A New Normal for Nature

During these unprecedented times, we can be certain of one thing – we’re all in this together. While we long to return to life as we knew it, perhaps this was Mother Nature’s way of telling us that life as we knew it simply couldn’t continue.

Published on: April 18, 2020

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During these unprecedented times, we can be certain of one thing – we’re all in this together. As most of the world quarantines at home or greatly limits their day-to-day activities to slow the spread of COVID-19, we naturally seek a light at the end of the tunnel.  

With such suffering and uncertainty, we may feel there are few things worth celebrating. We celebrate the recovery of other countries as they successfully combat the virus. We celebrate the recovery of thousands who have beaten the virus. And we celebrate advancements in the search for a vaccine that will allow us to resume normal life.

Normal life varies for each of us, from driving our kids to school to catching a flight for a business meeting to gathering with friends at our favorite restaurant. Naturally we grow to miss these things we seemingly took for granted before, but it’s important that we at least acknowledge some positive side effects of not being able to carry on as normal.

We’ve driven less and video conferenced more. We’ve explored our local surroundings instead of catching flights to far off places. We’ve consumed more consciously. And scientific evidence shows that this break from “normal life” has resulted in a decrease in global greenhouse gases and pollution.

According to The Carbon Brief, China’s emissions of carbon dioxide have dropped by 25 percent since the crisis began. Coal consumption in power plants has dropped 36 percent, greatly reducing the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air, helping to improve air quality. CNN reports that Los Angeles, a city known for its traffic and smog-filled skyline, currently has some of the cleanest air among major cities. According to the EPA, Los Angeles recently saw the most consecutive good air days on record since 1995. And it doesn’t stop there – cities around the world are breathing a little easier and seeing their skies more clearly due to our current realities.

While we long to return to life as we knew it, perhaps this was Mother Nature’s way of telling us that life as we knew it simply couldn’t continue. Let’s not forget the outcomes of humans around the world slowing down and consuming more consciously, and let’s find hope in our solidarity in the face of a global crisis, to create a new normal for a better future.

To minimize the use of plastic in your own life, look around your home and work to identify plastic items. From there, seek to find alternatives.