Climate Change & Coronavirus
Firstly, to state the obvious, we’re living in unprecedented times. The current situation has resulted and will continue to result in a range of emotions; distress, panic, fear, anger, but also hope, trust, belief, determination. These words could also be used to describe emotions related to Covid-19 – yes, I am talking about something else, something that has temporarily faded from the forefront of public consciousness and business priorities, namely Climate Change.
Let’s start with the negative terms; it is certainly a distressing time as many have had their hours cut or furloughed (admittedly a word that I had to look up!) or have had their sources of income entirely removed.
The panic-buying seems to be under some sort of control; there was a lot of anger directed at the public who panic bought and stock-piled, but the scaremongering media are equally to blame. Now the panic shift will kick in surrounding income support and being able to pay the bills and put food on the table for many.
In general there is a lot of fear; fear at the lack of control of the situation and the lack of certainty surrounding timescales, as well as fear for our loved ones and those who are higher risk.
I won’t go into the Government response here but there is a certain level of anger at certain policies and timings, but also anger again just at the situation and the feeling of helplessness.
It’s not all doom and gloom though; there is real hope coming out of China as they come ‘out of the other side’ and in those countries badly hit such as Italy and Spain, that rates of deaths and new cases are plateauing and in some regions falling as herd immunity takes hold and that the vast majority are coming through unscathed, many without any symptoms at all.
Is this the moment we begin, or re-begin, to trust one another? Trusting our Government in the last decade or so (and arguably for many years before) has been a difficult thing to do, but what choice do we have now? Also, trust in our neighbours around the world that we’re all doing what we can, distancing ourselves, being very un-human like in that regard; technology and in particular social media, so often the cause of discontent and stress, is now bringing people together in virtual ways that have never been done before.
There are likely some hard times ahead, the ‘peak’ may not yet have happened, in truth not enough is known but the figures suggest the next couple of weeks will be the toughest on our incredible NHS staff especially, but there is a sense of believing that we can get through this, it’s just a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.
One message that is quite clear but not often picked up on, is how the human race in general seems determined to survive. Every species on the planet has an in-built survival mechanism, often sub-conscious, but in this scenario it is being brought to the fore – people just aren’t giving up, we refuse, we’re taking daily sacrifices and a vaccine (some way off admittedly) is being developed, F1 teams are producing ventilators, professional sportspeople are donating their salaries to charities, the list goes on.
It will be a distressing time for many for many weeks and months to come; Climate Action will be needed for some time beyond this. Panic is easing, certainly around food supplies and whilst there will be losses of life as a direct consequence of the virus, in the UK it is hoped this figure will be limited to 20,000 or so (approximately 1 in 30,000 of the population). It still makes grim reading, but it can be put into context when compared to the millions that have been affected directly or indirectly by Climate Change and will continue to be so for many years to come.
Fear of the unknown, certainly when discussing timescales, is natural, but there is an end in sight with the hope of life returning back to somewhere near normality by autumn; the damage being done to our planet will go on well beyond this, particularly as the current emissions reductions being seen are likely to be temporary and a so-called ‘rebound’ affect is more than likely. Also, we need to take a long, hard look at what is ‘normal’; put simply from an environmental aspect ‘normal’ includes devastating bushfires, mass deforestation, coral obliteration and much more on a local and global scale.
Interestingly (and at the time of writing based only on limited research) there is data suggesting that as emissions continue to reduce, air quality improves and Covid-19 admissions reduce, indicating that, in this case at least, there is a genuine link between Climate Change and Coronavirus.
It is impossible to please everyone with policies but the Governments of the world are trying their best based on the limited knowledge they have; imagine if this much effort and commitment was put into reducing Climate Change, imagine if corporates and the top earners put this much time and investment into saving the planet all the time, imagine, imagine…
Most importantly, Earth will carry on, nature certainly is and once the worst has passed it is how we respond that is essential; stopping climate change has never mattered more, Climate Action is always needed.
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