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Nature’s Comeback: How quarantine has ‘cleared the air’ and steps we can all take to keep it that way

Earth Day is a day to celebrate everything Mother Earth has to offer us. From awe-inspiring mountains to breathtaking rivers, we have so much to be thankful for on planet Earth and especially in our home state of Colorado. Everyone on Earth right now is not only connected by our planet, but also by this shattering pandemic. While we would never make light of this situation, we were excited to see some good news about our planet, especially today on Earth Day.

Pollution Reduction: Since the widespread stay at home orders, our planet has been able to balance out some of the strain we have been putting on her for years. We have seen a reduction in air pollution, water pollution, sound and light pollution, and we have seen wildlife return to some of its natural habitats. While climate change might not be top of mind right now, we still wanted to make note of some small victories for Mother Earth and how we can act sustainably while enjoying our regularly scheduled life.

Sustainable Actions we can continue after the stay at home order:

  • Home gardens
  • Composting
  • Recycling
  • Handmade goods
  • Home waste reduction practices
  • Less driving and more Zooming (video conference) when possible

Whether it is coronavirus or climate change: we are all in this together. 

We are going to need nature more than ever when we begin to integrate back into “normal” life. I know we have turned to the outdoors during this time to give us a break from screens and increase our vitamin D intake. We’ve learned so much about how people can come together during trying times and how adaptable the human race is. So, what can we do moving forward to continue acting sustainably while still enjoying our everyday needs and bringing some of our newly learned tactics during the stay at home order to our post-pandemic everyday life?

Air Pollution:

Air pollution has been reduced all around the world since stay at home orders have slowed emissions from cars, buses, power plants, and more. According to an analysis by Marshall Burke, a professor in Stanford’s Earth-system science department, a pandemic-related reduction in particulate matter in the atmosphere—the deadliest form of air pollution—likely saved the lives of 4,000 young children and 73,000 elderly adults in China over two months this year.

How can we continue to reduce air pollution: 

  • Think twice before we make that trip in our car and consider carpooling.
  • Consider other modes of transportation such as biking, public transportation, and walking when possible.

Water Pollution:

Maybe we have all already heard this example, but it is great to point our that the Venice waterways have cleared up in just weeks. Satellite images released by the European Space Agency show how clear Venice’s canals have become since the city went under lockdown and how animals are returning to the waterways.

Here are a few friendly reminders of how we can keep our water clean:

  • Don’t flush pills, liquid or powder medications or drugs down the toilet and avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket at all costs.
  • Don’t pour bacon grease or any fat from cooking down the drain.
  • Don’t dispose of chemicals or cleaning agents down the sink or toilet.
  • More compost and less use of the garbage disposal.
  • Minimize use of pesticides and other chemicals that can get into sewer systems.

Sound Pollution:

Listen to the birds. You can hear them now whether you are in downtown New York or the Rocky Mountains. Not only can we enjoy these peaceful sounds, but we can also predict earthquakes more precisely as the seismic readers are not competing with additional noises. Lastly, noise pollution reduction can be linked to lowering stress levels, so while we may be stressed about one thing, let’s appreciate the natural sounds the earth makes.

While there really needs to be a collective movement with this one to make a difference, always reduce your electricity use which will do your part to help reduce light and sound pollution.

Wildlife: 

While the people are away, the wildlife will play. Here in the Rockies we have seen moose, bears and more come out at increased rates as there are less people to interfere with them. Maybe they are enjoying less CO2 from the vehicles or they are less frightened, but whenever we are observing our favorite wildlife, always remember that this is there earth too, and to watch them from a distance.

The best way to protect wildlife is to preserve the environment they live in.

  • All of the actions listed above will help!
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle – I know it is cliché, but it’s true.
  • Clean up anytime and anywhere you can.
  • Never touch or get close to wildlife.

The Earth is incredible. It can heal quickly and adapt to our ever changing way of life. We just need to make sure we are keeping sustainability at the forefront of our minds as we move forward.

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