MOVING TOWARDS A HEALTHY & GREEN RECOVERY POST PANDEMIC
"Through each crisis in my life, with acceptance and hope, in a single defining moment, I finally gained the courage to do things differently." Sharon E. Rainey.
In a world full of chaos, we remain resilient. The extreme adversity caused by the global pandemic has forced us to overcome challenges we never knew we were capable of - and through it all, we have come together as a world of nations, witnessed courage and compassion from our health and essential workers, and as we get to the other side, we can see glimpses of a possible brighter future.
During the lockdown period, pollution in many areas around the world dropped to levels we never thought we would see in this lifetime. We have witnessed people who live in otherwise severely polluted areas see blue skies and clear waters, and be able to walk with their children outside safely - some for the first time in their lives. Those basic freedoms that weren’t possible before the lockdown have given many an opportunity to appreciate the natural world in ways they never did before, and given all of us another reason to fight for saving the environment.
Despite the fear of what the shutdown would bring, aside from the economic impact, it also forced us to find new ways of working and connecting with each other using digital technology, it resulted in less time spent commuting, more quality time spent with our children with homeschooling, and even moving medical visits online. The result has been families spending more time together, an increased appreciation for nature, and a reconnection with our core human values.
And while focusing on human lives remains the top priority, there has also been a call from many who want to protect the environment, and preserve the positives that have emerged from the crisis. A return to what is essential in our lives - the very thing that gives us a reminder of what life is everyday - the environment.
"The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet. Any efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change, that is making our Earth less habitable."WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Address to the 73rd World Health Assembly.
In the next few weeks, we will be faced with important decisions that will impact our future for years to come - both on a governmental level and personal. While trillions of dollars have already been allocated to help save the economy, we, as a global society, need to make changes to prevent environmental degradation and pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that are driving global warming and the climate crisis.
It cannot be put aside to be addressed later. Because the bottom line is, the decline of the environment is impacting the ability of our world to fight off deadly diseases, viruses, and other threats to our human lives.
FILLING THE GAP
As a community passionate about saving the environment, we face a daunting problem we will call “The Gap”. This is the gap of the wants of society to help the fight against climate change - and the gap caused by the lack of actions that are not being taken to do it.
A recent Ipsos poll (the Global leader in market research) conducted in April 2020 in 14 countries* found that 71% of adults globally agree that, in the long term, climate change is as serious a crisis. The survey shows widespread support for government actions to prioritize climate change in the economic recovery after Covid-19 with 65% globally agreeing that this is important.
Of the findings, climate change remains the most important environmental issue globally, with 37% citing it as one of their three top environmental issues. Other environmental issues that are important to citizens are air pollution (33%) and dealing with the amount of waste we generate (32%), followed by deforestation (26%) and water pollution (25%). Concern for the top four issues has increased since two years ago.
A majority of people expressed a likelihood to make changes to their own behavior to contribute to climate change. However, Ipsos found the percentage of people who expressed this likelihood was the SAME as when they asked the question six years ago.
Opting for “convenient” and easier changes such as avoiding products which have a lot of packaging was most often expressed (57%), followed by mending what you have or buying used products instead (52%), saving energy at home (50%), recycling (49%) and saving water at home (49%).
A CALL TO ACTION
At Nui, we are a brand founded on sustainable values, with a mission to be the go to resource for natural fiber, organic clothing that causes no harm in the sourcing and making, doesn’t pollute the oceans with microplastic when washing, and allows families to spend more time doing what we as humans are meant to do - LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE IN A HEALTHY WORLD.
In the coming months, the decisions that we make as a society, and those that the governments make, can either “lock in” economic development patterns that will do permanent and escalating damage to the ecological systems that sustain all human health and livelihoods, or, if proactive actions are consistently and progressively taken, can promote a healthier, fairer, and greener world.
While much of the financial commitments will ultimately be decided by national governments, as individuals, we must take responsibility for our choices and actions, and understand despite the circumstances that arise from those decisions, each and every one of our choices and actions will shape the way we live our lives, work and consume for years to come.
HOW TO ENACT CHANGE AT HOME
1. GET MORE PASSIONATE ABOUT PRESERVING NATURE
If you’re reading this, most likely you are already passionate about the natural world. But we, as a community, need to actually get MORE passionate about helping to preserve it. We need to “fill the gap” caused by the desire to change the environment and lack of actions being taken by many.
