The pandemic that has ravaged the world in the year 2020 ‘’Covid-19’’ has been nothing but mild, claiming the lives of thousands globally, causing economies to crash and ultimately disrupting the regular life pattern of the average human.
While the Corona virus crisis has wreaked havoc, it has also birthed discussions about how the imposed lockdown caused by the pandemic affects the environment and climate change. Is the temporary lockdown a threat or of benefit to the budding climate disaster that might have a greater effect than the current crisis if not attended to? In a country like Nigeria where power is not stable, there has been a higher purchase of petrol by individuals to power their generators. More professionals are working from home overtime and individuals are catching up with their social needs in order to keep busy and escape boredom. Social media is being engaged on an all-time high, according to new data from Kantar, there’s been a 61% increase in social media engagement in Nigeria.
The only way majority of Nigerians are keeping up on their favorite streaming platforms, social media sites and jobs is through the use of generators to provide constamt electrcity. This in turn will cause an increase in the circulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There’s a sharp contrast however in other parts of the world, and we cannot negate the fact that the environment has seen some better days in this period. Several pictures have appeared online and on social media of clearer water, (pictures below article) there has been a decrease in carbon emissions (according to a New York times article). In China and Italy, the air is now strikingly clean. Venice’s Grand Canal, normally fouled by boat traffic, is running clear. In Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, the fog of pollution has lifted. Even global carbon emissions have fallen. The lockdown has had a positive effect on the environment no doubt, but not enough to create sustainable change.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that everyone, individuals, corporate organizations and governments alike pay more attention to climate change. A lot of people have become aware of climate change in recent years, this however has not translated into action. There is a need to take action and begin to build healthy habits in our home, place of work as individuals and collectively etc.
Many countries have banned the use of plastic, in Kenya for instance, the use of plastics has become illegal, and it’s use attracts a fine and a possible jail sentence. Plastics take between 600-1000 years to decompose and are a major threat to marine life, recycling and upcycling of plastics rather than single use should be encouraged. Individuals can also imbibe healthy habits such as switching off sockets and switches when not in use, disposing waste properly, recycling and upcycling of materials etc. it is expedient also that governments of nations follow the path developed nations are threading by creating policies that protect the environment and helps to fight climate change.
We definitely can say that the Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise, but not climate change. It is happening gradually, budding gently every day around us. If we listen to the cry of mother earth now, it’ll save us a future catastrophe.
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