The emergence of Covid-19 this year has without a shadow of a doubt sent powerful ripples throughout every area of our lives as we know it – From the economy to governments and of course, and perhaps most importantly, our ecosystems and climate.
But how has the global pandemic as we know it really affected our natural environments and how has mother nature reacted – let’s take a quick run-through of what we can observe thus far.
Despite the rather negative generalised outcomes we have witnessed so far, there has actually been a noticeably positive effect on the health of our seas and oceans. The reduction of maritime activities, traffic and associated commerce, has allowed our waters a moment respite. Levels of pollution have declined, marine flora and fauna have been given a chance to breathe, to rejuvenate – the temporary cessation of overfishing has permitted aqua life to strengthen their numbers. However, it is important to note that these short-term benefits seen within our ecosystem are met with equally negative effects; businesses, livelihoods and of course food guarantees for large numbers of people have been placed in jeopardy.
Further to the above, Covid-19 related changes have unfortunately allowed for illegal activities regarding poaching and deforestation to continue with less scrutiny – economic issues have also led to less focus being placed upon green energy research and investment.
The famed city of Venice dubbed the ‘city of water’, has seen a significant clearing and cleansing of its waterways through this uncertain time – largely due to the prolonged settlement of sediment which would usually have been continually kicked up by its traffic, and of course the lack of traffic itself adding to a decrease in pollution.
The global demand for fish coupled with much of the worlds fishing fleets sitting idle have led to a surge in prices for seafood. Lockdowns internationally, leading to a sharp decline in general tourism has given the opportunity for many aquatic species to repopulate as mentioned above, most notably (and oft mentioned) sea turtles, returning to lay eggs on beaches they had shunned for some time due to human presence amongst other things.
The largest cause for a decline in generalised pollution is indeed linked to the considerable drop in travel globally – International governmental efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of Covid-19, rooted in travel bans and lockdowns have played the largest role.
There are pros and cons to this pandemic, from an environmental standpoint – let us hope that once this period passes, we, collectively, will have learned some valuable lessons that we can implement in the journey towards taking better care of what we have been blessed with.