Sustainability has been a contentious topic in recent years, becoming the focus of companies, business strategies, and consumers. And then, quickly and shockingly, came COVID-19.
The emergence of COVID-19 has acted as a reset button for all of us. What used to be loud, bustling streets and long nights at the office have all of a sudden turned into silent and uneasy nights cramped up at home.
One would assume that we would redirect our attention from sustainability toward survival in an alarming and unprecedented pandemic. However, the exact opposite has occurred. The pandemic has actually exposed us to what we have taken for granted in our world.
With this, it has shown us the change that needs to occur so we, our children, and our children’s children can live in a healthy, non-toxic environment.
So, how exactly does COVID-19 have a causal effect on sustainability? As I am sure you, our reader, can relate to, the pandemic has caused us to rethink minor aspects of our lives – how we do groceries, whether or not we can send our children to school, whether or not we can visit a coffee shop to study, and even how we see our friends.
Most importantly, it has brought on larger financial, health, and lifestyle issues that we have all had to adjust to accordingly. Our experiences with COVID-19 have shown us how easily our lives can change and how we all have the ability to shape what happens next.
Whether it is by social distancing, wearing a mask, sharing information on the pandemic, supporting local businesses, or even just washing our hands.
Ultimately, the emergence of the pandemic has also led to us knowing the value and impact we can have. The threat is no longer in a foreign country or just on the news – it is at our favourite clothing store, our schools, and our neighbourhoods.
It has caused us to actually care about the world we live in because we have now actually experienced how dreadful, frightening, and harmful this way of living is. COVID-19 has made us more attuned to our health and wellness and socially conscious of our actions.
In fact, more than half of respondents to a recent survey conducted by management consulting firm Kearney said that as a result of their COVID-19 experience, they are more likely to buy environmentally friendly products! Similarly, companies want to make a difference and address the concerns people have for the future of our world and our quality of life.
As a popular Brazilian cosmetic company, Natura, perfectly says: ‘We can’t run a business on a dead planet’. This highlights how there has been a shift in how companies perceive sustainability as many CEOs have now planned to prioritize green issues post-coronavirus.
Furthermore, during the pandemic, people were actually taking advantage of the time they had at home by decluttering their closet, pantry, and more.
By donating these items to charities, they are contributing to the circular economy where things are manufactured, used for as long as possible, then recycled. This ensures that things do not go to waste that easily, therefore creating a more sustainable environment.
Additionally, COVID-19 has encouraged people to get outdoors where there is lots of room for social distancing. By gardening and picking up garbage at a local park more often because of the pandemic, we are promoting a sustainable lifestyle as we are subsequently taking care of our environment and cleaning up after others.
Think about the last purchase you made! Well, chances are it was probably made online. Being stuck at home has allowed e-commerce businesses to thrive, and the environment has followed.
When you make a purchase at a brick and mortar location, there are a lot of negative pollutants and wasted energy associated with the purchase. Just think about the electricity being used to keep the store open! Or how about the gas you use driving to the store. And on top of that, how about all of the emissions released with every employee coming to work at the store.
You might not think of these things right away, but shopping online is proven to be more sustainable and saves a lot of time and energy.
Now, on the topic of the environment, check out this video that aired on CTV News about the beneficial side effect that COVID-19 has had on Canada’s air quality and climate.
As you can see, the pandemic has changed the way we complete everyday tasks. I believe that this more sustainable lifestyle will continue not only throughout 2020, but for the next few years, and even longer.
We can all do our part to save the planet during this unprecedented time. And remember, wear a reusable mask, stay home, and maintain social distancing. Together, we will overcome this virus!
This article was inspired by the Eco Garden Future Sustainability Scholarship. Check out their website here: https://www.ecogardensolution.com.