I am sure you’ve all seen the news. We don’t need to dwell on the implications coronavirus has on humanity. We see them day to day and week to week, with insurmountable figures of losses and infection. Nature’s response to this virus however, is nothing short of remarkable. With less people on the streets, less carbon emissions, pollution and waste, we’ve seen nature begin to reclaim parts of the planet. The question lingers in amongst this strange new world we live in; can humanity and nature truly live together in peace?

Obvious Effects

During this crisis multiple airlines have been grounded, and air travel at large has temporarily taken a nose-dive… sorry couldn’t resist! Along with airlines thousands of businesses, factories and production lines have shut their doors. This inevitably means a reduction in carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses, which are responsible for climate change. In addition to this the planet has seen a huge reduction in waste. Millions of tonnes of general waste no longer spill into landfill sites or oceans. Think about every paper cup from Starbucks that is thrown away when It’s business as usual… none of that is happening right now! What we are seeing though is an increase in medical waste, especially in the countries that have been battling coronavirus the longest. Which in some cases can be more harmful to local wildlife, with more chemical waste that poisons animals and makes habitats uninhabitable.   

A Shift in Focus 

You may remember that climate change was front and centre of everyone’s mind, before COVID-19 was all over the media. Characters like Greta Thumberg campaigned furiously to change the way countries were responding to the imminent threat of climate change. Now when we look at the world we face an even more imminent perhaps even more deadly threat… So much so that even Greta Thumberg has taken a back seat. It could even be argued coronavirus has done what Greta Thumberg failed to do: protect nature, animals and the environment.

Steps Forward

Drawing a comparison between COVID-19 and climate change as global emergencies raises questions. The response to coronavirus has been swift, serious and momentous, the same can’t be said for the human response to climate change. The threat of coronavirus is something confined to humanity, it’s the human beings’ plight, and humanities battle. Climate change is something that affects us all, the threat may not be quite as immediate or as alarming but it has the potential to shatter lives perhaps more so though than the recent pandemic… maybe even produce longer lasting harmful impacts on our way of life and the lives of animals. 

Day of the Triffids

Nature is beginning to take back control now that humanity is hiding away in isolation, and it’s amazing to see things change so drastically in so short a time. Even Chernobyl, which I’m sure you are familiar with, has wildlife returning to the infamous nuclear site after the mass evacuation of the human settlement in the area. Animals roam freely through the old shopping malls, town halls and residential streets. The ghost town has become abundantly full of life… Just not the life we are used to. These are interesting developments but it raises an even more poignant question… is it really possible for humans and animals to coexist peacefully in the twenty-first century? With air travel so common, with all these things damaging the environment, how can we sustain the life of our planet and live the comfortable existence we have grown accustomed too? Humanity has been selfish.

Something to Think About

I’ll leave you with this: 75% of all emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. This means humans are developing these diseases through germs spread by animals, with this in mind mass migration of animals fleeing habitats and the overcrowding of species in ever diminishing rain forests, could potentially lead to more diseases emerging in the coming years. Any unprecedented shifts in climate, causing these creatures to flee their habitats like refugees, has the potential to completely change our lives…