Lockdown Diary Of A Teenager: Coronavirus helped nature heal. We must learn our lesson too

Arshya Gaur
Arshya GaurApr 24, 2020 | 19:21

Lockdown Diary Of A Teenager: Coronavirus helped nature heal. We must learn our lesson too

Covid-19 has been a curse for humans but it has proved to be an elixir for nature.

Many times, I find myself thinking about the so-called beauty and miracle of nature. At least for my generation, this idea of a pure and harmonious environment seems like one of those fairy tales out of a children’s storybook. How can we even be blamed?

We have spent our childhood living in a city where walking on the streets seems like punishment because of the poor air quality and filthy surroundings.

The daily articles in newspapers about the rise in pollution levels, the excessive heat due to global warming; the culprits behind which were increasing CO2 emissions a fast deteriorating ecosystem, are ‘normal’ for us.

Repeated reading of articles on environmental degradation has almost no effect on us after a while as they are seen as the processes, and are seen as inevitable and irreversible. The stories recited by our grandparents about the days where hearing a honk in the vicinity was a rarity and breathing clean air was a basic human right and not a privilege, were not relatable to us - until now.

yamuna_690_042420060850.jpgOur rivers are clean but we can't step out to see them. (Photo: Reuters)

The coronavirus has evidently played the role of a cunning villain to decide who shall bear its brunt. While it has been a curse for humans, it has proved to be an elixir for nature. Through the vast number of WhatsApp forwards and pictures taken by photojournalists, we can see the glorious impact of the lockdown on the environment. In a way, nature is giving us a taste of our own medicine; while we feel suffocated and gasp for relief as we stay ‘trapped’ in our homes, the trees, plains and water bodies celebrate freedom from the cruel hands of humanity.

Taking a look outside the window today provides us satisfaction along with great misery and helplessness. As our eyes are exposed to the sight of trees dancing with happiness with their ever-vibrant foliage, how we just wish we could go outside and enjoy the nurturing shade of the trees and stare with awe at the clear blue sky in which the clouds for once look like they haven’t been saturated like raisins. But alas! We now reap what we sowed. Our history of insensitive and careless actions has denied us the permission to now savour the miracle of nature, which was considered to be a sight of yore not too long ago.

The abundant evidence such as the return of dolphins in the canals of Venice, the view of the magnificent Himalayas from Jalandhar for the first time in 30 years, lions and cheetahs casually roaming the streets, all show the benefits of the absence of human intervention in the environment. Michael Gerard, an environmental law expert at Columbia University, said, “It’s the worst way to experience environmental improvement and has shown the size of the task.”

I couldn’t agree more. All these signals from nature demonstrate the amount of sacrifice and days of effortless commitment that it will take to ensure such a revival in nature continues for a long time. It is up to us now, whether we choose to either do something to change our actions for the better after the lockdown or continue on the path to global doom.

It is reassuring to see that in the challenging times of the coronavirus, some people are doing their best to pay attention to aspects of environmental preservation. For instance, along with posts that encourage people to wash their hands, people are simultaneously encouraging others to turn off the tap to prevent wastage of water while washing hands frequently. More and more people are realising how they have unnecessarily used cars to travel when they didn’t require it. The fact that people have realised that being on the move all the time not only has adverse effects on the environment but also on their wallets, is in itself a big achievement. It is these efforts of self-introspection and correction that will help us achieve our goal to mitigate the impact of global climate change.

While we all sit idle at home, intensely wishing to step outside to relish this beauty of nature, the least we can do is to think and put our thoughts to action to ensure that we live long enough to see that day for not one, but many days to come.

Last updated: April 24, 2020 | 19:21
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