(Image: NJIT News)
Coronavirus has forced much of the world indoors. While international lockdowns and social distancing measures will only last a matter of months, it’s been long enough to shine a light on the necessity of transitioning towards a more sustainable future.
The conditions of wet markets in China have rightfully come under scrutiny, but so too has life closer to home, with more citizens able to stop and take a look at the world around them.
When the day finally comes when we return to the familiarity of normal life, will the planet revert back to the ‘normality’ of 2019? Or will the hugely disruptive events that engulfed much of 2020 serve as an ideal starting point for us to actively focus on sustainability? Let’s take a deeper look at how life after COVID-19 could be a more eco-friendly one:
The Rise of WFH
The BBC has reported that quarantine life has seen drastic reductions in CO2 across the world. Satellite images published by NASA and the European Space Agency have shown that nitrogen dioxide fell in the early months of 2020 across China – signalling the eco-friendly effects of life under quarantine. Likewise, findings by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) have shown that China’s carbon emissions have fallen by as much as 25% following on from lockdown measures.
Italy’s quarantine has shown similar signs of environmental friendliness, where nitrogen dioxide emissions have fallen and the canals of Venice are appearing significantly cleaner following a logical fall in boat traffic from the city’s burgeoning tourism industry.
COVID-19 has shown us how much eco-friendly working from home can be, without the use of commuter transport or aeroplanes to physically travel to meetings. The virus has also demonstrated just how functional WFH really is in this era, with conferencing technology and remote delegation apps allowing workloads to be completed without the need for workers to leave the house.
After international quarantines are lifted, it’s likely that a wide range of businesses across various industries will operate on a much more WFH-friendly basis, inadvertently minimising the carbon footprint we leave due to our working life.
Sustainability in Coliving
“This might sound like a dream…” reads Oasa’s castle coliving page, but after such a prolonged period of isolation, nothing seems too surreal to be out of touch with reality.
Coronavirus has lifted the lid on just how sustainable our lives at home really are. Self-isolation means there’s nowhere to run from sorting your recyclables, and nowhere to hide from the necessity of utilising fossil fuels for the heating.
Oasa is looking to breathe new life into the notion of sustainable coliving in the wake of COVID. Where isolation had exposed just how wasteful our living spaces really are, Coliving Castle aims to solve a series of pertinent problems around the world.
Operating as a company that looks to develop low-impact sustainable homes in nature, Oasa has turned its attentions towards renovating dilapidated old castles in Southern Europe and creating a sustainable coliving space for 10-20 inhabitants that’s in touch with nature and requires zero emissions for construction materials.
In the months and years following Coronavirues, it’s reasonable to expect a rise in coliving spaces and sustainable initiatives. Months of isolation will not only cause us to realise the benefits of community-based living spaces, but it will also help to show how wasteful some of our houses. can be.
Resetting Our Bad Habits
Sadly, it’s sometimes necessary for an illness like COVID-19 to sweep across the world before many of us wake up to our damaging habits.
Spending prolonged periods at home helps to reset some of the creature comforts and damaging norms that we’ve become accustomed to in everyday life. Repeatedly using paper and plastic cups when buying takeaway coffee rather than purchasing a reusable container, for instance, or continually discarding plastic waste because of its convenience.
There’s never been a better time to stop and think about how our habits are flying in the face of a sustainable future.
This initiative should also be observed by governments worldwide according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The IISD claims that as governments across the planet race to build economic stimulus and support packages to keep economies and businesses afloat, it’s imperative that a concentrated effort towards securing a carbon-free future takes place.
“Periods of high unemployment and low-interest rates are the right time for new low-carbon investments and infrastructure, including the kind required to support the transition to clean energy,” explained IISD sustainability expert, Richard Florizone.
While Coronavirus has wreaked plenty of damage already, if there’s any silver lining out there to cling on to, it’s the fact that a return to normal life presents all of us with an opportunity to participate in starting a new chapter in sustainability.
About the author Yasmita Kumar
A little bit about me: I am a writer and have been writing about various topics over many years now. I enjoy writing about my hobbies which include technology and its impact on our everyday life. Professionally I write about Technology, Health and Fashion and previously worked for the NHS.
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