Have you ever looked back on an event in your life and known that you were meant to be at that exact place, at that exact time? Something you did in that moment that changed the course of your future? A defining moment of your life?
What if COVID-19 is our defining moment? A time when we have been given a chance to start over and make right by Mother Nature. A time to get back to the basic joys of life.
In a time of uncertainty and fear, there are actually beautiful things happening all across the world. Carbon dioxide levels are down, animals are taking back the land and waters they once called home, families are spending time with one another, and people are rediscovering the wonder of the outside world. It’s almost as if we have gone back in time to a simpler life.
It’s a refreshing change from the light speed pace most of us have been living.
Now I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the conveniences I enjoyed before the pandemic started, (notably finding toilet paper) but I think this moment is giving us something that few people rarely see in their lifetime…a second chance.
The famous Venetian canals are usually packed with boat traffic and overrun by throngs of tourists. With the quarantine in place, the canals have sat empty, allowing sediment to settle and offering residents a unobstructed view. Pictures from the Facebook group Venizia Pulita have stunned the world by showing schools of fish and swans swimming lazily through the famous canals. Just weeks ago, that sight would have been unfathomable. And while the clarity of the water is not necessarily because the water is cleaner, it is giving us a glimpse of what could be.
In an interview with CNN, a spokesperson for Venice confirmed that air quality has improved in the Italian city, giving residents the breath of fresh air they could use right now.
Dolphins were spotted in the capital and port city, Cagliari, after ferry traffic ground to a halt and tourists stopped flocking to the Meditteranean island. While dolphins have been seen around the island, it is extremely rare to see one within the port, swimming right up along the sea walls.
Emissions are down across the country. Drastically. According to a report by Carbon Brief, CO2 emissions are down a full 25%. In fact, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment reported that the “average proportion of days with good air quality in 337 cities was up 11.4 percentage points from the same period last year.”
As factories were shut down and people got off the roads, nitrogen dioxide emissions also went down across the entire country, as this photo by NASA shows.
Nitrogen dioxide over #China has dropped with the coronavirus quarantine, Chinese New Year, and a related economic slowdown. https://t.co/URfLNy0GZJ #NASA #COVID2019 pic.twitter.com/PM60uL772K
— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) March 4, 2020
And its not just the environment that has taken a turn for the better either.
People are getting outside and enjoying the outdoors more with their family. As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the perfect time to take a walk or a bike ride. Many people are taking full advantage of their new work-from-home status and getting out for a little fresh air. The National Park Service has also waived all entrance fees for the parks that still remain open, giving people the opportunity to get out of their houses, but also stay at a safe distance from each other.
A ton of educational resources for our children are now also free. Zoos have introduced live streaming and museums have virtual tours available for everyone. Video conferencing companies like Zoom have made their platform free to everyone so that we can stay in touch with our families and friends. People are flocking to libraries to pick up books and dvd’s. When was the last time you heard about a mad dash to the library?
Communities are coming together as well, to support local and small businesses. Neighbors are checking in on each other and making sure the elderly have the essentials they need in order to stay safe and not leave their homes. Grocery stores are opening early for the at-risk population and giving them a safe place to shop.
Music and singing can be heard from balconies and award-winning musicians are streaming live “concerts” from their homes. In Rome, where residents are on a complete lockdown, musicians like Fabio Marziali are playing uplifting music from balconies just to bring a smile to people’s faces.
Despite the social distancing, it seems we have somehow managed to actually become closer to each other. And while the reality is that COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees and upset our lives, its also taught us to slow down and cherish what’s in front of us. These are definitely anxious times we are facing. I can’t help but wonder if we’ve been given a second chance, though. A reset button to be more caring for both each other and our environment. The only question now that remains is, are we ready to push it?
For live updates on the Coronavirus situation around the world, please read our article here.
Italy is being hit hard right now by COVID19 and nobody feels the effect more than the health workers fighting the virus. In this eye-opening interview an Italian doctor and nurse explain what their daily life is like on the front lines.
Make sure to check on your local small businesses during this time of closure. If you want some ideas on ways to help them out, we have listed a few of them for you here.
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