In the wake of the global Covid-19 “Coronavirus” scare, it’s been incredibly easy for us to look at what’s going on around the world through a restricted lens and view all of the clear negative aspects of the global pandemic without noticing any positives. The Coronavirus and all of its negative impact is nothing to ignore and has become the main focal point of many conversations around the world. In this article we hope to share some positive impacts on the environment that have been noted in direct correlation to the wide spread quarantines taking place around the world. At this time it is vital that we take the threat to our health seriously and take positive steps toward protecting ourselves from the spread of this virus, however it is equally important to take note of the incredible positive impacts the quarantines have had on our ecosystem. For quite possibly the first time in history, several ecosystems have had the unique opportunity to evaluate the way we impact our environment and take a close look at how the world has been able to rebound in the short time we have spent indoors and significantly cut back on our pollution output.
In Venice, Italy, the mandatory quarantine has the public waiting out the storm from within their homes. While not getting to spend time outside and the impact this quarantine is having on businesses is surely something to be upset about, we can’t ignore some incredible things that are happening to the ecosystem, which is now primarily unencumbered by human impacts. The canals of Venice have become well known for their murky waters which are riddled with pollution causing the water to be nearly impossible to see through. After just a short few weeks without human impact, the canals have become nearly crystal clear! As the sediment frequently stirred up by gondolas settled to the bottom and pollution output decreased the canals became clear to the bottom revealing fish and an overall cleaner environment all around. There’s also been sightings of dolphins returning to these waters after leaving for so long due to the pollution that became normal for the area.
For Italy I think this presents an incredible opportunity that’s unique to the unprecedented experience we are all going through. The ability to see this positive environmental change in such a short period of time is eye opening to the impact we have on the environment around us. As a community on this planet it’s our duty to protect our natural resources and keep our planet as beautiful and pristine as possible not only for ourselves and our own experiences and health but for the other species that call these places home!
Areas of China have become famous for their ever increasing levels of air pollution and health issues related to air quality and smog. On average 1500 people die premature death each year due to air pollution in Hong Kong alone says Patrick Fung in a CNN article released the past Tuesday, March 17th. What’s been the result of the mandatory quarantines in these highly polluted areas? With large industrial plants closed and far less cars on the street, air quality has shown astronomical improvement of good quality air increasing over 20% in February alone! This positive change has been so large the difference in air quality has been documented from space!
Reporters and scientists warn of “Revenge Pollution”, the resulting uptick in pollution once businesses and vehicles are back in normal operation. Still, it’s interesting seeing how quickly the ecosystem has been able to begin bouncing back and healing itself from the impacts of human pollutants. Like the canals in Venice, I think this is a tremendous opportunity for our planet to evaluate our impact on the environment and seek new solutions addressing our carbon footprint.
While it would be unrealistic to think that we could emerge from our quarantined state and not begin creating a negative environmental impact once more, this presents a unique opportunity for us to take a hard look at the result of our impact on the planet and brainstorm new ways to reduce our footprint to work more positively with our ecosystems.
While the benefits to our environment not only in China and Italy but around the world are unfortunately short lived positive outcomes of the global pandemic, there are steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease our output of pollution to steer our future in a more eco-friendly direction. At Historic Banning Mills we take our impact on the environment very seriously and strive to work with the environment and conserve nature to the best of our ability. As a people we need to protect the natural world we call home in order to conserve its beauty and continue to reap the benefits of its long term health. Here’s a few tips we believe can be easy implementations into our daily lives to continue to curve our environmental impact in a positive direction.
Driving our vehicles is an inevitable necessity today. We’ve got places to be and people to see! We can try to minimize the pollution we create however, by trying to carpool when possible and taking good care of our vehicles to ensure we are create the least amount of emissions possible! In the market for a new car? Consider looking into hybrid vehicles or going green with an electric vehicle to reduce your impact and save yourself from ever needing to pump gas again!
Do some research into consumer goods and waste and you’ll be blown away by the number of single use items we throw away every day. These consumer goods have to go somewhere, and more often than not they wind up making their way into the ecosystem and negatively impacting our environment. When we throw used goods into the trash it’s easy for us to say, “out of sight, out of mind”, but keep in mind that everything we use and throw away is still somewhere on this planet. It has to go somewhere! While much of that waste is disposed of appropriately, a surprising amount escapes into the environment. A great solution to mitigating this issue is to purchase items that are reusable like metal water bottles and try to cut back on single use items!
This is an easy one and something most of us don’t do nearly enough of. Take some time to get outside and exercise or explore. The world is beautiful! Go for a walk, ride your bike, or sit outside and take in the scenery. These activities cost you nothing and the whole time you’re enjoying nature and reaping the positive health benefits that being outside provides, you’re decreasing your carbon footprint! At Historic Banning Mills we have around fifteen miles of hiking trails that take you on a historic walk through nature as you’ll encounter ruins from the old paper and pulp mills that still stand all around our property! Getting outdoors and spending time enjoying nature can build an incredible appreciation for the world around us and provides too many health benefits to list in this article.
While Covid-19 continues to be an issue for our population and something that definitely should not be taken lightly, it’s nice to see some positives that have emerged around the world as a result of the precautionary measures we are all taking. Though these positive benefits are temporary and our level of pollution is sure to bounce back when everyone rejoins society, there’s a valuable lesson to learn from these short term environmental positives. We can work together to create a positive change in our planets health and long term well being. We can take steps, small or large, to reduce our carbon footprint and positively impact the future of both ourselves and our predecessors. It’s our duty to take care of our home. If Covid-19 has shown us anything about our ecosystem, its that our planet can heal when we step aside and give it some room to grow. As we emerge from our capsules and rejoin the outside world, I challenge us all be conscious of our impact and take steps towards working with the environment and building a brighter future.