The effects of Covid-19 have changed the way we live. Not only has the virus shifted our daily routines, but it has also altered the natural world around us.
Quarantine has decreased our ability to travel, therefore drastically reducing the number of cars on the road, planes in the air trains on the tracks, and subway cars on the metro.
According to Nature Climate Change, in early April, daily global carbon emissions dropped 17 percent.
Former Godwin student Ashton Taylor studies Environmental Policy and Planning at Virginia Tech and was interested to learn about the effects of quarantine on the environment.
“Our global carbon emissions have been decreasing because fewer people are flying on planes, driving cars, etc.,” said Taylor.
Although carbon dioxide emissions have decreased, this pandemic is not an all-around positive thing for the environment.
In parts of South America and Africa, the amount of poaching and deforestation has begun to rise.
There has been a decrease in revenue due to the drop in tourists and increase in lockdowns, and without the tourism money, the countries can’t afford to pay for rangers and nature reserves.
According to Conservation International, this leads to elephants, rhinos, and other endangered species being exposed to poachers.
In an interview with Conservation International, an expert said, “Bushmeat and ivory poaching are on the rise. Although some of this stems from food needs in rural areas, evidence suggests that the commercial trade of illegal wildlife products has also expanded.”
With a lack of policing and guarding of natural reserves and caves, there has been an escalation of deforestation and mining.
“A surge in agricultural expansion and illegal mining has accelerated forest loss in Brazil and Colombia,” said the CEO of Conservation International.
Another major issue that has been brought to attention is the rising amount of waste because of measures taken to reduce the spread.
With the closure of many stores due to Covid-19, the amount of online shopping has increased, resulting in more plastic waste.
The number of plastic gloves, masks, and single-use hygiene materials being thrown out each day has also risen significantly.
According to Chinese authorities, “More than 20 cities across mainland China have been overloaded with medical waste, with Wuhan, the center of the Covid-19 outbreak, producing up to six times more medical waste than usual.”
Godwin environmental teacher Bishop Bosher spoke out on the waste due to coronavirus. “People are taking the opportunity to declutter their homes and most of it is going to the landfill. How long before we see landfills at capacity and in need of new land to hold our trash?” said Bosher.
Quarantine has not changed Bosher’s view on the human relationships with the environment. He still believes that nature is ultimately in control of our lives.
“I have reinforced what I always have known and that is don’t get too comfortable because things change quickly. The other is that as much as our comfort makes us feel like we are in control of nature the reality is that nature has more control over us. We just fail to acknowledge it daily,” said Bosher.