Covid-19 posed many new challenges to us as individuals as well as a collective, and it can be demanding and complex to recognise and distinguish the benefits that also came along with it.
However, the impact of humanity on the environment has been made visible by lockdown, and if it wasn't undeniable before, it sure is now.
The economic slowdown meant pollution across the globe saw a massive dip. Many countries reported improved air quality, with Delhi, one of the most polluted cities, stating a 71% reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Over the three day Christmas period in 2020, 8000 flights were cancelled worldwide. This aviation standstill and the severe deceleration in its lead up from the start of the pandemic back in 2019 has resulted in a 60% decline in carbon dioxide emissions.
Whilst there has not been sufficient time for wildlife to reclaim territory, there have been spectacular sightings of wildlife these past couple of years. From deers grazing not far from The White House in Washington D.C to peacocks parading the streets in Harpenden and dolphins reclaiming the Bosphorus waterway in Istanbul, we are able to see the tremendous flipside from the ordinary hustle and bustle of our capitalist lives.
Attitudes and mindsets have also changed. 57% of European consumers have stated that lockdown has made them reconsider the environment and nature, particularly the importance of clean air. With our social lives at a halt and the uncertainty of the hospitality industry our interactions with nature have evolved. The same can be said for brands, taking a more social conscious stance, with 78% of organisations re-assessing their business models to be more sustainable.
Whilst the pandemic has been an eye-opener, and a glimpse towards a more environmentally friendly future, the return to normal questions whether this will indeed be a lasting change. It’s easy to slip back into old practices and bad habits. Coronavirus was met with much-needed urgent and practical responses. We must hold onto the same haste alongside a solutions-oriented strategy, to secure these behaviour changes in place and witness long-term support for the persistent climate crisis we are all facing.