The Pandemic and The Environment

How has the planet fared in Corona times?


The current pandemic has brought on a lot of change, but it has affected the environment in some of the most critical ways. Carbon Emissions have gone down a significant amount in the brief time during quarantine, but they may go back to the pre-pandemic levels when businesses start to open up again. Logging in the Amazon continues to be overshadowed by the other environmental impacts of late. More plastic is also being produced with the decline in oil prices. There may be hope as humanity creates new sustainable practices.
Carbon emissions have lessened due to the pandemic. Some industries are not producing as much (up to 25% of the emission from big industries have dropped in places like China) and less emissions from travel as everyone is staying home. This has also greatly improved the air quality. Compared to 2019, emissions in April 2020 were down 17%, but in June of 2020, they were only about 5% less than 2019. Road travel has become significantly less in places worldwide, with some of the most impressive numbers from the UK, where its emissions declined by 73%. Pollution from carbon emissions seems to be lightening up, but the conclusion seems to be that it is temporary. As everyone wants daily life to go back to normal, experts claim that society will likely return to the regular amounts of CO2 emitted regularly.

New Mexico landscape (Netherzone / CC BY-SA (

Greenhouse gases seem to tackle more attention when it comes to climate change, leaving illegal logging in the amazon ignored. Logging causes immense damage to the land, and most of the practice is done illegally. Killing plants takes away the Earth’s air filtration system, which helps take out pollutants like carbon dioxide. Cutting down trees also destroys animals’ habitats. 64% more land in the Amazon was cleared in April 2020 than in 2019. The Amazon is one of the most incredible ecosystems globally, and the destruction of it from logging is devastating because it is tough to regain and grow again. All of this goes off the back of the raging fires that occurred in the Spring. The prevalence of fires has increased by 13% in the last nine months compared to 2019, which devastated much of the forest. The indigenous population in the Amazon is also being hit hard as this pandemic and smoke hit them, causing heart and lung problems and the virus. Another harmful environmental factor is the production of plastic. Plastic is made from oil, and as oil is getting cheaper, causing more plastic to be created, polluting the environment. Plastic is tough to recycle, and even though everyone tries their best, most of it ends up in landfills or the ocean. Plastic products are currently experiencing higher demand with increased production going to things like takeout boxes and hand sanitizer bottles. There may be an upside that humanity can learn from these examples. People learn that work can be completed from home, lowering fossil fuel emissions from transportation and making some people’s lives more convenient. We can also learn about the shipment of imported goods and how more local processes are being thought of in places worldwide. Imported goods are not that sustainable, and some of the ways to get food has been shut down due to this. Because of the pandemic, more people have found local groups that grow and produce fresh, healthy, and sustainable produce. Not only is supporting local people and small businesses literally close to home, but it’s a process that can be more convenient with less carbon emissions. The world has a beautiful opportunity to change in ways that can make a difference against global warming. In the end, the pandemic can create a change of mindset in many people, but it is also likely it will continue to go back to what we want. Normalcy.