Since we were children, Earth Day was instilled as an extravagant day of hyperawareness of the Earth and these increasing problems.
On April 22, let us not just repost social media content about Mother Earth and pretend that it is what we think about every minute of every day. We all forget to recycle, we all take long showers, we all fail at one point or another in our conservative. Maybe it is not at the forefront of your mind because you are not affected by pipelines going through your backyard and contaminating the water, but soon they will exist, and it will be too late to contact these oil companies.
Think about the food miles, the distance of the journey from producer to consumer, your daily bowl of oatmeal and blueberries has contributed toward the gas emitted into the environment. Nowadays, it is easy to joke about starting our own gardens filled with pollinating flowers, fruits and veggies, or to support our local markets with native resources. It is only now when we are down on our luck that we must go back to traditional solutions in order to survive without the advancements that make life “easier.”
Due to nationwide stay-at-home orders, not only are human beings finding new ways to connect face to face – over digital calls and balcony conversations – but they are seeing how staying at home effects the environment.
Take a moment to Google the benefits that result from self-isolation and a consciousness of environmental impact. In a technology – and now isolation-driven lifestyle, people are going outside. Just the other day when my family and I were walking around our neighborhood – a nightly routine whenever I’m home – we had never seen so many people outside, not only feeding their boredom but appreciating the blossoms that had arrived for spring.
Right in the beginning of Italy’s shut down, images and videos of the canals were shown to have clearer water, dolphins swimming closer to civilization, and air emissions decreasing significantly. This is completely opposite of the regular stranded polar bear or beached whale.
We used to selfishly squeeze animal life and nature into corners of the world where seeing them seems new and magnificent, when it is actually quite sad. According to the United Nations website, “the human race has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface;” yet, we need wildlife and nature for everything to sustain our lives.
All over the world, even the smoggiest cities like LA and NYC are showing decreases in air pollution. Citizens of Wuhan, China even took to Twitter to show blue skies.
However, let us not feed a delusion that this is some miracle after this is all said and done.
Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Program, says that while these are visible positive impacts, they are temporary since they are on “the back of tragic economic slowdown and human distress.”
As national governments will have to find ways to rebuild the economy and every other aspect of our lives, a positive environmental impact need to happen in the wake of this government build-again mentality as well.
“The Scripps Institute of Oceanography has highlighted that fossil fuel use would have to decline by about 10% around the world, and would need to be sustained for a year to show up clearly in carbon dioxide levels,” Andersen said.
We must live in a society that can sustain our health.
Let us restore what is the Earth’s. We have the ability to live simply. If life before bought so much chaos and anxiety, why must we jump back into it?
We are seeing what could be if kept up in the long term. I am not suggesting any solution for a utopian end-goal, but after this humanitarian crisis, we cannot continue with our lives pretending it did not change humanity.
I am not just saying to carry signs and march in capitals. I am saying to make a movement in your household.