Will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the environment?


Odds are, by now you’ve seen one of those graphics with images comparing light pollution or carbon emissions before and after the coronavirus led to global quarantining. Those drastic differences between early 2020 and the same time a year ago make one wonder what the real impact of those emissions decreases is.

Here, Martha Henriques, a science and environment journalist based in London, explores the environmental impact of COVID-19 for the BBC.

Through some pretty interesting studies and input from experts in fields of sustainability and epidemiology, Henriques is able to put this pandemic into historical context. While research shows that the drop in emissions might not be as pronounced as even the financial crisis of 2008, there is evidence that some environmentally friendly human behaviors brought on by the coronavirus could turn into lasting habits.

Of course, no positive environmental effect of this pandemic could ever be viewed as a win in the face of the staggering loss of life caused by it. Yet, as shown by the way people have come together to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save the infected, it’s clear that community action has incredible potential, which is a positive sign for the future of the planet.


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