• FutureTrack

Environmental Sustainability and COVID-19

Although this is a time of great worry for our community, many local businesses and individuals have already put plans in place to quickly deal with the onset of the virus.

Some local businesses have adapted by quick starting delivery options, whilst others have shut with immediate effect in order to contain the spread. The guernsey press have also played a role by allowing people to offer their services for those in need of help, similar to how people are using facebook as a tool for connecting to others. This positive community reaction is an incredible display of how well our society can function and react in such an unprecedented time.

Despite economic activity slowing in many parts of the world, it does mean that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport are beginning to decrease. An astonishing map released by the European Space Agency has displayed the significant reduction of nitrogen dioxide levels over China. Not only have emissions started to reduce but so have the levels of pollution in Venitian canals allowing nature to return to the city. Whilst in Japan and Thailand monkeys and deer have taken to roam the tranquil streets.

So what does this mean for us locally?

In Guernsey we may begin to see an increase in popularity with hedge veg and growing your own produce which ultimately will lead to a growth in biodiversity. One thing I believe to be important to take away from this experience would be that behaviour can be changed, especially in the time of a crisis. The behaviours we are beginning to adapt to may only be semi permanent now; however if we are to prevent this mass ecological crisis in the future then perhaps we could continue some of the measures that have been put in place, such as working from home more regularly, using less transport and making sure not to waste food. If we were to do this we could continue to see lowering emissions caused by transport, air quality improving in major cities, ecosystems flourishing and biodiversity growing.

My thoughts and feelings in relation to this crisis are very much mirrored by those around me, so many other young people I know have understood the severity of this situation and are pleading with others to follow government advice. Whether this be social distancing, quarantine, or self isolation, we all have a crucial part to play in order to stop the spread of this virus and protect those we love. It is this same cooperation that is required for us to embrace sustainability as an Island.

Written by Charlie Cleal: ESI Monitor Student Sustainability Ambassador