The environment breathes with the COVID-19 crisis

It seems that our planet breathes for the first time in a long time. In this Covid-19 crisis, the essential thing, indisputably, is to continue fighting side by side against this pandemic that is preying on the most vulnerable population, but should we reflect on the environmental issue at the same time? We believe that it will be very necessary.

The data regarding the brutal decrease in carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere in the last days since the state of alarm was announced, are being very positive and radical in this regard. We can say that stopping most of human activities is clearly benefiting the environment. While the coronavirus pandemic has been advancing mercilessly around the world and the streets have been left empty, the roads have been practically deserted, few planes cross our skies and the factories have been closing… our Planet Earth, the animals and the forests have taken breath again, they have breathed again and most importantly, we are beginning to pay more attention to them, giving them value.

It is a fact that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased notably since when the economy stops, the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has also stopped to a great extent. Even from our balconies and windows, many of us have been able to appreciate this significant change; the air is cleaner and purer even in the largest cities; the skies no longer have those gray berets, the waters in many places are cleaner and more crystalline and the little noise pollution allows us to hear the birds sing “Could it be that now the birds sing differently because they are heard better or because they know that we hear them?” Viole Casillas.

If many of you have reflected on this topic, some of the questions that you have probably asked yourself are: how long will it take to get back to the same thing? Will we have learned anything in this regard when this is all over or will these environmental improvements be quickly reversed? It will depend on the decisions that governments make to this crisis whether these drops in emissions are quickly countered if a balance is not sought.

The balance is difficult, but we believe that together we must try to achieve it; progress does not have to be to the detriment of nature because it is clear that the Planet will continue here, whatever happens, but we are the ones who have to lose and we do not want to realize it.

We insist, at the moment the priority is to fight against this disease, praising and supporting the work of all those who are leaving their skin on it every day, but it is important that we also think about the importance of air quality, for example in our health so that the maximum levels of contamination set by the WHO are not breached once the crisis is over.

“If we do not assume the value of the services that ecosystems offer us, the need to properly manage natural resources and the fact that we live on a planet with biophysical limits, we will be faced with increasingly frequent and more severe crises, a those that we will put the adjective of sanitary, climatic or migratory, but that have as a common element a systemic problem”, explains Miguel Ángel Soto, spokesman for Greenpeace Spain.