As we navigate through a global lockdown with Covid-19 exploding into our lives, diaries are emptied of social & sporting engagements, kids activities are cancelled, school's are out and many businesses are shut down.  It's a challenging time for everyone, everywhere.  

When change is forced upon us and disruption occurs, taking us outside of our daily norms and making us step outside our comfort zone, we can use this time to assess what these changes really mean to society and the roles we all play within it.  

Earth Hour is celebrated every year on March 28, encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30pm, bringing our attention to the effects our behaviour has on our changing climate.

Although COVID-19 and climate change are quite different, what this virus has proven is that our health and wellbeing trumps everything.  Climate change is a slower burn versus Covid-19 but equally destructive, the difference being there will never be a vaccine to halt climate change as there eventually will be to halt Covid-19.   

The World Health Organisation have voiced their concern on the global response to Covid-19, that there has been “alarming levels of inaction.”   It’s what we often hear about the global response to Climate Change. “Both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss and only in hindsight will we really understand what we gambled on and what we lost by not acting early enough.” Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Unfortunately, our inaction is a result of the way we are wired, if something isn’t immediately affecting or threatening us, we can question it’s relevance and often downplay the outcome even if conclusive research suggests otherwise.  With climate change having the potential to wreak far worse havoc on our health and livelihood and killing more people than COVID-19 - what this disruption has created is an opportunity to reset the trajectory we are on.

Already, in such a short time, we are seeing the benefits this global pandemic is having on the health of our planet.  With airplanes grounded, non-essential factories and businesses shut down and people confined to their homes there has been a steep drop in carbon emissions and other pollutants - our planet has been given a reprieve and the chance to breathe as the shackles have temporarily been released. 

But how long will this last ?  There is reason to think COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change as it’s reached into everyone’s life and affected everyone regardless of age, nationality or status.  

This Earth Hour, while we all sit in isolation in darkness, think about what a new norm could look like and the long term benefits of living more sustainably.


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Photos: Thiago Gomes, Tai S Captures, Pablo Heimplatz, Unsplash

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