The temporary reduction in pollution linked to the decline in economic activity during the Covid-19 period may have made us think that the climate situation is less of a concern.
The economic emergency triggered by the pandemic attracted significant resources because it was right before our eyes, it touched us personally and we are experiencing it first-hand. The damages that climate change is provoking, from rising sea levels to desertification, seem very far away, in both space and time.
Man, environment, viruses: we are all connected
We should not forget that man and the environment are closely linked. Epidemics are the expression of an alteration in the balance between people and their living environment, of stress that is being placed on the environment.
It has been demonstrated that the spread of new viruses is favoured by environmental imbalances: climate instability (heat waves and extreme cold), melting glaciers and deforestation (more opportunity for pathogenic agents to spread).
We should not abandon our environmental conscience
Before the lockdown, the environment was a social priority: battles against global warming, the use of plastic and urban pollution were topics of discussion not only amongst environmentalists, but also businesses and countries that had taken an interest in the topic and proposed relevant initiatives.
Without a doubt, the lockdown had a positive impact on the environment: we bought much more online, we worked remotely without commuting, we provided and received remote education, organised and participated in online events, and even doctor’s visits took place, when possible, through our computer screens.
Now, the challenge is to resolve the crisis, put an end to the pandemic and help the climate. The intentions underlying these actions are the same: doing good for people and doing good for the environment which, in the end, considering how connected we all are, is a little like saying the same thing.
An opportunity for sustainable development
The global epidemic we are currently experiencing shows us that governments have the ability to take urgent and radical action when they want to. This may be the opportunity to rethink our development model by aiming more decisively towards sustainable development.
More than returning to our previous lives, this is the moment to think twice about certain consumption habits or production methods . What is needed now are farsightedness and responsibility, on the part of both individuals and countries.