24 March 2020
Bhubaneswar: It is often said that nature has its own ways of reminding humankind that it needs to preserve and respect resources. Coronavirus pandemic has triggered panic globally, forcing a majority of global population indoors.
Now when so many of us, who were moving out regularly on their vehicles, public transport, working at factories, are staying at home due to lockdowns, nature has begun to breathe. So does the flora and fauna, which are relishing their share of Mother Nature, with freedom.
Social media has been flooded with pictures and videos which show that birds, wildlife and aquatic species that were not daring to venture into human territory have started to appear in the open. They are out to announce their rights over nature and the environment.
World has slowed down, so nature is breathing a sigh of relief.
On March 13, the European Space Agency posted a satellite video of the skies above Venice, which "reveals a decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions," since January. Another ESA video posted Thursday shows a drastic (frankly, almost unbelievable) reduction of nitrogen dioxide emissions above the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai, since December.
Nitrogen dioxide is a harmful emission produced by burning fuel at factories, power plants, and driving vehicles — activities that have dramatically decreased since countries instituted shutdown measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
It is interesting to see how nature seems to reassert itself as human activity ceases. Perhaps it is Earth’s way of telling us to check exploitation of the planet. It is time for priorities to be re-evaluated, change our ways of lives and nurture nature which has protected us for ages.
Coronavirus has claimed 15,433 lives till Monday night and many are battling death as we speak. However, human beings are natural fighters and have evolved over the ages. We have learnt the art of survival. It is vital to find solutions in order to contain Covid-19, and halt its spread to the best of our ability.
But while we wait for more effective methods, it is also worth shifting our attention to Mother Earth’s call. Humanity will eventually halt the spread of the virus, but its effect is going be felt for generations. The past few weeks have demonstrated humans can, and will, radically alter habits, lifestyles, and patterns of behaviour when needed.
All said and done, it is imperative that we use the lockdown period effectively. Connect ‘virtually’ with family and friends. Send messages, make calls, read books, take care of parents and grandparents. By staying indoors, we will not only keep ourselves safe, we will also do our bit in healing nature.