As Society Halted, the Earth Exhaled

As Society Halted, the Earth Exhaled

by Brianna Tripodi

The past year has taken us all by surprise; it has really been a time when we got to sit with ourselves and think: What could I possibly do today that will keep me not only entertained but also distracted from the outside world? For the most part, I assume that most of us weren’t necessarily thinking about the environment or the Earth’s wildlife while were in quarantine. But something interesting happened during the pandemic…

As most people know, our earth is slowly turning into a place that may eventually become uninhabitable. Scientists have repeatedly told us that we only have a few years left until the things we have done to the Earth become irreversible. Some people don’t listen, however; they believe global warming is a “hoax” or something that won’t be as bad as the scientists are predicting. And then the pandemic happened, and the Earth had a chance to exhale.

Suddenly, when the lockdown was set in place, the Earth started to really heal. According to an article written by Harekrishna Bar, over the past year “The levels of NO2 and carbon emission remarkably decrease in atmosphere due to restricted consumption of fossil fuel by industries, thermal power stations and air transportations. The concentration of NO2 dropped by 45–54% in the atmosphere of most populated cities in Europe. The intensities of particulate matters PM2.5 and PM10 decreased by 43% and 31% respectively, at lower atmosphere indicating improvement in air qualities in different parts of world caused by less traffic and construction activities. SPM reduced up to 15.9%, showing improvement in surface water quality. New deserted bank has developed due to less river activities in this period. Noise pollution remarkably dropped below 60 db even in  crowded cities”. As our daily lives slowed to a grind, the environment got a respite from the chronic harm we inflict on it. An article in Scientific American also states that wildlife is being spotted in places they have rarely been seen before. The food supply for animals has also been affected by the pandemic which is the main reason there have been unusual wildlife sightings in more urban settings. The relative “quiet” caused by the quarantine has also lured wildlife into the open.

As bad as this whole lockdown was, our Earth actually benefitted from it. I don’t believe that all of our environmental damage can be reversed, but I do think if we continue to ride the wave of the positive effects of this lockdown, we will be headed in the right direction.