Years from now when COVID-19 would just be a memory and we have moved on with our lives, what will be the legacy and lessons learned from this challenging time? Will we just remember the illness, death, isolation, fear, and loneliness? Or will we be able to reflect upon this time and honestly take into consideration some of the striking things that have happened a result of human beings having to exit center stage for a short period.
We are all being told to stay indoors and far from one another. We are doing this for the good of all humanity. It is inspiring to see so many people come together for a cause while literally physically distancing from one another.
One of the most striking unintended consequences of social distancing and lockdowns has been the dramatic changes that have taken place in nature. There are reports from all over the world about how pollution has dropped almost overnight because people are forced indoors. There are fewer cars on the road and shuttered factories aren’t spewing black smoke into the atmosphere.
China, one of the hardest-hit countries and one of the first to impose lockdowns, emitted 25% less carbon compared to the same time period a year earlier. The water in Italy’s famed Venice canals is now clear due to a lack of tourists. Air pollution is also down. After just one day of an initial voluntary lockdown in India’s largest city of Mumbai blue skies replaced the usual smog. There are more inspiring stories like this from all corners of the globe.
This is the obvious result of more people staying home resulting in fewer people driving. But why does it take such a serious event as a global pandemic to see how much damage we have done to the world at large?
Many have found a correlation between such a widespread pandemic and the way we humans have been mistreating the earth for so long, seemingly without consequence. COVID-19 is seen by some as a sort of karmic retribution. This may be simplifying the serious situation, however, one cannot deny the amount of stress that we have placed on Mother Earth. The proof is in those pictures we see now of clearer skies and cleaner water.
Will we learn to appreciate all that planet earth has given us? After this is all over and people have recovered from the shock and grief of so much loss, can we come together once again as human beings and begin to appreciate the earth and all of her inhabitants? Only time will tell, but I am positive that there is more good than bad out there. We must do the right thing and finally respect our Mother.