hen lockdown began, climate scientists were horrified at the unfolding tragedy, but also intrigued to observe what they called an “inadvertent experiment” on a global scale. To what extent, they asked, would the Earth system respond to the steepest slowdown in human activity since the second world war? Environmental activists put the question more succinctly: how much would it help to save the planet? Almost one year on from the first reported Covid case, the short answer is: not enough. In fact, experts say the pandemic may have made some environmental problems worse, though there is still a narrow window of opportunity for something good to come from something bad if governments use their economic stimulus packages to promote a green recovery. During the northern hemisphere spring, when restrictions were at their strictest, the human footprint softened to a level not seen in decades. Flights halved, road traffic in the UK fell by more than 70%. Industrial emissions in China, the world’s biggest source of carbon, were down about 18% between early February and mid-March – a cut of 250m tonnes. Car use in the United States declined by 40%. So light was humankind’s touch on the Earth that seismologists were able to detect lower vibrations from “cultural noise” than before the pandemic.
Guardian 29th Dec 2020 read more »
2020 may not have turned out to be the year of environmental action many were hoping for, but it has not been a total disaster. Amid the gloom of a global pandemic, green news has provided some bright spots. For many of us, being forced to slow life down and spend time closer to home this year has reshaped our relationship with nature. Visits to urban parks soared, as people depended on local green spaces for exercise and mental wellbeing. “People are getting excited about local nature, where they live or can walk or cycle to,” Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, told i earlier this month. “People are starting to celebrate and understand, not perhaps the most spectacular nature, but the nature close to where they are.” That could lead to a boom in conservation and rewilding projects in towns and cities across the country, he predicted, galvanising a new wave of environmental activists.
iNews 29th Dec 2020 read more »
British wildlife has had a boost this year thanks to lockdowns which have provided rare sightings of peregrine falcons, grey partridges and other species. While peak breeding season in Spring is normally the start of the holiday season, the early lockdown allowed wildlife and plants to thrive, the National Trust said in its annual review of the year. In the Peak District, curlew were heard in normally busy areas and seen nesting or feeding, while stoats, weasels and hares emerged from the woodlands of Plas yn Rhiw, on the Llyn Peninsula, to explore the Trust’s gardens. Images of wildlife escaping from their usual confines as people stayed indoors were among the highlights of the early lockdown for many people.
Telegraph 28th Dec 2020 read more »