The World is Closed for Renovation!

Let’s wait for an early Grand  Reopening!

By Pradeep Chamaria

The 18th day of Lockdown in New Delhi, India, and I am feeling restless. I came out for a walk in my backyard garden, and what I saw really amazed me. Sparrows, which I have not seen in ages were feeding in the bird feeders and playing around. The chirping music was so soothing that I just sat there and enjoyed nature’s concert.

The garden smelled differently too, the fragrance was different, the sky was more blue, leaves more green and flowers much more brighter with loads of butterflies romancing and busy in collecting pollen from the flowers. I have never experienced such a happy spring in my entire life and I started thinking – HOW?

Right from the fourth day of closing down of offices, factories, and with no traffic on the roads, the effect on Air quality was really incredible. I have never noticed such a situation in last 25 years. When I checked up with the pollution agencies, I found that New Delhi has seen such low AQI levels after a long long time. It is noteworthy here that over the last few years New Delhi has been severely hit by dangerously high AQI levels during these months.

I realized how badly we needed a lockdown though with reasons not as bad as those of Corona lockdown. The instant effect of a lockdown was best seen in my country – India. India went into complete lockdown from March 25 after having an experimental lockdown on March 22. And I am proud to be an Indian, we have surprised the world!

This left me thinking about the wrongs that we have done to the climate and the environment around us. We, the humans, in a race with others and to find luxuries in life have been ruining the lives of other inhabitants of this planet. Birds had vanished from our daily lives; we have build houses in areas tress-passing the land belonging to the wild; even in the ocean we have laid down immense amount of pipes for oil and gas explorations, etc. We keep on discussing the deletion of the ozone layer and also global warming, but we never care to reduce the luxuries which can easily be lowered and help cut down on harmful gas emissions, etc.

Yet, no amount of improvement in our climate justify or make up for the lives lost, and pain that the people are going through because of this Corona, but still I guess it’s time we start paying attention towards this too.

All of us are facing the gloomy times that not even our grandparents have seen.  I guess, this is the time we should learn from the situation. We have been negligent of the damages that we were doing to the environment around us, but this COVID crisis shown us what shouldn’t have had been done.

Effects of Corona

I consider life to be a two sided coin – let’s call them positive and negative sides and we face both during our lifecycle.

There had been a lot bad things happening around other than a million affected and thousands of deaths around the world. We are already facing economical meltdowns, piling up of huge garbage dumps of disposable crockery used in place of regular common crockery to avoid spreading of virus etc., growing piles of possibly infected waste like tissues and old face masks, etc.

Also the positive effects like the drop in CO2 emissions as factories are shut and the economy sputters are temporary as once we are through this problem, it is quite likely we will observe a round of so-called retaliatory pollutions as factories will be maximising production to compensate for their losses and this certainly will reverse the environmental gains. This is a tested and proven pattern and this post – corona scenario can be a big environmental catastrophe.

But I still feel that every dark cloud has a silver lining and there certainly gotta be more positivity during these calamity times.  We are already seeing the correction in the Ozone cover of earth, thinning of the global warming movement, and low level of pollutions because of the lock down. There is reduction in the number of airborne pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxides. The energy consumption is plummeting due to closed commercial organisations by as much as a quarter to 30%.

Satellite images from NASA and the European Space Agency have shown a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution during these months as many countries have adopted lockdowns.

The lockdown is a great opportunity for data collections for Pollution and Global Warming studies. The weather has suddenly turned favourable; we are experiencing cleanest possible air; the waters in the lakes, rivers and ocean are cleaner, and our kids can enjoy nature’s soothing music played by the band of birds.

We have already experienced the animals reclaiming the empty streets and without us humans in the way nature is thriving.  There have been reports of sighting wild animals on the streets of metropolitan cities, exotic ocean life near the coasts and most importantly the unobstructed season of Turtle egg hatching and reproduction in Indonesia and the coasts in Odisha, visibility of the Himalayan ranges even from areas as far as 300 KMs in India, and so on…

Celebrities, leaders, and spiritual leaders all over the world have been mentioning about many positive effects on planet earth and, Dr Priya Kaul, a Siritual healer and Hope Creator mentions some of them, “As air around the world is getting cleaner, less pollutants entering the sea, streets are less noisy. Families are spending time together, less planes flying around the world, luxury cruise ships are not dirtying up the sea, and people are looking at local solutions for needs. Even the eating habits are changing. The hectic pace of the world has slowed down significantly. We’re breathing consciously. Grateful for being alive.

Yes, we will overcome the scare of this virus sooner or later But I hope before we jumped upon to previous lifestyle we use this time as an opportunity to introspect to know slowing down is not a bad thing, and now stop try overtaking nature by manifolds. It’s right time to be calm and pray; it’s time to do a detailed analysis of our lives and create a harmonious balance with other stakeholders of this planet.”

The question popping in front of me is – Can the corona crisis help our planet to breathe again?

The Covid crisis has made it clear that we can do things differently and now we should take measures so that we do not go back to the status quo, we simply cannot do that. Covid-19 crisis has presented an opportunity to build a greener economy.

What should we do

Let’s not Worry, everything will be all right, it’s just that God has given us a time-out to spend some love times with your near and dear ones.

Let’s all utilize these times to spread love around us and chill out. We should use this time to enjoy the smell of coffee, take a longer time in hot showers (I am sure everyone wants to do that, at least I always wanted to do so) and so on. We should thank god to have given us this opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones, have long conversations with them and hug them. We should be grateful for doing that, and also thank god for making us one of those lucky people who have been given the opportunities, good food, loving family and all other luxuries of life. You see, there are many many people out there who don’t even get two meals a day. We should cheer people who are helping others in the pandemic times. We should feed the stray animals on the streets.

Because, the biggest opportunity the Coronavirus is giving us, is the chance to get closer to one another. It is forcing us to work together. More than ever in the past few years, this situation is making sure that mankind is caring for one another and we’re reconnecting on a deeper level with each other and the world around us.

This gives me hope for the future. Hope that on a global scale, we CAN accomplish things together.

If good times have not stayed with us, Bad times will also go.

Let’s all pledge – We shall Overcome, We will overcome… SOON.

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