At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, widespread lockdowns saw a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and pollution. However, this was temporary. Cities and countries have since reopened and the smog has returned with a vengeance. With the exception of these short-lived benefits, the pandemic has been an overall detriment to our environment.
Waste has grown exponentially with single-use PPE and disposable gloves, masks, and cleaning supplies becoming commonplace. Businesses in countless industries have bypassed emissions regulations and environmental laws as the government continues to relax sanctions. And with everyone’s attention focused on COVID-19, illegal miners, loggers, poachers, and wildlife traders have slipped under the radar.
This is on top of the last four years of environmental rollbacks, sold public lands, and eliminated climate policies from an administration that has shown a complete disregard for science.
So how can we help the environment, but also do our part for public health? How can we protect our planet and minimize the spread of the pandemic? Here are some low-risk ways you can take action:
1. Contact Your Representatives And Senators
Call or email your government officials. Let your voice be heard. Advocate for positive, impactful legislation. Demand government accountability for environmental rollbacks.
There are a lot of seats up for grabs this November – on a local, state, and national level. Do your research and make sure the candidates you choose on the ballot have a history of supporting clean energy, climate change policies, and sustainable practices.
3. Go Garden And Go Local
Eat local and eat seasonal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Start your own vegetable garden. Source your produce, baked goods, teas, honey, and more from your local farmers market growers and vendors, many of whom allow you to preorder online for pick-up or delivery for a contactless, risk-free experience.
4. Mitigate The Meat
Reduce or eliminate meat in your diet to save the animals, lessen your carbon footprint, conserve water, and keep the air clean. Try plant-based alternatives.
5. Get Sewing
Fight corona and waste. Make and wash your own cloth masks instead of using disposable ones.
6. Greener Products
From cleaning products and soap to toothpaste and shampoo, there are numerous sustainable brands that keep you germ-free and fresh without putting more harmful chemicals into the environment. Next time you run out of a household or hygiene product, consider ordering eco-friendly substitutes.
7. Cut Energy And Water
Get energy efficient appliances. Turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. Replace your light bulbs with LEDs. Line-dry your clothes to diminish dryer usage. Take shorter showers. Do laundry all at once in big loads as opposed to many small ones. Don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher and washer at night when there is less demand on the energy grid.
8. Reduce Waste
Diminish food waste by not overbuying. Avoid purchasing packaged and non-recyclable items. Instead of single-use cleaning supplies, employ reusable alternatives. Start a compost. Recycle and repurpose.
9. Join Or Organize Local Cleanup Projects
This activity is a perfect, risk-free way to clean up our world during a pandemic: masked, outside in the fresh air, and socially distanced. Our neighborhoods, parks, and beaches will thank you.
10. Help Parks And Preservation
Donate to your local, state, and national parks, as well as your nearby conservatories and nature preservation societies.
11. Give To Environmental Charities and Advocacy Groups
Go online and contribute funds to vetted environmental causes which use the majority or all of their financial donations to directly support the cause.
12. Sign Petitions
There are countless online petitions fighting for environmental causes, from preventing logging and drilling on our public lands to saving endangered animal species. Find causes that are near and dear to your heart and get signing.