Just last week, when things seemed funnier, a meme made the rounds: Climate change needs to hire coronavirus’s PR firm.
Certainly, we’ve witnessed what can happen when there is community and political will for rapid change in the face of a public health threat — with scientists calling for urgency — that puts human lives, food supplies, and mental health at stake. “Sound familiar?” asks Fast Company.
Could there be climate lessons for us in all this? NASA scientists have noted that coronavirus lockdowns significantly reduced carbon emissions over China and made major air quality improvements around the country. Drastic cuts to airline travel — as people follow requirements to stay at home or shelter in place — mean airlines could temporarily curb greenhouse gas emissions as well. Meanwhile Scientific American notes that climate change — left unchecked — could make us more vulnerable to future coronaviruses.
We’re all #StuckAtHome, but that doesn’t have to mean we have to be stuck in old ways. We have demonstrated that we can pull together for the greater good and our health as a planet. COVID-19 can teach us. It gives us the chance to ask: What’s important? Who do we want to be? What do we want of (and for) our world? Are we ready to make longer-term changes that climate change asks of us?