At home with limited options, many people are planting ‘victory gardens’ or learning to bake bread, reducing their food’s carbon miles to almost nothing.
Through the windows of our lockdown, we are beginning to glimpse some shimmers of hope about what a zero-carbon world could look like.
It is not all good news, of course. The environmental benefits have come at a catastrophic economic cost. Clearly, this level of shutdown is not sustainable for our livelihoods.
Increased concern for hygiene has skyrocketed the use of disposable products, such as latex gloves, plastic bags and takeaway coffee cups.
Meanwhile, in developing regions of the world adjacent to endangered animal habitats, funding for conservation efforts has abruptly dried up.
The CO2 drops won’t last unless we make systemic changes to cleaner energy, transport and production. Scarily, they may even soar beyond previous highs as companies seek to recover their recent economic losses.
Despite the pitfalls, what the pandemic has shown us is twofold:
- People are capable of working together to make vast social and economic changes in a short period of time
- The environment can recover quickly if we do so.
That alone should be cause for hope.
With record low interest rates and a desperate need for economic stimulus, now would be the perfect time for governments to invest in infrastructure for clean energy and transport. Not only would this serve to drive economic growth and prosperity, it would lead us to a sustainable future.