What can we learn from coronavirus about climate change
The novel coronavirus is an unprecedented global disaster, affecting countless lives around the world. It’s completely new territory, full of complex problems that we don’t have all the answers to yet. It seems like every morning there’s tragic new developments that threaten the way of life so many of us have had and benefitted from.
Wait - why does all of that sound so familiar?
If we hadn’t explicitly named the infamous COVID-19, that could just as easily have been about the ongoing climate crisis we’re facing. How can that be, when one is bushfires and sea-level rise and the other is face masks and self-isolation? Surprisingly, for two global issues that are so different on the surface, the current pandemic and climate change actually have a lot more in common than it would seem.
How are they the same
It’s the global, humanity-threatening, life-changing nature of both where the big similarities lie.
Despite quarantine efforts of countless countries, both series of events are completely borderless. The same way just one person crossing over can soon affect an entire country, floods and fires have equally little concern. Both climate change and the virus don’t care about your nationality or your passport, they’ll hit you regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.
They’re also life-changing. Surviving through either is not business-as-usual for the people experiencing it. While we’re still trying to understand the new reality being rendered by the coronavirus, it’s already apparent that our lives will not be the same. Those directly and indirectly impacted by climate change events will face the same disruption.
How are they different
While those similarities are pretty damning, obviously there are certain distinctions, and not just because one is a deadly virus and the other is an anthropogenic environmental phenomena.
The main difference is the time. COVID-19 is highly infectious, spreading through populations at lightning speed. In less than 4 months, the world has been brought to a standstill. This is contrasted with climate change, which has only been having major impacts in the past few decades, despite starting over 200 years ago.
Another is the economic impact. Corona shuts everything down, with businesses grinding to a halt and unemployment soaring. When everyone needs to take a sick day for months on end, unfortunately, there’s little else to keep the economy going. Climate change, on the other hand, is actually a major opportunity for the global economy to transition to clean industries and technologies.
Despite these differences though, the similarities are far more evident and also much more valuable.
While it’s hard to think of anything positive coming from COVID-19 right now, if nothing, it can serve us as a learning experience. The same ways we’re solving the pandemic, collective action, disaster management, government cohesion, are the same we’ll need to solve the climate crisis.
And while compost may not be quite as useful as a vaccine, it is pretty helpful to stave off the boredom in self-isolation. Find out more about how we're making it easier for you to start here and make sure to stay posted on our socials - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.