We can no longer afford to treat the environment as secondary
If the heatwaves currently sweeping across the country are any indication, global efforts to mitigate climate change have yet to reach a point where we can expect significant development in our surroundings.
Especially in the middle of a pandemic with a virus that attacks the respiratory system, reports of global temperature rise come with the likelihood of increased dust and air pollution, putting those physically vulnerable at even greater risk.
However, rather paradoxically, the Covid-19 pandemic may also hold the key to setting the world on a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable path. During the first coronavirus waves and consequent lockdowns earlier last year, the world saw a remarkable decrease in pollution and carbon emissions. We have already failed to hold on to that momentum, but it is not too late to adopt collective climate action and effect change.
As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated to mark the occasion of International Mother Earth Day yesterday, it is imperative that we commit to “restoring our planet and making peace with nature.” He added that our current abuse of the world’s resources is nothing short of “suicidal,” and emphasized the need for protecting biodiversity and building circular economies.
Recovery from the pandemic will undoubtedly prioritize measures to tackle the economic and health care crises, but we can no longer afford to treat the environment as secondary. There is little time before we reach a point where climate change is deemed irreversible, and we have no Planet B to fall back on.