Our world has been turned upside down by shocking events filling the news. Covid-19 specifically has spread mass hysteria worldwide as scientists claimed in March that 1.7 million deaths could occur in the U.S. alone. Ways of living across America have been turned upside down by protective actions put into place to control contamination. Thankfully, the projected death rate has not yet proven to be true as only around 114,000 deaths have occurred in the United States as of June. However, what if a small portion of lives were being saved by a resurgence in ecosystems across the world?
This may be the glimmer of hope that we need during this dark time.
The carbon emission reduction from cars alone has already had a huge beneficial impact on our environments. In the U.S., carbon monoxide emission has been cut in half as a result of 40% less domestic air traffic and a 41% decrease in peak automotive traffic congestion. In China, it is estimated that the decrease of pollutants in the air has saved up to 4,000 children under the age of 5. Satellite imagery shows a stunning decline in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in many major cities across developed countries shortly after quarantine began. This is significant in relation to health as nitrogen dioxide is known to cause respiratory problems as well as cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms.
There have been clearer skies in Paris, various abnormal wildlife sightings in big cities and clearer waters in the Venice canals for the first time in decades. According to the Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology in Manila, fine particle matter has decreased 180% resulting in clearer, more beautiful skies. Nitrogen levels, smog, and other destructive environmental pollutants are being reduced at a drastic rate.
As our environment heals itself, gasses present in our environment which irritate and cause major respiratory problems all over the world are lessening. It is estimated that air pollution itself is responsible for half a million premature deaths in Europe every year. Those who suffer from health issues such as asthma, headaches, and other respiratory and cardiovascular issues can expect less symptoms. People all over the world are breathing cleaner and healthier air. Although this is just a small positive side effect of a worldwide shut down, we must learn from this experience and strive to promote the positive effects of a healing environment.
Despite this victory of environmental restoration, there has been a surplus of medical, paper and plastic waste produced as a result of this pandemic. In addition, excess use of energy from online meetings, educational classes and an upward trend in general internet usage contributes to the release of greenhouse gases. This corona virus has given us an opportunity to question how we can lead sustainable lives.
As Christians, we must be aware of the negative impact our behaviors have on God’s creation. Vulnerable people with preexisting conditions could have a fatal reaction to severe pollution. Quality of life lessens as pollution increases. Reconsideration of teleworking, consolidation of trips and recycling must be incorporated into our daily lives as we move forward. We must cherish the world God has given to us by reducing plastic, harmful gasses, and deforestation throughout the earth. Our environment faces threats which in turn could have a detrimental impact on our daily lives. One way to combat this threat is to promoting the production of decomposable plastic bags, straws and other appliances is a way that we can promote the revival of our planet. Innovative materials and conscientious living could save thousands of lives throughout the world.