4.22.20 / Global

The Lessons We’re Learning About the Environment in Isolation

It’s Earth Day, and even though we’re unable to experience the beauty of nature like we normally do, it hasn’t stopped us from thinking about the environment. In fact, the pandemic has brought to mind both the urgency and power of making global changes more than ever before. Right now our personal well-being is the most important thing for everyone, but we hope to carry the lessons we’re learning now in order to foster a safer, stronger, and more sustainable relationship with the one and only planet that we can call home.

Travel

One resounding sentiment that has come up in conversations with fellow travelers is the need to travel less. Mainly because…well, right now we can’t travel at all, and it’ll be a slow return, but it has also shifted many peoples perspective on travel. When travel is limited, we need to make the most of it; we can’t go everywhere but we can make the places we go count. It’s more important than ever for people to form relationships with communities—their own included—and that means having a greater respect for the environments they’re a part of. It also means less pollution from flights, of course.

Consumption

We don’t need as much as we think we do. If there’s one thing that’s become abundantly clear is that we mostly just want to spend time with one another, and we can make do mostly with what we already have. Quarantine has raised a lot of questions about consumption and spending habits. Do we need that thing we want, when it requires someone to put themselves at risk to deliver it to us, or when they are tasked with removing our garbage? And if we don’t need it now, how much did we ever really need it? That’s not to say that our wants suddenly go away, but we can focus more on the essentials and delay our gratification for the rest.

Personal responsibility

As individuals, what’s our responsibility to the world around us? The global issue of climate change can only be helped if everyone takes some personal responsibility, and we’re learning this through the act of self-isolation. Even small actions can affect others, and when those actions are positive rather than negative it can be a powerful change agent. How much water we use, what we recycle, how we want products to be packaged…on their own they seem insignificant, but we all need to make changes wherever possible. Climate change is as threatening as a pandemic, and while many people don’t think their personal choices will have a meaningful impact on the environment, the collective action of individuals can actually have a reverberating effect.

Food 

Food is front and center in isolation; everyone is a chef now, and our relationship with food is changing as a result. Being stuck at home means being far more aware of how we are feeling physically and mentally, and how that changes with what we consume, especially when fresh food isn’t readily available. At first we binged—all bets were off—but eventually we noticed the value of cooking, eating whole foods, even just having a cup of tea, and how that can affect your body and mind during a time of stress. Not everyone has this option, we’re conscious of that…but it shouldn’t be the case. Our eating habits have an undeniable impact on the environment, and having awareness and access to natural foods will be better for ourselves as much as the environment around us. (While we’re on the subject, check out ways you can help provide food for those in need right now!)

Politics

Politics are unavoidable when facing a global threat, and what we’ve learned is that leadership comes in many forms—with varying degrees of success. But we need leadership, that’s for certain. Once the pandemic curve is flattened, how will we flatten the climate change curve? It may not seem like a pressing matter right now, but it’s more of a threat than anything else our world has faced and we need leaders who are willing to confront that fact head on. Yes, it’s an election year in the USA, but this is beyond that; we need to demand a response from leaders at all levels, in politics and business alike, and fight for environmentally-friendly policies.

The Lessons We’re Learning About the Environment in Isolation
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