Top Image

You are here: Home / Blog / Earth Day and the Coronavirus

Earth Day and the Coronavirus

created Apr 15, 2020 12:03 PM

Earth Day posterby Shelley Brooks, Ph.D., Academic Coordinator

April 22nd marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This year, the coronavirus will prevent people from the typical gatherings that mark the celebration of our planet, and yet Earth Day is as important as ever. We have every reason to believe that deforestation and other habitat destruction, as well as altered weather patterns in a warming climate, will only increase the likelihood of shared diseases between animals and humans (like the virus responsible for this pandemic). Moreover, as tragic as COVID-19 is for our global community, scientists estimate that in the long-term we will lose many more lives to the increased storms, extreme heat, worsening air pollution, altered agricultural productivity, and sea level rise that climate change brings. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, this year’s Earth Day theme is climate action, in recognition of the pressing need to slow climate change.

In 2015 global leaders signed the Paris Agreement, committing to reducing warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages (before factories and vehicles began emitting greenhouse gases). No major world economy has yet to create sufficient regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with the global target. Some countries – like Germany and the United Kingdom – are getting close, while the United States under President Trump has decided to withdraw from the international agreement and roll back environmental protections in this country, believing this is in our country’s economic interest. Meanwhile, California, a state as populous and productive as most countries, has continued its commitment to establishing statewide regulations and laws that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, California has demonstrated that strong environmental protections and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand; in fact, California’s state economy is the fifth largest economy in the world, even larger than the United Kingdom’s. As economies around the world take an enormous hit from this pandemic, it is no small matter to consider how to reopen businesses in a safe and effective way. It may just be that this is a unique opportunity to use government stimulus aid to require transitions to more carbon-neutral business practices that will put the Earth (and all of its inhabitants) in a better place for warding off the impacts of climate change, as well as pandemics.

“Earth Day and the Coronavirus,” the new Current Context issue, fleshes out these points while providing a historical example of coordinated global environmental protection, additional links to climate change-related classroom resources, and an examination of the environmental justice components of this pandemic, which is hitting particularly hard our nation’s communities of color. This Earth Day, as COVID-19 brings the world to a near stand-still, it is a good time to take stock of current environmental protections, what still needs to be done to keep the Earth inhabitable for a growing population, and how the world can commit an appropriate level of attention to the slower-moving crisis that is climate change.

Earth Day poster by Travis Morgan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/morgantj/3454694528

 ** For additional resources, visit the CHSSP's Coronavirus Support page.

 

 

 
Recent Blog Posts
May 29, 2020
Cheers to You
Cheers to You
Read more
May 25, 2020
New Video Explores Filipino American Contributions to the Farm Labor Movement
New Video Explores Filipino American Contributions to the Farm Labor Movement
Read more
May 21, 2020
Teaching & Learning Survey
Teaching & Learning Survey
Read more
May 17, 2020
Challenge Them One More Time
Challenge Them One More Time
Read more
May 14, 2020
Choosing a Vice President
Choosing a Vice President
Read more
Tag cloud