22nd April 2020 marks the 50 years of Earth Day- a day to celebrate support for environmental protection.
It's understandable that in the midst of a global pandemic Earth Day may not be at the top of everyone's priorities. Despite the devastating effect Covid-19 is currently having on lives across the world there are signs of a silver lining in terms of the health of our planet. Unknowingly many of us currently facing lockdown will in fact be subconsciously helping to take action against climate change.
2020 so far is not quite panning out the way we all expected, and whilst this can be overwhelming, we should all take some time to look at the positives.
Possible the most notable benefit we are all witnessing across the world is cleaner air and increased visibility. Unbelievable photos have been shared from Northern India by citizens from cities such as Jalandhar, northern Punjab of the Himalayas. Views such as these have not been seen in 30 years as a result of the cloud of pollution that has built up.
Closer to home a number of European cities where lockdown measures have been implicated a fall in Nitrogen Oxide has been seen, including in London. With dramatic falls in the use of transport these improvements are only likely to continue. Similarly satellite images of China during the height of the pandemic saw a decline in air pollution levels. Such falls coincided with reduced factory activity and tighter lockdown restriction including strict guidelines n regard to transport throughout many key Chinese cities.
Other breath-taking benefits include the now lagoon like waterways of Venice. A city often overcrowded with cruise ships, souvenir stalls and murky waters now boasts clear, calm and pond like canals. Sandy beds and clear water s exhibiting shoals of tiny fish, crabs as well as a host of plant life.
So what lessons can we learn from all of this and what measures can we take to protect our planet? Are we really too far gone?
Whilst we have seen some rather incredible benefits of lockdown in terms of the environmental health, it is important to remember that this is only short term. Governments will have to loosen and remove lockdown restrictions at some point in order to stabilise the global economy.
This does not mean that it is too late to protect and save the planet though! If we all make small changes to our everyday lives, we could just maybe reduce some of damages already done. We can quite clearly see some of the benefits from strict measures in such a short period of time.
So, when we do all finally return to normal, maybe take a walk to the shops instead of driving. Not only will you be helping the planet but also yourself both mentally and physically.
In the meantime, please do all stay safe and follow the guidelines issued by governments'.
By Contributor Jessica Jouning