As so many of our clients are eco-minded, we wanted to take a look into how nature has changed during lockdown and what that means for our future.
There are clear positives and negatives for the environment in our new reality.
For instance, air traffic has halved and there are 70% less cars on the road in UK. Many industrial countries are experiencing temporary falls in carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide – as much as 40%. The lockdown is reducing cultural noise which improves air quality and reduces the risks of asthma, heart attacks and lung disease. One of the biggest statistics is that China, one of the worlds worst greenhouse gas emitters has cut its carbon emissions down by 18% through the pandemic.
Is this the beginning of the end for fossil fuels? Could this be what the future world looks like? As oil steady loses its value – Imagine how fast our air and planet would clear if we only used renewables.
We have also seen the resilience of nature. In our absence, wildlife has filled the vacuum. Cities all over the world have seen wildlife reappear on their streets and without cars there will be less roadkill in 2020. For example, in the UK alone roadkill annually takes the lives of about 100,000 hedgehogs, 30,000 deer, 50,000 badgers and 100,000 foxes, as well as barn owls and many other species of bird and insect.
There is a silver lining for animals in lockdown, but as we have seen across the world, not everyone’s pandemic experience is equal. This is the same for animals in less developed areas. Where human populations are losing incomes they will begin relying on bushmeat, which may drive down biodiversity in our savannahs and rainforests. The reduction of tourism is also taking effect, as without visitors paying to see wildlife around the world, animals are more vulnerable to poachers as organisations are generating less money for wildlife security.
The pandemic has changed the way nature acts and the way we think. When life returns to normal, it may be easier for us to choose the cheapest rather than the most eco friendly. Therefore, whether the pandemic is good or bad for the environment depends not on the temporary halt of pollution, but on humanity’s actions going forwards. If there is no political pressure on governments, the world will go back to unsustainable business rather than carve out a healthier future. Will green energy alternatives improve? Will we align ourselves with small local suppliers and companies that share our values? Or will it be big business as usual?
It will take hindsight to see if this opportunity has allowed us to build a sustainable future, but we hope to be part of the green movement in the months and years ahead.