Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic might have you feeling like a bit of a hermit, but if you’ve had the chance to poke your head outdoors you may have noticed a few differences in the natural world. If the air seems fresher, it is. If there seem to be more animals out and about, there are. With so many Canadians swapping their office desk for their living room, we’re seeing just how much the typical routines of work and commuting have impacted the environment. It’s almost impossible to find a silver lining to this pandemic, but if you’re looking for one, look outside.
Whether or not you’re a fan of working remotely, nature has been taking advantage of our time away from the office. With a decrease of commuters on the road and fewer people relying on often overburdened public transit systems, there have been reports of a noticeable reduction in emissions of nitrogen dioxide, a well-known air pollutant that can be produced from road traffic. Canadians avoiding their usual morning commute are effectively lowering these harmful emissions and improving air quality.
You also may have noticed critters both big and small appearing more frequently in populated areas. While the changes may not be as striking here in Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area, around the world animals are taking notice of the human disappearance in the outdoors: curious dolphins have been spotted swimming near city docks in Turkey, and lions have commandeered roads for afternoon naps in South Africa.
Even though the environment is noticeably improving amid COVID-19, staying home forever isn’t the answer to fighting climate change. Instead, we can take this experience as reason why we shouldn’t go back to business as usual once public restrictions ease up. Look at how much our daily routines impact nature and wildlife – for better or worse. Living in harmony with nature is possible, and we can find a healthy balance for both sides if we learn how to be more sustainable.
There are plenty of ways you can practice sustainability, pandemic or not. Here are a few ideas:
Try not to order online too frequently; instead wait until you have a list and bundle as much as possible into one order. This gives delivery companies the chance to use fewer packaging materials and make fewer trips.
You’re using more energy at home than ever, so invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs to help the environment while saving on your electricity bill.
Have you noticed more wildlife in your neighbourhood? Or do you have any sustainability practices that you incorporate into your daily life? Let us know in the comments!