The topic of the pandemic has, rightfully so, become the most mainstream topic of coverage since March. It is true, we are living through unprecedented – even historical – moments. But it’s not just the global pandemic that deserves the mainstream media’s attention. 2020 has arguably been a historical year, with a fair share of disruption but also an incredible amount of revolutionary movements attached to it.
This is why I think we need to talk about the everlasting and persistent Environmental Crisis and the ways our own individual impact can create a massive collective to help save our planet.
In the Spring months, we saw massive natural rejuvenation like never before. We saw dolphins and fish returning to the abandoned Venice canals, we saw clear skies in Chinese cities, we saw wildlife taking over streets; this begged the question – can we keep this progress up?
In retrospect, clearly, we cannot. The more I walk through the streets in London, the more single use masks I see laying around on the floor, stepped on and ignored. Pictures of oceans filled with disposable masks are surfacing, and threads on Instagram are showing us how to properly dispose of our masks when we are done with them. We are reverting from the progress we collectively made during lockdown. Nonetheless, this has led to a realization that I want to share: a positive impact that came from the nasty consequences of the pandemic is that we learnt the full impact of our actions – both good and bad.
So, how can we continue living in arrogance in a time when our environmental impact has been most evident than ever?
The power of this knowledge should be the igniting spark that lights the environmental movement once again. Every day is getting hotter and hotter, more waste is thrown in our oceans, and we see that more and more animals are washing up with a stomach predominantly filled with plastic. And yes, we can blame massive corporations for their CO2 emissions, but this does not take away from the need of individual accountability in this area.
With the climate crisis being consistently weaponized in modern day politics, a bigger threat has arisen, the polarization of the topic through the attachment of a “liberal” or “conservative” label on such a prominent and life-threatening crisis is dangerous. This is why raising awareness on simple individual lifestyle changes is an imperative element towards fighting this crisis. Being considerate of the environment is not a political affiliation, and it is not a personal characteristic either. It is a personal life adaptation that the recent events have emphasized more than ever.
Granted, living in isolation and putting an abrupt stop on everyday living is not a sustainable, long-term solution, but I am a strong believer that individual actions can make a tremendous impact. Living more sustainably is a very complex topic, but every small step towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can make a difference.