All it took for humanity to slow down is a Virus that is more deadly than the seasonal flu, yet nowhere near any of the viruses that our ancestors had to deal with. That is the reality that we are living in today.
As I am contributing to our blog, I am locked in a small apartment as we are fighting what can be my generation's war. That being said, I feel that overall it was Mother Nature starting to send a message and the message is that we are not on the right track.
For years, environmentalists represented most recently by an 18 year old in the name of Greta Thunberg, have been saying we are not on the right track. I was horrified to read that Carnival Cruises pollutes 10-times more than all European Cars Combined (Luxury cruise giant emits 10 times more air pollution (SOx) than all of Europe's cars – study | Transport & Environment)(https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/luxury-cruise-giant-emits-10-times-more-air-pollution-sox-all-europe%E2%80%99s-cars-%E2%80%93-study). Ironically, one of the first Covid-19 outbreaks was on a cruise-ship.
The Coronavirus does bring people together and makes society more friendly. So now we know that we do not own planet earth, it is good to make use of the time we have to spend indoors for some reflection. It is still not too late to change our course and change the planet and make it more hospitable. For many year, the city that I currently live in, Medellin has been struggling with Air Pollution. However, in 2 weeks of isolation, the city has turned that around and the air is as pure as it ever was.
I do think the current quarantine is an excellent opportunity to reflect on our lives and change it for the better. I would say, we owe it to not just Greta Thunberg, but to ourselves. Most of our most urgent problems aren't difficult to fix from a technological perspective, but it is more that we need to agree as human beings that we should make it a priority. From long supply lines that impact not only our health, but the environment to industrial practices. We can do much better than where we are right now.
I feel that one thing that COVID-19 will bring is a realization that we do need to change course for the better and that we do have the opportunity to all be connected while not being physically connected.
So, while I do fear for our near future, I do think that we are up for a carbon footprint free society and that COVID-19 will bring the change that was overdue for at least 10 years.
Let's be clear, I am not your typical environmentalist, yet I do understand that we need to change course and I think that one pandemic can make us reflect and bring us back on course. Maybe we don't need as much oil to be happy, maybe all it takes is one pandemic and a couple of think-weeks to get things sorted out.
written By: Niels Siskens