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500 Words: Day 5 World

The Virus has adversely affected humanity, but positively affected the environment. Is there a world in which these positive effects can be preserved after lockdowns end?

Submitted by Chassis

In the year 2020 a pandemic spread across the world putting humanity in a standstill. The life before, during and after the pandemic will become one of the defining moments for a generation creating ripples that will have long lasting effects on society moving forward. The pandemic not only changed the basic landscape of how society functions, it had severe structural effects on the government and economic machine. The pandemic proved that most of the world isn’t ready for a wide scale crisis which was reflected in how poorly the government was able to roll out preventative measures in slowing down the spread of the virus. Another issue that occurred was the downward spiral the pandemic created economically for large portions of the world. A vast majority of essential and non-essential work was prohibited due to the possibility of infection. In time this will become another point in history where future generations will have a choice to heed the mistakes we’ve made or ignore them and suffer the consequences.

There is however, a side effect to the pandemic that has manifested due to the drastic measures humanity has taken to decreasing the spread of the virus. During humanity’s time in isolation nature has adapted. The reason behind this is simple, with the world in lock down there are less human variables affecting the natural balance of the world. Before the virus human intervention was one of the largest causes of destabilization in nature. Let’s take for example the logging industry, as a whole mass deforestation has upset the natural ecosystem of many plants and animals, which in turn yielded mass extinction of certain species while also affecting the climate. The loss of unique plants and animals are a direct example of human intervention being a detriment. While things like climate change are slow and have longer lasting effects on the world for an extended period of time. Now that we’re living in a time with minimal human interaction we’ve seen small isolated incidents of nature reacting to our sudden disappearance.

The way I think the pandemic lifestyle has benefited our environment is very minor in the larger scheme of things. The decrease in air pollution is a sign that people are currently driving less, however, in the broader view once the shut downs have ended cars will be back on the roads again, returning air pollution back to their levels prior to the pandemic. Animals have had to adapt to humans not providing them free food in more modern environments by having to relearn how to hunt, but once the crowds return animals won’t have to rely solely on hunting anymore. Panning out on an even broader scale, the planet is resilient and will continue to thrive long beyond any single human lifespan. The truth that I think is the most relevant during this situation is that the small changes we’re experiencing are only fractions of a moment in the lifespan of our planet. Not counting a world ending event created by humanity nature will bounce back over time, just not during out lifetime unless we do something about it starting now.

The best thing that can be learned from and internalized by people once the pandemic passes is that our mindset has to change. Humans are by nature self-centered, however much we want to believe that society is changing for the better, we still have room to grow. A major event like the pandemic may become the fulcrum for that change, as people begin to realize how much we can affect others in such tangible ways. Especially when a single cough can mean a death sentence for someone else. That being said, as cliché as it may seem humanity needs to become the change they want to see in the world. By having a unified mindset towards preserving the planet we currently live on we can decrease the chance of destroying ourselves through our own selfishness.

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