It doesn’t matter where you currently reside; if you have access to the internet, you’re probably aware of the global pandemic that has affected us all. But as time goes on, it has become incredibly evident that this shift in our economy is changing more than just how we react to health concerns.
As fewer people have been driving to work, taking vacations, and traveling in general, what will this mean for our environment long term? Are people starting to pay closer attention to important matters like public health and safety? Are we going to finally start monitoring our environmental footprint more carefully and stop regularly damaging our fragile world?
Things have been shifting rapidly, and without proper insight, it can all feel overwhelming. If you feel like you don’t know what you want to do, but you’re feeling a pull towards learning, this article is a must-read! Put your mind at ease by finally understanding what the effects of this pandemic maybe, long term.
How Global Warming and Pandemics are Affecting our Environment
It’s no secret that the global pandemic, coronavirus or COVID-19, is an invisible but deadly menace wreaking havoc across the world. Most people were caught off guard when it hit their area, but as cities, states, and countries started closing down to protect the people, unexpected things started to happen around the world.
Gasoline and Diesel Emissions
After analyzing carbon emissions amid the global pandemic 2020, it became evident that emissions and energy consumption had plummeted by almost 25% in just a few months.
Additionally, people have been driving less, which has freed up significant highways and interstates, and gasoline sales and consumption fell by almost 50% by April. However, it’s important to note that diesel consumption has remained stable as deliveries to stores and homes have increased. During this time, many people remained home, truck and delivery drivers have had to alter their approach to being around people since many of them came in contact with many in a single workday.
During global shutdowns, electricity use declined, but not as drastically as fuel usage. When considered logically, like many corporations, businesses, stores, sports stadiums, and more closed down, it was no longer required to nonessential power equipment. But while these significant changes took place, more people were in their homes consuming electricity all day long.
Global Warming Pandemic Update
Are these shifts in gasoline consumption, emissions, and electricity used to turn the tides on global warming? Unfortunately, it looks like that’s a no.
If anything, this massive shift has made us realize how quickly the world can change if we aren’t careful! This event showed us how quickly our world could go from regular everyday activities to complete chaos in a few weeks or months.
There were some minor wins, like smog and polluted skies clearing for the first time in years. Common pollutants have started reducing in our air, and major cities across the US began experiencing better air quality.
The Environmental Effects of the Global Pandemic Risk
While many people know that the COVID-19, infectious disease is spread from person to person contact and was first identified in Wuhan, China, from this region in China, it quickly spread across the country and then across the globe.
Within just a few short weeks, it went from being a local issue to a full, global pandemic. From China, outbreaks began spreading in Iran, Italy, and eventually even took the United States under its grasp. As countries went into lockdown, industrial activities shut down, roads, sea, and air transportation stopped, and people were ordered to stay home for the first time in recent history.
How did these shifts affect NO2 emissions in these different regions, and what was the percentage rate of reduction? The European Space Agency and the NASA earth observatory pulled together the following data:
- Wuhan, China: 30% reduction
- China, countrywide: 20-30% reduction
- Europe, continent-wide: 20-30% reduction
- Italy: 20-30% reduction
- France: 20-30% reduction
- Spain: 20-30% reduction
- United States of America: 30% reduction
While these numbers don’t seem significant on an individual basis, it’s clear that people are damaging the planet regularly. By making substantial shifts in our routines, we can start to reverse our economic impact.
How has the Pandemic Affected Trade?
According to the World Trade Organization, trade is expected to fall between 13-32% in 2020, as a direct result of COVID-19 disruptions around the world. It’s estimated that the economy will recover by 2021, but what should we expect going forward?
Declines in trade will be painful for businesses, but the suffering people have endured already is no small feat. Our immediate concern should be to do our part to get the pandemic under control by following the protocols implemented by local authorities. Trade was already slowing in 2019, but the global epidemic only exacerbated the issue.
The trade outlook going forward is similar to what we experienced during the financial crisis back in 2008-2009. Just like then, governments have intervened with monetary policies to support local business and individual households. Entire industries have been affected, like tourism, nonessential retail, restaurants, and more, but as things return to normal, they, no doubt, will too.
These small shifts will result in an inevitable trade boost that will resume business in a matter of time.
What Can the People Do to Help?
Are you ready to do your part to help the environment during a pandemic? These ten simple actions are things you can implement today to make a difference!
1. Go Plant-Based and Compost What You Can
By eating nutrient-rich foods, you will increase your ability to fight illnesses, and it will also help support your local food growers. When you choose to compost rather than trash your food waste, you will create a renewable resource that your plants will love.
2. Choose to Read More Than You Stream Television or Movies
Do you have a book that you’ve wanted to read, or have you wanted to learn something? Now is the time to invest back in yourself and your future.
3. DIY Your Cleaning Products
If you’re like most people, you’re probably more aware of how clean the surfaces you interact with daily. By making your own you will help protect your family and the environment from the harsh chemicals in traditional cleaning supplies.
4. Choose Green Power
If you can, update your home to solar power or wind to lower your utility bills and create renewable energy. Most of these will cost a significant amount initially, but the payback will be worth it!
5. Share and Borrow What You Can
No one likes to live in a cluttered space, but when you want to try something new, it is tempting to invest in buying something to fill that need. Instead, consider borrowing items to save on space and money, and you can share your things too. It’s essential to be considerate in this process, though, and always disinfect everything you use.
6. Take and Make Stock
If you’re running out of things to do around the house, consider going through your belongings and reacquainting yourself with everything that you have. Reorganizing the items you want to keep and rehoming the stuff you don’t can be cathartic. If you’re not big on composting, you can use vegetable scraps to make your own stock for soups and other dishes.
If you’re finding you have more time on your hands, consider donating some of that time to your community. You can choose to support an organization that you love or just pick up trash every time you go for a walk. These little steps can make a significant impact on your local environment.
8. Eco-Friendly Activities
Use your time to freshen up your yard, plant bee-friendly flowers, start a garden, build a birdhouse, take a bike ride, make crafts out of found or recycled materials, and more are all good for you AND the environment.
9. Start or Join a Garden Exchange
Do you already have a garden that is producing more than you can consume? Consider a social distancing friendly program to share your plants, seeds, soil, and whatever else you desire with those in your community. Alternatively, resources like this are a great way to start and learn about gardening.
10. Get Outside and Move
If social distancing has made you a little stir crazy, consider taking a daily walk, jog, bike ride, or hike to explore your local area. Most of these spaces are easy to accommodate social distancing, and being outside is proven to reduce stress, improve your mood, increase energy, and boost your valuable immune system.
Where to Start
Are you ready to use this global pandemic to help the environment? Do you want to do your part to help things get back to normal? Or better yet, do you want to help the world be better than before the pandemic?
Start by choosing a few environmentally friendly activities that you can safely practice while social distancing and see how it affects you personally. Then, find out how you can help your community and support local trades and businesses in your community.
Don’t underestimate the power you can have towards positively impacting your region. You can help make a difference!
For more articles about energy efficiency, green living, and positively supporting the environment, check out more of our informative articles.