With much of the world staying home, the environment benefits

by Jade Doerksen, staff

Each day we hear that humans are ruining the plant, many animals are in danger, and global warming will destroy us. Recently, the International Energy Agency said that our global temperature could increase 4.3°C by 2100 from the average pre-industrial temperature. But as millions are quarantined, the environment is improving and rebuilding. In this time of crisis, there is hope.

 

Since the beginning of 2020, nations have closed their borders and created quarantines due to Coronavirus. The United States leads in both confirmed cases and deaths according to CNN Health. While life changes, the environment has been affected positively in various ways. Many cities are rapidly decreasing their carbon emissions, and wild animals are seen more frequently.According to the International Energy Agency the world will cut its energy demand by 6 percent (equivalent to the energy demand of India) because of the pandemic. This has caused global coal demand to be lowered to 8 percent, as it is the primary source of energy.

 

Coal burning causes large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.Carbon dioxide traps heat from the sun within our atmosphere so a reduced amount of carbon emissions means global warming slows. Global warming, or climate change can cause an increase in natural disasters like devastating tornadoes, tsunamis, and hurricanes, hotter average temperatures, as well as higher sea levels.

 

As coal burning lowers, many cities’ carbon footprints have been rapidly lowering. In China, carbon emissions fell approximately 25 percent beginning in early February and stayed around that level for approximately four weeks. This carbon emission drop occurred quite soon after the country’s lockdown on Jan. 23. Additionally, New York’s emissions fell 10 percent, and Paris’ emissions fell a whopping 75 percent.

 

Another environmental improvement is increased animal habitat as sea travel slows, and city streets are deserted. In Israel, a headline from the online news site Haaretz read “Wild Boars take over Haifa as residents stuck inside.” Humans have begun inhabiting wild boar territory in the Carmel forest range, so now that humans are inside, the boars can reclaim their lands.This trend of animals migrating back into their native area is also seen with dolphins in the Bosphorus off the coast of Istanbul according to BBC. There have been significantly fewer boats traveling in and out of the city, so dolphins feel more comfortable getting closer to beaches,3,000 flamingos have migrated to the coastline along the Adriatic Sea in Albania, which is a third more than past years as shared by BBC. Flamingos thrive in areas with very little human contact, so quarantine keeping millions in their homes, flamingos are able to reproduce and find shelter much easier.

 

The Coronavirus pandemic has claimed lives, ruined jobs, and damaged many economies. This is devastating. Although we can seek the positive in this terrible time. Animals

have more land and less carbon dioxide is pumped into our atmosphere, but this begs the question: how do we help the environment when we can go back outside?