Science

An Unlikely Upside To The Coronavirus Pandemic: The Earth Is Healing

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Efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic have slashed economic activity on earth. Factories are closing down and people are practising social distancing at home. This has resulted in localised improvements in air quality, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said.

Given that fossil fuels power everything from cars to electricity, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) satellite imagery really does show the impact COVID-19 is having on society. Take a look at the stats from Jan – Feb 2019 and Jan – Feb 2020.

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Unlike 201, NO2 levels in 2020 did not rise after the Chinese new year.

Coronavirus Impact on The Earth

G-Feed is a site run by a group of scientists who research the relationship between society and the environment. They wrote that the reductions in air pollution in China have highly impacted the society.

The current status has likely saved twenty times more lives than have been lost due to infection with the virus in that country. Earther assembled an interactive map to explore the changes in air pollution globally.

The map runs on Google Earth Engine and uses data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite. It circles the Earth capturing various types of data. It includes four snapshots from December 2019 through March 20, 2020.

It’s phenomenally important for people to return to social life after “social distancing” ends. We can do that based on new priorities socialising and enjoying arts and music locally or through live streams. We can learn to let go of 20th-century visions of the future based on unlimited growth, unlimited travel, and unlimited consumption.

However,

“Despite local reductions in pollution and improvement in air quality, it would be irresponsible to downplay the enormous global health challenges and loss of life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The effects of coronavirus on the earth is on a weird scale. The earth could be healing but society seems to be falling. We need to be able to find a balance whereby we can heal both the earth and society.

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