Climate change causes things such as changing weather patterns that can shift the geographic range, seasonality, and intensity of transmission of some climate-sensitive diseases. By disturbing the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of our natural environments, things like changes in land-use (e.g. land conversion, deforestation; water management processes, urbanization; the use of pesticides and antimicrobials, causes the migration and causes stressed environmental conditions can significantly alter disease patterns of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and compromise the resilience of the system as a whole.**
Coronavirus is one such disease that emerged from animals. Several coronaviruses cause respiratory diseases in humans, from the common cold to more rare diseases such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, as we previously mentioned, society wants changes to happen. But it’s not enough. And even still, because of government choices to eliminate the option for recycled bags in groceries stores, mandating single use plastic and masks and proliferating waste to prevent possible germs, we have slid backwards.
Since some of those changes may seem necessary now to prevent the spread of germs, we need to look at other ways we can prevent pollution and waste.
And we want the positive changes from this pandemic to continue. With a renewed focus on our values, it is those that are passionate about nature - who already are making choices at home to contribute to maintaining the environment - that can enact the most change globally.
What you can do with your passion about the environment:
- USE YOUR DOLLARS - shop companies like Nui, who are selling environmentally friendly clothing and products to lessen pollution and waste causing climate change.
- TELL YOUR FRIENDS - share articles like this and others that talk about why this is important to our global health and for future generations.
- TEACH YOUR CHILDREN - talk to your children about the environment, why it’s important to care for it, and how they are helping save it by recycling, wearing natural fibers, and spending time in it.
2. SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AND BUY LOCAL TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
It is no secret that our local small businesses have suffered greatly during this pandemic. Your support of your local economy can not only help revive those businesses but help the environmental pollution caused by shipping products across the continent, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.
3. REDUCE MEAT CONSUMPTION AND EAT MORE PLANT-BASED
Livestock sector accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of total human pollutant land use, which contributes to deforestation and decreases biodiversity. In addition to the adverse effects of meat consumption, health professionals have suggested that consuming less red meat will increase our overall health and longevity.
Growing an edible garden not only gives you chemical free, delicious and healthy food for your family, but it helps to promote natural biodiversity, reduces your carbon footprint by reducing your trips to the store, prevents soil erosion, naturally cleans the air and the ground, replenishes nutrients in the soil, and also teaches your children about caring for the environment, and gain self confidence!
5. REVIEW YOUR CLEANING PRODUCTS - PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT MAY HAVE BEEN ADDED DURING THE PANDEMIC
Many of the cleaning products we use in our homes (like soaps, shampoos, dishwasher detergents, etc.) contain chemicals, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia, that can harm our rivers and lakes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have added toxic chemicals to their homes to try to “stay safe”. In actuality, ensuring you and your family has a healthy immune system and live in an environment free of toxins, is what will protect you. This is a good time to review the chemicals in al cleaning products and reduce the harmful chemicals where we can to lessen our impact on our water
6. BE VOCAL.
As we mentioned before, if you are reading this, you are probably already passionate about you and your family’s health, the environment, and you are probably doing things within your own family that are positively impacting the planet.
But it is that gap that we spoke about at the beginning - the people that want to do something about it but haven’t taken the actions. Perhaps distracted by the commotion from the virus, or perhaps from lack of focus and knowledge on what they can do, and the difference it will make.
The most powerful tool we each have, is our voices.
“When the world is silent, even one voice is powerful.”Malala Yousafzai
- SPEAK UP - on your social media, to your friends, to your government. Write letters to your local congressman and ask your friends to do the same.
- SHOW UP - Vote for it in every way you can - national elections, council elections, mayoral elections, and even small organizational leadership. Seek ways to enact change and they will surface.
- READ UP- You vote everyday with even the smallest purchases and actions you make. Read about companies, how they are or are not taking actions against climate change (or lack thereof).
The bottom line is that we do have a choice and we CAN change the future. With who we are in this present moment, we each can leave the world a better place because we are in it.
What actions will you start doing because you want to be a part of that change? Let us know and let’s make the world a better place, together.
*The survey was conducted by Ispos online among more than 28,000 adults between April 16th and April 19th 2020.