Has the Global Pandemic Created a Foundation for a Sustainable Future?
2020 has been the greatest year for modern civilisation.
As the United Kingdom sits on the brinks of entering a second lockdown, I have had an optimistic reflection on recent events.
This year has been a whirlwind of excitement and drama. Mother Nature has demonstrated how when she is abused, she will respond. The strongest force on this planet is nature and the elements.
Although humans have attempted to construct mitigating strategies to reduce the impact of the unstoppable force, predicting and preventing natural events is impossible.
The Japanese Earthquake of 2011. This natural disaster comprised of a 9.1 magnitude earthquake. The epicentre located in the Pacific Ocean, caused a mega Tsunami to obliterate mainland Japan.
The cost of repairs, $360 billion. Number of Deaths, 15,897.
Although Japanese architecture is designed incredibly efficiently to handle the energy produced by an Earthquake, there is no way any country can prepare for an event like this.
I would justify this event is out of human control. There is no way you can point a finger at a source of the problem.
Similar to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, a meteorite colliding with the planet. Dust levels so high, the world was blocked from sunlight, causing ecosystems to fail and mass extinction. This is uncontrollable.
FACT: The word dinosaur comes from the Greek language and means ‘terrible lizard’. · Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for over 160 million years.
The Australian forest fires. There was a total of 15,000 fires, approximately 46,050,750 acres of land burnt, 3,500 homes incinerated and it has been estimated 3 billion animals have been to be killed or displaced. Truly terrifying figures.
The cost, $485 billion.
Climate change has been proven to be a catalyst for the intensity of the blaze. The difference between the Japanese Earthquake and the Australian forest fires is an earthquake is a shift in tectonic plates beneath the Earths crust. A significant rise in the frequency and severity of forest fires across the planet is natures way of ringing alarm bells.
The 20 warmest years that have ever been recorded, have been in the past 22 years.
Devastating events are occurring at a much greater frequency than ever before. Which made me think, as a planet, what can we to do about this?
What causes an increase in global temperature?
The greenhouse effect traps in the suns radiation within the planet. Radiation enters the atmosphere and reflects off the Earth. It escapes and travels through space.
The atmospheric gases, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour and ozone trap the radiation, creating an environment suitable for life.
This environment has allowed micro-organisms to grow and develop over billions of years of evolution. The normal greenhouse effect has resulted in plants being given the capacity of photosynthesis, allowing us to breathe the oxygen we need.
But with an incredible amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, the suns radiation is being presented a more challenging task of escaping.
A gas that is around 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is methane. Methane is trapped in permafrost in the arctic circle, which is now melting and being released into the atmosphere. A feedback loop which would have grave consequences.
Already the earth has heated by 1.5 degrees, the effects are apparent. More droughts, floods, melting glaciers and an uncontrollable global pandemic.
The definition of sustainability is to meet the needs of the current population without compromising the lives of future generations.
A capitalist regime has exploited resources to create profit and power in a competitive culture of who can have the most money. This narrow-minded vision has ignored the other two elements, and as a result, has become incredibly unbalanced. The scales have tilted and the environment is screaming at us to change our ways.
Both Western and Eastern cultures have been sucked in a spat out, with the memories of labour exploitation, spoilt natural environment, 1 million species extinct and a wealth division so high, the 22 richest people in the world have more capital than every woman in Africa.
There are three elements to look into when creating a sustainable environment. Economic, environmental and thirdly social. I would argue the planet previously only focused on creating a thriving economy.
Being thrown into a pandemic, this has created the foundations for a sustainable future. The scales become more balanced.
With less travelling, aviation and automobile, less carbon dioxide is being produced, allowing the atmosphere to recover.
The UK Government has set up targets which are to be achieved by the population. These targets include clean air, a carbon-neutral country and to allow wildlife to thrive once again.
The pandemic has allowed the world to slow down and consider what is actually important.
Everyone, from all walks of life, has been affected. Everyone has developed a basic level of empathy towards one another. We are all in the same boat.
There is now a social order. 6 people are allowed together at one time, people have to cooperate. We all resent the rules, however, this is essential to create a sustainable outcome.
The economic side is reducing significantly. The economy needs time to settle and recover. Have gone from operating at full speed, to not at all, obviously, it will be fragile.
A sustainable structure will create a sturdier market and hopefully, the narrow-minded vision of money being the only important tool on this planet has been reconsidered.
Green is the colour of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety.
To find the meaning of green was a simple google search. A sustainable, green environment would be a much more satisfying way of life and create a great foundation for generations to come.
Thankfully, I have not been directly affected by COVID-19. I am sympathetic towards people who have.
We are highly intelligent animals and a tiny fraction of the history of this planet. But the strain we have created for all living organisms is not good.
My optimism for the future is increasing and I hope people can share this idea. It's not easy being green, but it is more rewarding knowing that I am living a positive, meaningful and considerate life.