Joe T, David K – Year 9