World Environment Day: 9 positive things to come out of Covid-19
It’s World Environment Day on the 5th of June and we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the brighter side of things. While Covid-19 is nothing to celebrate, it is a global disaster that has laid bare the underlying challenges our planet faces. As we shift to less carbon-intensive lifestyles, cook more and waste less food, the pandemic has revealed how dramatically we can change our habits and the benefits it can have on our environment. As climate change and loss of biodiversity continues to impact the health of our planet, what can we learn from this time of crisis to make positive changes in the future? Here are 9 bits of positive news to come out of the pandemic so far.
- We’re wasting less food according to a Wrap survey. The survey questioned 5000 people, of which about half shared they were planning their meals more carefully and shopping more from their fridge and cupboards.
- What’s more, we are wasting around a third less potatoes, bread, chicken and milk – the four most commonly wasted foods – compared to before the pandemic says Wrap. Great news for us food waste fighters!
- Carbon emissions fell by 8% according to the Global cola Review with The National Grid announcing that Britain hit a new record for the longest period of coal-free electricity since 1882!
- People are cooking more than ever according to popular recipe site, BBC Good Food, who reported the most online traffic ever on the first Sunday of lockdown with 7.8 million page views in one day. People are baking more bread and cooking more from scratch with searches for ‘how to make bread’ up nearly 700% they reported.
- Air pollution in cities has dropped resulting in a reported 11,000 fewer deaths across Europe. The Centre for Research on Energy & Clean Air (CREA) also claims that there are 6,000 fewer new cases of asthma in children and 600 fewer premature births.
- Meanwhile, urban planning is underway across the world to increase cycle routes and pedestrianise our streets. In Milan, planners are reallocating 35km of street space to cyclists and pedestrians. Brussels is creating 40km of new cycle paths, while London has revealed new plans that could increase cycling by tenfold.
- The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is sharing the extraordinary ways that local farmers are helping their local communities during lockdown. From providing veg boxes to vulnerable people to donating land for community growing, read more on these hero farmers over here.
- While Covid-19 has caused huge disruption to food supply chains and livelihoods as restaurants, cafés and other food businesses close or pivot entirely, food charities including City Harvest to The Felix Project have been redirecting the surplus food to the hungry.
- Meanwhile, Hospitality for Heroes is a new non-profit through which head chefs are cooking up food from local farms (as well as food that would otherwise have been wasted) to feed NHS staff with free, healthy meals. To date, more than 50,000 meals have been delivered to frontline workers.