The lock-down during the COVID-19 outbreak has made many of our lives unrecognisable. Just two months ago, many of us would have been travelling to and from work, picking the kids up from school and planning the next big holiday. But all that has changed, with many of us isolating at home.
This has caused heightened anxiety for many people. But in an effort to always look on the bright side, the effect on our environment has been positive. With less traffic comes less air pollution, meaning better air for us to breath. Bad air quality is thought to contribute to the death of 7 million people every year.
And that’s before you consider the benefits for wildlife. Lower traffic (both on land and in the air) also helps tackle the fight against climate change with less carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere.
There are things we can all do to keep this momentum going after the lock-down has lifted. It centres around doing more things locally. That is not to say we should never travel abroad again or permanently stay at home, but here are a few things we can all do to help create a healthier environment for us and wildlife.
Working from home
Many of us will have experienced working from home in the last few weeks. And many of us may have found it to be simpler than we might have thought. Working from home for just two or three days out of the week cuts the commute in the morning and the evening.
This frees us up to go for a morning and/or evening walk when we would otherwise by stuck in traffic or crammed into train carriages. With technology so advanced now, working more at home than in the office has been possible for a number of years but the outbreak has forced us to try it out. And it turns out it can work.
In the future decades, one of the biggest problems we will have to cope with is ever-increasing traffic on the roads. If more of us work from home, this is one very quick way of fixing this issue (coupled with public transport).
Whilst at home, increasing the amount of local shopping you do also lowers traffic on the road and fuel burnt to get you there. Not everything can be found locally, but whilst in lock-down we can really explore our local area.
Walking in the countryside is one of the best ways to get exercise. It’s great to drive out into the middle of no-where and wonder through ancient woodlands. This will always be important but it could become something we do once a month rather than each weekend.
Finding your local footpaths can lead to some surprises. If you go looking, you can find local streams, woods and grasslands on your doorstep. Discovering your local patch can also increase your well-being and connection with where you live.
And as always, it adds into reducing carbon emissions which affects the whole planet.
Pick and Choose
No-one knows quite what’s going to happen next with the lock-down. But the more we prepare for the future during lock-down, the faster we will be able to adapt the a new, cleaner and more sustainable world. By enjoying foreign holidays, long journeys and luxuries in moderation, they all become much more sustainable for our children and generations to come.
Next Week – Eating less meat and dairy
Next week’s blog talks about how a lower meat and dairy intake can help the wildlife we all cherish.