Since the COVID-19 disease outbreak, it hasn’t been particularly easy to track down good news, especially on a global level. Due to huge decreases in travel, however, emissions dropped drastically and gave Mother Nature a long overdue chance to catch her breath. For the most part, globally speaking, the pandemic has also been a catalyst for people and communities working together in the fight against COVID-19.
Parts of this increase in working together involve more sustainable practices in a world full of factory shutdowns and increased difficulties in getting food. This sustainability silver lining is widespread, and here are some acts of sustainability during the pandemic that are getting a lot of attention in the public eye.
Gardening has been gaining a lot of popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, and for many good reasons. Not only is the time spent outside very good for stress and anxiety relief, but the final product is (if all goes well) some healthy food. Both personal gardens and community gardens have been gaining popularity since city lock downs, and the latter is also helping shrink the amount of food deserts found in urban areas.
This positive spiral effect of gardening makes it a hopeful pick for a trend that lasts long after COVID has gone. Gardening helps the mind while creating products that help the body, and the very existence of the food also helps with financial issues and overcoming burdens to healthy food options.
Sustainability is a popular trend in travel, with things like electric cars increasing their sales quarter after quarter, and for good reason! The vehicles legitimately help save the planet, and with gas prices so high, not paying for fuel makes the vehicle an investment that slowly-but-surely pays for itself. But the only thing better than clean travel, is no travel, and the coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for many innovations caused by the inability to travel and gather.
Most businesses that have moved to the digital/remote work settings have continued similar levels of output from a business standpoint… all while their employees’ only commute was from the bedroom to the kitchen table. Take into account the energy saved at empty office buildings, and a wonderful byproduct of remote work has been drastic reductions in energy use.
As many businesses weigh the pros and cons of a life remote, there is reason to be hopeful that many will consider these sustainable practices and allow willing employees to continue working hard while minimizing their work-related carbon footprints.
With schools also moving to digital platforms, opportunities for sustainability assessments are aplenty. Many colleges are utilizing downtime to plan out better sustainability initiatives to undertake when campuses open back up. Renewable energy has long been part of most universities’ growth plans, and with empty campuses (and minimal dips in tuition), construction on renewable plans can get underway.
Educating students on these initiatives and the reasons they are important leaves a lasting effect on sustainability as well. Students share their knowledge, and sustainable ideas spread.
Whether it be a sustainability movement listed here, or one of the many other ones, continuing to implement these changes and educate about the reasons they are important must last long after COVID lockdowns cease. It’s understandable and expected that the first few months after a vaccine is readily available will result in surpluses of travel and overuse, but reminding ourselves and others that one of the few silver linings of the pandemic was the positive effect on the environment can help ensure changes continue for the good.