The Very Temporary Environmental Impacts of Covid-19 

Can we change the way we live to protect the environment?


During these past few weeks, much of the world population remains in quarantine, staying inside their homes and only making necessary trips. With so many workplaces down, most people aren’t even going to their daily jobs. Besides battling Covid-19, this quarantine period is doing something else–drastically reducing carbon emissions. 

All over the world, emissions are dropping in remarkable numbers. In New York, levels of pollution have dropped by 50% as compared to this time last year (Henriques). In China, where the outbreak was most severe at the start of the year,  emissions dropped by 25% (Henriques). Especially in places like China, where air pollution is a very real public health concern, clearer skies can actually positively impact personal health and wellness. A Stanford University scientist calculated that the reduction in air pollution from the past months could potentially contribute to saving 77,000 lives (Bowler). This decrease in pollution can allow the world to have some time to recover from the constant stream of emissions. 

While daily habits established during the lockdown could possibly carry on after the world resumes its regular activities, this way of life is not sustainable. So, although these months of quarantine have decreased emissions, it will never be this way again. This unprecedented period demonstrates that people can take immediate action and shift their way of living if a drastic threat is near.

While the health of the environment may not at the forefront of people’s minds during a time like this–no one wants pollution to be decreased this way–it may be a moment to see which habits in our daily lives are necessary. Are there healthier habits we can adopt? Can we find ways to help protect the environment? Let’s get the conversation started.