Looking on the bright side

1Air pollution levels are falling all over the world. In some UK cities, air pollution has fallen by almost 70 per cent. Daily carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by almost 60 per cent across the EU since the coronavirus pandemic began. Is here going to be an upside to this lockdown, after all?

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2It’s so beautifully quiet. Air traffic over the UK has fallen by an astonishing 89 per cent. Road traffic has fallen to levels not seen since 1955 and Trowbridge is full of birdsong. It’s hard to tell if the birds are singing more or if we can just hear them better.
Whichever, here is a blackbird singing its heart out:

Common blackbird song recorded by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin

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3We are learning just how quickly the planet will regenerate if we stop interfering with it. For instance, the present lack of pollution will boost the numbers of insects, and that will boost the survival rate of the nests full of baby birds that feed on the insect larvae. A glut of baby birds may feed a nest of baby stoats, one of the park’s top predators, or persuade a kestrel that this might be a good place to find a mate and set up home.

Perhaps this pause in our destructive over-use of our home planet will even give our beleaguered honey bees the chance to catch up and recover.

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4We seem to have rediscovered the art of patient queueing. While there may be no toilet paper anywhere in Trowbridge, everybody seems to have enough food, the supermarkets are calm and orderly, and queueing in the sunshine is no real hardship.

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5While we may be discovering that our ecosystems are more resilient than we thought, we are also learning that our lives are much more fragile than we thought. We have rushed into disaster, demanding cheap travel, cheap food wrapped in single-use plastic, cheap clothes imported from half way around the world where labour is cheap and life even cheaper.

Then, one day, somebody infected with a brand new disease takes a cheap flight out of China, flies half way round the world, perhaps to sell us the cheap phones we so badly want, and here we all are in expensive lockdown while the death toll rises daily. We will need to be more careful in the future.

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Go carefully; be safe.

Illustrations
Header: CO2 levels from NASA (public domain)
Empty motorway by Stephen Sweeney (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Supermarket queue by Ian-art.photography (CC BY SA 4.0)
Baby birds (CC0) pixabay.com
British Airways (CC0) pixabay.com


2 thoughts on “Looking on the bright side

  1. Very true, we all need to stop and take stock of what in our lives and environment is really important to us.

    1. I feel that we have over-stepped some sort of mark and, through sheer inattention, have released something really, really dangerous. Taking stock may well turn out to be an important survival strategy.

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