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How COVID-19 Has Bettered Our Global Environment

Let’s be honest: Enduring the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely not been easy. However, finding the good in the bad is how I’ve managed to adopt a positive outlook in a time of such negativity. While the impact of the virus hasn’t been completely promising, there are some visible and substantial changes that are worth noting in regards to the virus’ effect on our global environment. 

It’s not surprising that the international lockdown in mid-March of last year prompted a decrease in carbon (CO2) emissions. While the PPM (parts per million) of CO2 stood at 414.74 in March of 2020 and 417.64 in March of 2021, the growth rate of CO2 has seen a steady drop across the board. Most of this can be attributed to stunted travel, limited social interaction, and spiralling economic patterns, amongst other things. In a video with BBC, Future Planet covers the relationship between CO2 emissions and quarantine, arguing that “we could see long-lasting positive environmental change after the pandemic” depending on our steps in the coming months. 

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Additional results of this drop in CO2 emissions are visible to the human eye. For example, there has been a huge reduction in water pollution across the globe. The most notable is Venice, Italy, where the water has become clear and clean once again after years of contamination. Another example in regards to air pollution is in Asian countries where the smog that once covered city skylines has now disappeared for some time. In a report by CNN, research shows that this shift in air quality has impacted 84% of countries worldwide. However, while this is great to hear, environmental scientists find that this will only be a temporary halt unless we continue to reduce our emissions once life returns to its original state. 

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These events may seem small scale, but are extremely valid in the grand scheme of global climate change. The possibility of its reversal/mitigation is dependent upon our actions as an international community post-COVID-19, should we continue to pursue a more eco-conscious identity. This is entirely manageable, we just need to put it into practice and perspective. 

Ashley Rooney

U Mass Amherst '24

Ashley is a freshman studying political science and international relations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is considering a minor in journalism. Born and raised in Boston, MA, Ashley enjoys the urban life, but spends her summers working on Cape Cod, offering her a nice break from the buzz of the city. She is a coffee connoisseur, dog lover, and avid historical drama watcher.
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