If there are any vital takeaways from the Coronavirus pandemic, it's that slowing down was long overdue and excessive consumerism needs to stop. The virus will eventually go away, lockdowns will be lifted and the global economy will settle — when that happens, we need to make a conscious decision to hit the reset button after this long snooze and actively embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. Fortunately, self isolation has cleared up our busy schedules and handed us some free time to learn just how to go about living a better life for us and the planet.
Lockdown set in motion some shocking yet unreasonable buying behaviour like hoarding of toilet paper, groceries and N95 masks — with the excessive mask purchases causing a worldwide shortage for the hospital staff and doctors who are in actual need of it. If this incident was any indication, our consumption habits are clearly in dire need of some revaluation. Considering buying only what is necessary should be the way going forward. Not only will it put our expenses at ease but also create less of a dearth on universally essential items.
Amid lockdown, the Italian city of Venice saw fishes return to their waters owing to the lack of boat traffic and across the globe, Chinese cities experienced remarkably lowered levels of air pollution. Mother Earth had a chance to breathe again and it had to take a global pandemic to reach what should have always been the natural state. For long, we have romanticised the busy life and made it a part of our daily regime but today, efficient communication and collaboration tools are enabling office-based workspaces to thrive remotely. Companies that can offer work from home opportunities, ought to take a page out the lockdown book and provide it as an option to their employees to partake in few times a month. Not only will this help reduce carbon emissions in small ways but also boost employee productivity.
Travel bans and the imposition of strict restrictions have made the very idea of getting on a plane seem frightening during the pandemic. However, once things normalise the airline industry will definitely experience a surge in travel and air traffic. While the idea of getting away seems like an ideal departure to overcome the post-pandemic stress, making ethical and environmentally-friendly travel choices is a need of the hour. Supporting places that are working to combat climate change and preserve their local ecosystems is probably one of the smartest things one can do while planning their upcoming itineraries. From Costa Rica to Catalonia, Galápagos Islands to the Bahamas and a lot more, these destinations are doing their bit to save the planet and it is our duty to proactively participate in eco-friendly touring when visiting.
Lockdown taught us that remote work is possible with some of the smartest tools and apps at hand. Applying the same logic to other practices that can be done digitally rather than generating environmental waste should be aggressively practiced and applied in our daily functions going forward. Cancelling those newspaper or magazine subscriptions for online perusal, opting for electronic bank statements and bills, making more online payment transactions are just some of the many small ways in which we can contribute towards being greener.
There is an inconclusive opinion that coronavirus originated in the bats that were sold as food in Wuhan’s animal market. Whether or not there is any truth there, the notion has sparked a global conversation on consuming animal meat. While veganism is the ideal path, it can’t be effectively propagated as food is a very personal choice that has had years of conditioning to be fought against. The very least that can be accomplished is letting go of animal meat by the simple process of elimination. Quitting meat has proven benefits on the body and the environment and can be effectively put into practice slowly but surely.
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-04-16