Looking on the bright side... will Covid19 have a lasting positive impact on the environment?

  • Hey everyone, it is difficult to focus on the issues of climate change and environmental degradation when the looming threat of a pandemic is much more present in our daily lives. Of course, this situation presents a lot of negative aspects but one silver lining is the marked improvements some ecosystems have seen in their environmental states. Emissions and pollution are down in many of the world's major cities and regions. Species seldom seen near urban centers are making unprecedented reappearances.

    Are these just ephemeral effects or could they lead to more permanent improvements? Is there a way we can encourage longer lasting changes?

  • Ultimately what I've seen has been mostly emotional reactions due to COVID19. People make real changes not because of logic but because of their feelings.

    The other day, a pod of orca whales was sighted extremely close to the Vancouver downtown core (source). It's obviously super anecdotal and not the kind of evidence you can base real models upon, but these are the kind of sentiments that really get through to people.

    Continuing to highlight things like that will hopefully stick around in the minds of society for the long term. This is why I'm optimistic that something good can come from all of this

  • I'm hopeful. At the very least, we are currently in the middle of the biggest remote working experiment that the world has ever seen. Commuting causes a huge amount of unnecessary emissions and this could persuade some to skip the commute when things go back to normal