Earth has seemingly come to a standstill in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve seen cleaner air and happy animals, but it’s clear our global efforts to unite still fall woefully short.
Wednesday 22 April is Earth Day 2020, an annual initiative that began in 1970 to drive positive action for our planet. The past year has seen devastating evidence about the trajectory our planet is on. According to the UN, the current pace of emissions could warm the planet by 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, causing millions of people to have to abandon coastal areas due to rising sea levels, and rendering vast swaths of land uninhabitable for wildlife. On the bright side, young heroes like Greta Thunberg have emerged as the voice of reason (and rage) necessary to galvanize action and unity, but it’s clearly an uphill battle in the fact of some obstinate, out of touch government leaders buoyed by nationalist sentiment. (We feel fortunate that Singapore does not fall under this category, but as a Little Red Dot on the map, our individual efforts can only get us so far…)
A common rallying cry during Coronavirus has been, We’re all in this together! Just like this insidious virus, climate change does not recognize borders and boundaries. It demands total unity, whether it’s all of us taking small steps to change our daily habits, or banding together to lobby governments and other global organizations for large-scale policy changes.
As billions of people have stayed home over the past couple months, as planes have stayed out of the sky and cars have stayed off the road, we’ve seen promising glimmers of nature flexing its muscles. Polluted air that exacerbated Covid-19’s effect on people’s health is beginning to clear up. Lions are lounging on the roads in South Africa, and chickens are exploring the CBD here in Singapore (though sadly these benefits to wildlife have been vastly overstated). However, only with concerted and sustained action on a global level will be able to effect real change. Let us see stay-home measures as a wakeup call to the fact that we don’t need to consume nearly as much as we thought.
At Sassy Mama we (and our readers) spend an awful lot of time thinking about our children. Consider Earth Day – especially this Earth Day 2020, where we have the opportunity to be at home with our loved ones and mindfully reflect on how much the world very clearly needs to change – an opportunity to start fighting for a better future for our children. May they never have to confront a devastating global pandemic, or fear for their own children’s safety and wellbeing. Just like the fight against Coronavirus, the battle against climate change requires personal sacrifice and doesn’t always render easy choices. But they are necessary choices, and they are choices that we can no longer put off or ignore.