During this COVID-19 pandemic, people have lost jobs, have been isolated and have passed away, but we have learned many things about ourselves as humans. We have learned the importance of having toilet paper and being good neighbors. We have learned things we should have already known, such as proper hand washing. Also through this pandemic, the importance of how we treat Earth has become evident.
Quarantine has shown us how the planet can heal when we are not killing her with pollution. Efforts for more environmentally friendly ways of life have been talked about for years, but unfortunately, not enough people participate in ways to save our planet. However, with people staying home, the planet has benefited in ways we have only dreamed of in the past.
According to Luke Denne with NBC News, "Traffic-free roads, plane-free skies and widespread brick-and-mortar closings have made the planet a beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic—but only in the short term."
Without our regular daily pollution, data has shown how much harm humans cause.
Denne continues,"The sharp reductions documented in carbon emissions and air pollution caused by coronavirus-related lockdowns have offered a sort of preview of the kind of improvements that can be made when drastic action is taken."
I do not like the idea of staying in quarantine forever, but I believe we have a responsibility to start taking better care of our home. This horrible time has taught us how much we pollute. How can we look at the clear skies and water and throw more plastic and toxins around like confetti? The evidence is astounding of how beautiful the planet has become during COVID-19.
Denise Chow with NBC News writes, "In Venice, the often murky canals recently began to get clearer, with fish visible in the water below. Italy's efforts to limit the coronavirus meant an absence of boat traffic on the city's famous waterways."
I found hope in the pictures of dolphins and clear waterways which were circulating around social media. Unfortunately, too many people will look at the pretty pictures of the Earth healing and keep scrolling.
We should not ignore the evidence. Many major cities have documented huge changes in pollution percentages. Chow adds San Francisco has had a 40% drop in pollution compared to this time last year. That is no small difference. These changes are wonderful, but we cannot let it go back up when life goes back to normal.
Even though social restrictions are starting to lift, we should still be mindful of our effects on the environment. Unfortunately, people are ready to return to toxic normalcy. For example, when Florida beaches started to open back up, trash made the news.
According to Tyler Vazquez with USA Today, more than 13,000 pounds of trash were picked up at Cocoa Beach last weekend less than a month after it reopened on April 21. As a result, officials are working to limit the amount of litter through fines and law enforcement.
This amount of littering is atrocious, especially since we have recently seen pollution clearing up. It is careless. Obviously, humans are the problem, and we casually kill our only home everyday. Right now, we are focused on health, but what will we do when we go back to normal? Of course, I wonder what our normal will look like on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I hope it includes more environmentally conscious choices. We cannot be healthy if our own planet is not.