The latest strain of coronavirus has grasped the attention of the entire world. And it has sparked some correlations with the problem of climate change.
Just like with climate change, not everyone seems to be taking the virus seriously. Many younger people were trying to book cheap vacations because they knew that they had little chance of dying from the virus that mainly kills the elderly and sick. In a way, this is a reversal of the focus on climate change, which is usually a bigger concern for the young.
Just like with climate change, many governments around the world, did not seem to be taking it seriously either and have been slow to act. So much so that they have no doubt exacerbated the situation. And yet, do they see that this is also the case with climate change? Can lessons be learned from the pandemic that can also be applied to climate change?
In some ways, this crisis may be seen to help with the climate issues we are facing. There has been a decrease in CO2 emissions as people have stopped flying or commuting to work. However, I have read that the crisis will also be bad for the climate crisis effort because there will be less funding or political will to do something about it.
And then we go back to the individual. We are all being asked to stay home, to keep social distance in order to help with this problem. With the virus, we can see in real time, how this would be a problem. The issue with climate change is that the effects are too slow to be seen. Somehow people cannot grasp how their actions may influence the situation because there is a delay in the cause/effect chain.
Yet, we have also seen the herd nature of humans. When some people go to the store to stock up on toilet paper, suddenly everyone rushes to do so, even if it isn’t entirely logical. I think it’s like if one animal starts running, the rest will too because you don’t know if there is a lion. You just get the hell out.
And here is where we can see the potential for helping the climate. If we take advantage of this human herd instinct. If enough of us are making changes to help the environment, more will probably follow. But I think people will need to see it as a threat first.