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Ways Lockdown Has Made Us More Sustainable

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

by Kayla Rodrigues

Over a year ago, Covid-19 struck people like lightning. It’s made a huge impact on people’s lives, and while many would view it as one of the worst time’s they’ve ever experienced, perhaps it has resulted in at least one positive side effect. During lockdown, people unknowingly have become more sustainable, resulting in a healthier planet. Society’s sustainable behaviors have subconsciously changed in ways including transportation, consumption of goods, and increased wildlife emerging.

Since people have been cooped up in their homes they haven’t had as much of a need for fueled transportation such as cars, planes, and boats. According to a 2020 Global Energy Report, “by the end of March, global road transport activity was almost 50% below the 2019 average and aviation 60% below.” That means gasoline consumption inevitably went down with it. Gasoline is a highly flammable, toxic chemical, that is a major contributor to air pollution. Travel abroad has been limited as well, decreasing the amount of jet fuel released into the environment. With the decreased need for fueled transportation, our air isn’t as harmed as it would have been without the lockdown.

In addition, the consumption of goods and activities including shopping have gone down as a result of lockdown. The American Institute for Economic Research shared that “Q2 2020 [revealed] massive damage among all regions, with Mideast GDP plummeting the most (34%) and Rocky Mountains the least (27.6%),” in reference to the economy. Consumerism is the backbone to a large and flourishing economy, but it is the environment's worst nightmare. People tend to buy more than they really need and oftentimes those purchases are from unsustainable brands that don’t use reusable materials, don’t pay their workers well, and don’t treat animals fairly. When people have fewer places to go, they don’t feel compelled to buy some outfit they’ll use once and never look at again. The best thing people can do for the planet is simply reduce the amount of resources needed to sustain their lives, which is exactly what is occuring during the pandemic.

The human race has negatively affected wildlife populations with the amount of space we take up on this Earth. However, with less people on the roads, wildlife has been able to emerge and spread along newly deserted areas. The BBC lists many examples of different animals that have ventured past their usual habitat, such as dolphins in Turkey, boars in Haifa, and much more. A bit of human absence in the world can allow certain species and habitats to thrive more than they would previously have.

It is obvious that lockdown has brought many harsh realities to the world, including unsustainable things such as increased food waste, but it is sometimes nice to look at the glass half full. What people need to do is continue to employ beneficial things the lockdown has brought with it once people return to society, but leave behind the bad. For quarantine to finally be over would benefit the world astronomically, but we can’t forget the lessons it has taught and focus our attention on the betterment of ourselves, others, and the planet.


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