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We have all been impacted by the coronavirus in some not-too-insignificant way. Since the first cases were reported in late 2019, we’ve seen life change beyond recognition as its devastation and disruption have spread globally.

However, as we unite across the world to fight the virus, our response is having one unforeseen side effect: the environment is breathing a sigh of relief. From social distancing, to working from home, to alternative sourcing of household goods, our actions are all unwittingly cutting the environment some much needed slack.

Saving the planet in more ways than one

Look out at the streets around you now and what do you see? Where once daily life thrived and bustled, you’re probably in the midst of a hushed ghost town. The high proportion of people working from home means that frantic daily commutes are now a thing of the past. Roads are clearer and public transport is quieter as socialising is put on hold to alleviate the virus’ spread. This lack of cars, taxis, Ubers and motorbikes is significantly reducing the amount of carbon emissions that we create daily.

NYC-Streets

Plans for exotic vaycays and weekend getaways are now a hopeful dream that we’re hanging out for in late 2020. The travel industry has been particularly impacted by COVID-19, with airlines announcing drastic cuts in flights for the next few months. This, unfortunately, has huge implications for the industry itself and for those who work in it, but an indisputable side effect of fewer planes is clearer skies and less pollution.

However, as we unite across the world to fight the virus, our response is having one unforeseen side effect: the environment is breathing a sigh of relief. From social distancing, to working from home, to alternative sourcing of household goods, our actions are all unwittingly cutting the environment some much needed slack.

Silver linings in crystal waters

For an “instant results” example of COVID-19’s environmental impact, there are reports from Venice that the once-murky canal water is now sparkling clear. This is apparently a result of reduced boat traffic, which means less diesel in the water and also a decrease in sediment disruption. Sadly, it’s not something we’re likely to get to see ourselves, but Instagram is your friend for some truly stunning #nofilter images.

Venice

Go green at home

As we’re being urged to reduce shopping trips and supermarket shelves look scarce, many people are turning to their own green thumbs to stock their pantries. Chicken breeders have reported selling out thanks to a surge in consumer demand for backyard chooks, while plant nurseries are struggling to keep up with customers as people rush to nurture their neglected veggie patches. Hopefully, this is one aspect of COVID-19 life that stays with us – what’s better than cooking up delicious, wholesome vegetables direct from your own window box or back yard?

Home-garden

Bringing people together (no closer than 1.5 metres)

The community response to COVID-19 has been heartening and a positive reminder of the inherent desire for good that sits within people. From letterbox drops of notes offering help, to rainbow-picture hunts for children, it often takes the worst of times to be reassured of the best in people.

While it’s good to look for positives in a time of uncertainty and difficulty, here’s a timely reminder of the key things we need to do to fight this global pandemic: remember to practice social distancing; wash your hands; and please check in on those who may need help and support during this time. We can come through this together and hopefully breathe a little easier on the other side.

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author

Victoria Hanlon

Victoria is a freelance writer and communications expert, with a passion for health, wellbeing and beauty. Originally from the UK, her love of travel led her to the US and Hong Kong, before she made Australia home in 2009. This global experience of different cultures, people and climates has strongly influenced her writing style, outlook on life, and desire to communicate with others. When not working or spending time with her family, she’s an avid reader and a devotee of high-intensity exercise. She takes inspiration from her four-year-old twin daughters, who have taught her to never underestimate what you can achieve.

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