While much of the world is stuck in quarantine, many of us are just thinking about two things: when is this going to end, and what should I watch next on TV? Movie and television streaming services, already on an upward trend for the past decade, are enjoying popularity like never before. CNBC writes that in their Q1 2020 earnings report, Netflix told its shareholders that their membership growth “has temporarily accelerated due to home confinement.” Other services are enjoying a boost to growth as well.
Coronavirus and the Environment
However, it’s important not to let the current crisis distract us from the most pressing long-term threat humanity faces: climate change. As many have noted, the global trend of reduced transportation and production due to coronavirus is already having a noticeable impact on the environment. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported a decrease in air traffic worldwide by a whopping 60%.
And it’s not just air traffic that has been reduced. With 80% of all American products being delivered by trucks, any slowing or halting of domestic manufacturing and imports is immediately felt on the road. This temporarily lessened need for distribution means fewer ozone, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions.
However, unless we emerge from this crisis with more stringent pollution regulations and other environmental protections, this effect will be temporary. Furthermore, these changes alone, while certainly a step in the right direction, are not enough by themselves. We need action at the individual level and focus on green living if we are to tackle climate change in a meaningful way.
If you have been wondering how you can make changes in your own life in order to help mitigate climate change, you can use this green living list to get yourself started:
Tips for a Green Quarantine
Be strategic with dishes
For just about everyone, being stuck at home means cooking more than ever. While it’s important that we all try to support our favorite local restaurants as they try to navigate this partial economic shutdown, staying home all day means that we’re spending more and more time in the kitchen. This can be a great way to save money and eat healthy, but it does have a less enjoyable side-effect: more dirty dishes.
To do your small part to practice green living and help our planet, try to wait until your dishwasher is at full capacity to run it. While it can be tempting to run a cycle after lunch to get your plates, pots, pans, and silverware clean and back in their respective cabinets, try to wait until night time. Dishwashers use up a lot of electricity, so not only will you be conserving water but you’ll be reducing your energy bill as well.
Limit your driving
Food can be one of the greatest obstacles to green living. Purchasing products from the grocery store with excessive food miles contributes greatly to pollution, as do multiple trips to the grocery store per week. Add in trips to the gym, which most members visit at least twice a week, as well as various other errands, and you have a green living disaster. When you can, try to bike, walk, or use public transportation.
Use energy-efficient bulbs
Surveys have found that 48% of home-buyers rank energy-efficiency as the most important quality a home can have. Regardless of whether or not you’re thinking of selling your house, using fluorescent or LED bulbs is a quick and easy green living step that anyone can do. Eventually, bulbs will pay for themselves with the energy savings.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to green living ideas, but hopefully it has gotten you thinking about new ways that you can do your part to protect the environment. In many ways, lockdown has given us a special opportunity to reevaluate the way we live our lives. Let green living be at the forefront of these reflections.