These last couple of weeks haven’t been easy for anyone. We have seen and still see a terrible development occurring all over the globe and for most of us, it has been frightening. Watching the news is constantly getting us down with numbers and pictures of the horrors happening globally. And by now, we also have loved ones in danger or even directly affected by the COVID-19 disease. Our normal life came to a hold with many of us unable to work or loosing their jobs.
In times like these, I personally really need to see some positive sides so that I am able to keep going. And this is what I want to focus on today: There are some good sides in all of this, so let’s see them!
Earth can catch a breath – and we get to see what that means
This one has been all over the news: We have all seen measurements comparing emissions over China or Italy between this year and last year, showing how drastically emissions decreased during this crisis. Even in the United States air quality already is improving . Sure this is a good thing for the climate as we stop heating up our eco system for a while. Studies already predict that it actually saves thousands of lives from pollution . But it won’t change the path we are on in terms of global warming. Once industry is producing again, this will all be caught up quickly without any long term effects.
Still, I see this as an opportunity: As the air cleans up, people finally see the effect our actions have on the planet. In many places in China blue skies can be seen for the first time in years. Waters in Venice have been clearing. Wild life is returning to urban settings. Once we are out of lockdown and production is running again, this will all be gone again. But it might leave some awareness in people: This is what our planet could look like.
I see this as a chance for the green movement: Scientists have been warning about the climate crisis for decades, but people didn’t listen because they did not feel this affecting them. Now they do: While they now see benefits from their climate improving, they will hopefully also notice when those are taken away from them again. And I hope this can be fuel for our movement. The more people join us in this fight, the more we can achieve!
Digitization makes a quantum leap forward
With most workers confined to the home office, the need to improve digital work was never as pressing as it is now. Finally, companies are learning that many tasks are possible by remote and are finding innovative ways to enable this. Meetings are now video conferences. Marketing and sales are moving from shows and exhibitions to the digital market space. Schools and universities offer digital content. More tasks can be accomplished online than ever before.
Not only is this a good development for those of us who like to work from home, but also for the environment: After this, home office will be normal. And this will cause less overall travel: Those with long commutes will be able to come into the office less. Video conferences will be accepted as business meetings. Fewer business trips will be necessary in the future. With mobility causing 22 % of the average German’s ecological footprint, any improvement here has a high impact on the climate!
Sustainability in times of panic buying
Right now is the time of the preppers, those who anticipated that disaster will come and stuffed their basement full of everyday necessities. Others rely on going to the supermarket and hoping that those panic buyers left some toilet paper and flour for others to take.
With these (totally unnecessary) shortages of selected items in the supermarket due to panic buying, suddenly awareness raises also for sustainable options: E.g. for personal care products, interest has spiked for reusable options. People are open for the idea to change to alternatives which will make them more independent in times like these. And some will stick with it.
As we are limiting our Corona virus infection risk by staying inside, we are learning to make the most of what we already have. Avoiding food waste has never been so beneficial: It will help you last longer till the next trip outside. Drinking tap water is now really attractive compared to buying a huge supply that will last you several weeks. Overall consumption has reached an all-time low because most stores are closed. People learn to live with what they have. And finally we all get a feeling for how unnecessary much of our usual buying behavior is!
These are just some of the upsides I see in this situation and I will continue finding and collecting them. Especially now it is important to keep our heads up. And with all the chances this situation offers us, we should focus on making the most out of it. It will help us not only to get through this, but to leave this crisis stronger than before!
Do you see other positive side effects? Please share in the comments!