COVID-19 pandemic Illustrates the effect that humans have on the environment

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NASA Satellite Image

A NASA satellite images show a decrease in pollution in China.

Hailey Griffin, Arts Editor

This year, Earth Day will be different from Earth Day in previous years. Shelter-in-place orders prompted by COVID-19 will prevent you from attending any outdoor Earth Day seminars or activities.

Schools, parks, restaurants, malls and other businesses have closed, limiting our consumption, preventing interaction, travel and causing many to lose their jobs. Despite the hardships that we face right now due to COVID-19, we must pay attention to the positive aspects of this situation. The temporary halt of consumerism has allowed for the environment to thrive. Pollution has decreased in several places around the world.

Air quality in large cities has increased due to a decrease in factory and fuel emissions. Water quality has also improved in areas where boat traffic has decreased as a result of travel restrictions. Animals, too, have noticed the decrease in pollution. Wild animals have appeared in large metropolitan areas, embracing the lack of human activity.

Most shelter-in-place orders have existed for about a month, and in that short period we have seen drastic changes in air and water quality. These changes demonstrate how much the environment could benefit from our lack of consumption. If three months is all it took for these changes to occur, imagine how much the environment could benefit in the next three months if we continued to consume less.

However, when lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders are lifted, it’s probable that the environment will return to its polluted state. Once things go back to normal, people’s desire to consume may skyrocket, and businesses will likely want to produce at a rapid pace to make up for lost time during quarantine.

The positive change that the environment has experienced in the past few months goes to show that if humans made more of an effort to consume less resources, the environment would have a chance at sustaining itself. It’s obvious that, without humans, the risk of environmental damage would be non-existent. But human habitation is inevitable, which is why we must try out best to support our environment and conserve our resources.

There are ways that we, as individuals, can make small contributions every day to help the environment. If we unite in our effort to support the environment, our small contributions will make a greater impact.

So, treat every day like its Earth Day. Make a conscious effort to consume less resources and produce less waste. Recycle waste when you can, and reuse items whenever possible. Help provide for the Earth as it has provided for us.