When we stop, the planet breathes

Anya Shah May 16, 2020
When we stop, the planet breathes

For the first time in living history, life as we know it has ground to a halt. Classrooms and offices sit empty, pubs are shut and a visit to the supermarket has become a near-death experience. Meanwhile, our planet breathes a sigh of relief.

Although this new reality is full of hardship and struggle, it’s clear lock-down is a necessary evil. Perhaps it’s also the kindest thing we could have done for our planet.

In the past few years alone, efforts to ‘go greener’ and save the earth from tipping point have increased considerably. Whether out of need, awareness or trends, more of us have taken steps to change our habits. To some extent, we have succeeded in undoing some of the damage.

But even in our conscious effort to bring the planet back from the brink, we aren’t doing enough. The problem is that to do the earth justice, we need to almost entirely change the way we live. That’s simply too hard – unless we’re given no choice.

Silver linings

The positive effects of lock-down on the environment have been phenomenal. Traffic has plummeted, with a BBC report suggesting road trips in motorised vehicles are 35% of the usual level.

Pictures on the internet of clear blue skies in New Delhi, Beijing and London look so perfect it’s hard to believe they haven’t been Photoshopped. The evidence speaks for itself, however. The UK’s daily carbon emissions have dropped to one-third of usual levels.  

A yearly bout of lock-down to save the planet might seem the ideal solution but is unrealistic. Aside from obvious health concerns (mental and physical), lock-down has the economy in tatters and, quite frankly, we miss our freedom. But perhaps we’ve seen enough to learn from our mistakes?

A new beginning?

Human life is delicate and must be protected at all cost – much like the earth. Faced with the unequivocal evidence of how much damage our former lives used to wreak, perhaps we will finally choose to be more gentle with each other and the planet.

With public transport a no-go for many of us and a newfound appreciation of buying locally, we find ourselves with no choice but to be greener. As normality resumes and life as we used to know it creeps back, let’s not forget the goodness these hard times has brought out in all of us and how far kindness can go in making the earth a happier place.

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A 22-year-old Durham graduate, currently on furlough leave as a junior copywriter at Immediate Media. Looking for ways to stay creative during this time, as well as learn new skills.