By Harry Bradley
I’m sitting here writing this from my bedroom window overlooking the Reading Road.
I’m used to the ongoing buzz of traffic day and night; it’s become a comfortable sound, a sort of white noise that I don’t notice anymore. So the quietness of the road is somewhat jarring. The silence seems more noticeable than the constant hum of traffic. It’s too quiet! Now, it’s the runners and the cyclists who are replacing the continuous barrage of cars that used to dominate the roads Before Covid. The usually busy road that I live on is taking some time out. It’s taking a breath.
Whilst there are a lot of negatives that Covid-19 has unleashed upon the world, the impact on the environment is not one. Just as we’re all taking a breather, so too is the planet and that’s got to be a good thing, right?
You can almost hear how happy the environment is right now and you can certainly see it. The skies are clearer, the colours brighter and I think I speak for all of us when I say how grateful we are for the good weather recently.
Sitting in the garden under the cloudless sky, with very little air traffic, has made lockdown a little bit more bearable. The occasional downpour has got in the way of my (very poor attempt at) tanning but I know the plants have enjoyed it.
The photos of deer and foxes in cities, sheep taking over Turkish towns and the White Tailed Eagle being spotted in the UK for the first time in 200 years just show how the earth is finally being allowed to take a deep, well-needed breath of fresh air.
But the real test will be when things ‘go back to normal’. Surely it’s time for us to find a new normal and not return to the congestion and busyness of life BC? Earth Day, on its recent 50th anniversary, serves as a reminder that, just as the world has shown focus and commitment to solving a global pandemic, we need to come together to solve the other prominent challenge: climate change.
If Covid-19 has shown us one thing, it’s that despite social distancing, we seem more together as communities than ever. From kids drawing rainbows or neighbours coming together to clap for carers and shop for each other, the level of support and feeling of community is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We’re sharing an experience, a moment that’s bringing us together. As humans we share one planet and we need to come together on this too.
Yes, our societies will soon get back to normal. But when it comes to the environment, it’s important that we don’t go back to how life was before. We’re not that naïve to assume that all the damage has been undone during a couple of month on go-slow. It has taken a global pandemic and international isolation to improve the state of our world.
We can’t let that slide away. Let this be a wake up call to us all to implement more eco-friendly habits into our daily life. Just as much as we’ll be breathing a sigh of relief as lockdown is slowly eased up, we need to let the planet continue to take breath too.