Before the pandemic, climate change was one of the major problems the world was facing. Child activist Greta Thunberg, for example, captured the attention of world leaders and citizens alike because of her bold statements regarding the lack of action towards climate change, or climate emergency as it would soon be called. “We should act as if our house is on fire,” she said. We knew that drastic measures had to be done to make this happen, bringing to halt industries that have relied heavily on long supply chains that are interconnected throughout the world. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stop, let alone change, the course of a world that is moving faster than what it could handle. Not until this pandemic.
Since many parts of the world have been put to a halt or had to slow down this past month or so, we’ve seen photos and videos of clearer skies, bluer seas, and seemingly happy wildlife. Despite the fall of CO2 emissions by 5.5%-5.7% during the pandemic, it is assumed to only be temporary as different industries begin to resume (UN, 2020). In fact, the latest report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) dated April 22, 2020, indicated that CO2 emissions are actually 18% higher from 2015-2019, which is at an all-time high.
So no, this pandemic and ‘quarantine-ing’ is not the savior that will erase our sins as a species. A month or even a year of staying indoors cannot end climate change, not unless we take drastic measures and make better choices; in food, shelter, transportation & communication, in our way of building communities & cities, and in our idea of what a life well-lived is. The future may seem bleak, the future may seem dark, but the future is unwritten.
The ‘normal’ we knew no longer exists. It time to jump from where we left off to a future we’ve been dreaming of. One step at a time, we’ll get there. Let’s talk about how we can create better futures for our industries, for our planet, and for ourselves.