Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 8

How the Environment Can Benefit from a Lack of Humans

Graphic by Luke Theodossy

As quarantine goes on, we’re beginning to see pictures of once densely populated urban areas completely empty; the effect this has on the environment is outstanding.

One of the most prominent stories is that the Venice Canals are now clearing up. Venice is a city in Italy famous for the canal that runs through the entire city. The canals used to have problems with litter and other forms of pollution, but since Italy went on lockdown, the once cloudy water looks completely different. Major News stations are reporting that schools of fish are visible and that dolphins were seen swimming in the ports. The lack of tourism is most likely the cause of all of this so we will have to wait and see if tourism is handled more carefully in the future in Venice

Another environmental change occurring is the worldwide lowering of greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the reasons are the declining need for oil and reduced air travel. The BBC reported that New York, one of the states most affected by COVID-19, is seeing a 5-10% drop in carbon dioxide emissions. The Hill is reporting that 2020 could be the biggest annual drop in carbon dioxide emissions at 5%. China has had a 25% decrease in emissions. The drop of emissions, sadly, will only be temporary and amounts are sure to shoot back up as soon as economies re-open throughout the world. The last time the world has seen a drop this big was the 2008 financial crash and the fall of the Soviet Union. 

It’s kind of sad that we only see drops in greenhouse gas emissions during global crises such as the Coronavirus, but we could use quarantine as an example to remember to be environmentally conscious and try to limit your carbon footprint.