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Living with Coronavirus

Living with Coronavirus

Sorry I’ve not posted in a while. To be completely honest, I think the world has gone mad. The Coronavirus Pandemic is all anyone is quite rightly talking about but it’s meant that I’ve become a bit lost in terms of what to write about because I became consumed with watching the news and basically freaking out.

The UK is now officially in lockdown, whatever that means. Some businesses can stay open, while others can’t. We need to maintain at least 2 metres distance between people (unless we live with those people), we need to stay at home, the government is launching huge financial support packages, grandparents are isolated from their loved ones, children have to stay at home.. the list goes on and on. It’s a tough time for us all, I’m sure. Adjusting to new ways of living – being stuck in doors when the sunshine is teasing us to come outside.

But what does that mean? We’re having to change the way that we live. I’ve had to postpone my wedding for starters which in itself was heartbreaking but still, not the end of the world. Once I’d made the decision to postpone, I was happy about it because it means that I had some control back and I had a new goal to work towards. I think that’s the big struggle at the moment, no one has any control – they don’t know when this will end and alongside that, their basic learned behaviours are forcefully being changed.

We’re having to work from home where we can for starters. Unless you are defined as a key worker/have a job where you can’t work from home, then you have to work at home. It’s that simple. I have to be honest, this does have some major perks in my opinion. Firstly, it means that we can work in our jogging bottoms but it also means that the roads will be clear. Less commuters on the road means for a short period of time, less pollution. I’ve seen so many memes talking about us letting the ‘earth breathe’. Is that true? Perhaps. Either way, it can’t be doing that much harm. Someone said to me that they thought this was a social experiment and part of the climate change revolution to get people to take notice of what is going on in the world. Firstly, I disagree, why would anyone want to release a killer virus into the world, just so we talk climate change seriously, people are dying.

Below is an image taken from The Guardian website which shows the difference in pollution levels between 2019 and 2020 for the Wuhan area in China. It’s quite remarkable.

 Pollution levels in China in 2019, left, and 2020. Photograph: Guardian Visuals / ESA satellite data

Nitrogen dioxide is produced from car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

While not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global warming.

It’s interesting because a by-product of the Coronavirus is the ability for society to see the difference and what a low-carbon emissions world could really look like.

While we’ve only just gone into a full lockdown, what’s going to be interesting for me, is what comes out of this in terms of learnings and behaviours. Are companies going to become more receptive to working from home options? Will companies undergo ‘working from home’ months in order to help the country to reduce emissions?

We’re also having to learn to live with less and doing less, suddenly materialism goes out of the window and it’s back to the basics of food and good hygiene. Panic buying in supermarkets has actually left me flabbergasted. I cannot believe that people choose to stockpile instead of only buying what they need. Now we’re all having to think about the way we shop, avoid wastage and ensure that we are doing the right thing.

This is a photo that I took while walking through the Cash & Carry Hyperama. The person with the trolley at the forefront of this photo actually asked me to move away, fearful that I would steal their toilet roll. I was astonished.

Buying local has never been more crucial. My grandparents are in self-isolation and with the lockdown, it’s unlikely that we’re going to be able to get them milk and eggs when they need it or at least as often as they need it, so they’ve reinstated their local farm to bring them milk 1-2 times a week. Local is always best in my opinion, so I was really happy to see this. I also love that they use glass bottles too.

We’re also going to have to be more creative about how we spend our time – do we read more, finally start the hobby we’ve been putting off? Plant vegetables? The time is now to really discover what makes us tick. Can we use our outdoors environment to get fit, now that gyms are closed? That in itself is not a bad thing when you think about the fact that when you go to the gym – you drive to an air conditioned building, that uses brightly lit TVs to entertain gym goers, offers vending machines with energy drinks and water in plastic bottles; it’s probably simpler to go outside for a run. Look, I’m not knocking gyms here, a lot of them are becoming more woke to the idea of sustainability.

It’s time for us to think about what we really need and what we want to get out of our time in self-isolation. I know that I ask my neighbours who are elderly if they need anything regularly, I’m looking at ways to be more tolerant and kinder to my family because we are going to be together in isolation for a long time and more than anything, I am listening to the advice and staying at home to ensure that I protect the UK’s National Health Service and ultimately, help to save lives.

We can do this.

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