I have snapped this photo some time ago in Italy, just arriving in Murano. After COVID19 and the extraordinary change in all this area of the planet, these photos become highly inspiring…
After all the chaos what remains is the idea that once the crisis its over they will –must- change at a system level in many aspects, particularly for the environment.
We know that a pandemic of this magnitude generates changes but what we didn´t know is that it will be so positive and fast in environmental terms. In many spots of the world is happening what seems to be part of a fairy-tale story of greener the planet: whales in Almeria coast in Spain, a golden eagle spotted gliding above a main road in Milan*, bears in California parks…All facts that inspire to reflect about COVIXT not just from the eradication of the virus in itself but for perfect timing for a revolutionary change. It will be of no senses or even worse, no lessons learned from this COVID19 lockdown if there is not a change that moves beyond the crisis.
“You cannot step in the same river twice”, we cannot go back to normal as if nothing happened, particularly after this striking “green reality”.
Our system of living has become unsustainable and the threat seems not the permanency of the virus but the continuity of unchangeable habits. Is it not acceptable to let all these “little miracles” presented in front of our eyes disappear without Zero capacity to make them stay with us permanently.
All done about the environment till now, looks small and rather useless if we compare it with the changes that the planet is going through. It is estimated that high pollution level accounts for more than 7 million deaths per year which seems to be a much higher number than the ones resulted from COVID19.
Is it true most of the initiatives towards greener our daily habits are welcomed – recycling, reduce/ban single-use plastic, clean transport, reduction of individual energy consumption, etc.- Although is not impacted greatly but represents only small-scale initiatives surrounded by pressures from many stakeholders, particularly private interests and extremely chaotically political management unable to thrive effectively.
The lockdown is not only slowing down the impact of climate change but certainly, it has reduced pollution levels substantially, in the end, making cities sustainable. That is the power of change that this pandemic exposure: to truly make the planet work there is a need to change the system from there visible leaders: politicians. The sector is going through a low performance, not for this particular emergency that took everyone by surprise and weakens the strength of all structures equally, but because of a failure on political will to slow down the so-called “relentless “ impact of climate change and pollution of the environment.
However, the pandemic shows us that everything is reversible and in less than one month, only by reducing to minimums the circulation of people and traffic, we have been witnessed a dramatic drop in pollution levels.
Have we found the solution to a cleaner environment? Maybe not that simple, but certainly a clue that opens a magical box at the light of the results. Mother Nature was claiming for changes and is talking to us loud and clear: changing habits it is an imperative that displays outcomes in the short term.
If they are still climate change deniers what there is certainly not is “pollution deniers” as it is notorious the impact on cities and the way it looks and feels. Sustainable cities it is proven that is not more an ambitious project that demands extraordinary long-term efforts on innovation but first and above all, it demands a fierce defense of free areas/hours of people and vehicles.
Once again, a political will becomes key to raise awareness and shape a new culture, not as now that only parts of the society as private initiatives and activists show empathy to green causes. In general, the public sector is not having a full commitment up to current challenges. The evidence is clear: WE ARE the only responsible for the current polluted atmosphere in all its senses and now is the perfect timing to design and test our results, learning from lockdown and analysing carefully their impact.
Then we have another aspect to take into account: the collapse of the economic-financial system that it is certainly a burden to move forward. However, it is an exercise of innovation and creativity to create a full sense of reconversion and re-establish new codes of living that boost productivity without undermining the goal of achieving a green system.
Is it here that we need global/regional approaches, not for the pandemic that it is about international coordination. Two sides of the same coin for becoming truly resilient. Seeing the light for a green environment and liveable cities….in the short term.
Stay Safe & Green
Versión Español: COVIXT: una nueva oportunidad para un Medio Ambiente verde?