BYO Cups Banned! How Covid 19 might impact the climate emergency
Updated: Mar 12
This week Dave was adamant I write about the plight of his trusty Keep Cup as it was refused at Starbucks on Monday due to the threat it might pass Coronavirus germs on to staff. Here's a link to the Forbes article which shed some light on that particular decision.
It did get me thinking...
Some pretty crazy things have happened this week as a result of Covid 19. From the cancellation of international acts, major sports events, large religious gatherings and festivals, to the closure of schools and universities all over the world. On Tuesday we read about the biggest stock market crash since 2008 along with a massive slump in the price of oil, and then yesterday the grim news from Italy of the restricted movement of their entire population, 60 million people.
While world leaders are doing their best to assess risk and are making some of the most drastic interventions we've seen outside of war time, I am left wondering - why is this alarming worldwide event so different from the climate emergency? Why isn't action on global warming and the threat to our very species not treated with this measure of seriousness and urgency? Why in the case of Covid 19 is the scientific community able to hand over their results and have measures put in place, pronto!?
Scientists continue to raise the alarm, asserting that we are way off track the Paris target (based on the current trajectory we are headed closer to a 4ºC increase). They maintain that Climate Change is a far greater threat to us than Covid 19. It's somewhat ironic then, that the coronavirus impact is inadvertently (if only momentarily) reducing carbon emissions more than any policy yet created by any government, anywhere. Read more about that here. This is a clear indication that the only thing we're lacking in terms of action is the will to take it on.
Could coronavirus be the tipping point, the way for leaders to visualise a different future and to recognise that they do have the power to act if they’re convinced it’s the only option.
The emission reductions that have already resulted from coronavirus lock downs (like global air traffic decreasing 4.3% in February) will not save the planet from its present warming trajectory. What it may do however is to show us there is another way, and that making what may have once seemed unimaginable changes to our way of life is actually becoming a necessary part of our new normal.
While coronavirus continues to spread and we do our best to limit devastation and loss of life, can we also hope there’s a light at the end of this murky tunnel. Could Covid 19 be the catalyst humans need, empowering us to demand an immediate and radical response to a far greater crisis.
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