The coronavirus pandemic is one of the worst global emergencies we have ever faced. Within three months, the disease has spread to over 170 countries, infected more than 1,054,392 people, and claimed over 55,719 lives. It has forced people around the world to stay home and practice social distancing. Streets have become empty, and the global economy has nearly shut down. On the flip side, reduced economic activity has slowed down carbon dioxide emissions, which is beneficial for the environment. But that’s not all. Experts have pointed out that this pandemic could actually help us fight climate change and teach us a valuable lesson.
The COVID-19 pandemic can teach us a lot about how we should tackle other global crises. Experts have found many parallels between this pandemic and the threat posed by climate change.
According to experts, there are many similarities between the dangers of COVID-19 and climate change. For example, they are both global and affect every single country on the planet, meaning they share a similar magnitude. Secondly, different countries and communities may experience the effect of each crisis with varying levels of severity. For instance, during the current lockdown, wealthy people can simply stay home and not worry too much about their jobs. However, those who depend on daily wages are struggling to make ends meet. Similarly, climate change affects developing nations, especially those in Asia, disproportionately.
The third similarity is that in both the crises, the importance of government becomes apparent. The government’s response to the situation can decide how well a nation and its citizens will cope with the crisis. For example, when the outbreak first occurred, Wuhan reacted pretty swiftly. They readied their hospitals and showed an earnest rush to develop a vaccine. On the other hand, the governments of nations such as Spain and Italy were pretty slow in their response, which caused a massive loss of life. In many ways, the global response to climate change has been sluggish, and in some cases, it has been downright obstructionist.
Contemporary society has an aversion to preparedness, which leads to a slow response to crises.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We have all heard this popular saying, but few of us truly understand it, and fewer live by it. The reason prevention does not sell is because we cannot measure its success rate. Climate change experts have witnessed the same problem. Not everyone believes in climate change, but we have started to see some of its long-term implications. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that governments fail to take action before it is too late. Many nations have taken way too long to start emergency protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Similarly, there have not been too many meaningful actions on climate change.
However, this pandemic might open our eyes and help us understand that the effects of climate change are not at all farfetched.
Since we cannot see or smell greenhouse gases or feel their impact right away, many people fail to understand why it is necessary to reduce them. A lack of understanding has led to climate-change denial. However, maybe this pandemic will be able to open people’s eyes and make them think about the extreme weather episodes that we have experienced over the last five years. Perhaps, that will make them believe in the long-term consequences and overall impact of climate change. So, it is likely that governments will take notice and act accordingly.