BY SOFIA MENDEZ
These are difficult times for the world as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. The number of infections and deaths is increasing day by day, many cities and even countries are in quarantine and millions of people are forced to isolate themselves. However, amid all the disturbing news, there are also reasons to find hope.
As all countries go into quarantine for the virus, there have been significant drops in environmental contamination levels. Both China and northern Italy saw major collapses in levels of nitrogen dioxide and a toxic gas that severely pollutes the air. In addition, there has been a reduction in industrial activities and car pollution. This is so significant since India has the world’s worst reports of air pollution.
“People are reporting seeing the Himalayas for the first time from where they live,” lead analyst at the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air Lauri Myllyvirta said.
In a similar case, residents of Venice, Italy, noticed a vast improvement in the water quality of famous canals that run through the city.
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, this allows the sediment to stay at the bottom.”Spokesperson for the Venice mayor’s office
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, this allows the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesperson for the Venice mayor’s office said. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
While millions of people are at home in quarantine, many are also seizing the opportunity to be creative and open-minded. Social media artists have shared details of their new hobbies at home such as reading, knitting, baking and painting, and even have had virtual meet-and-greets.
For example, Massimo Bottura, world-renowned Italian chef, has begun posting cooking tutorials on his Instagram in a series he created called #KitchenQuarantine. In the videos, he teaches basic recipes for those stuck at home, including almond gelato with pistachio sauce, besciamella sauce, tiramisu and many more.
Among celebrities, there have additionally been multiple celebrity concerts to support a cause. The eight-hour “One World: Together at Home” event, which was organized by the anti-poverty organization Global Citizen, brought musical legends like Lady Gaga, Lizzo, John Legend, Celine Dion and Billie Eilish along with other artists to raise money during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to highlight the gravity of this historical, unprecedented and cultural movement.”Singer Lady Gaga
“It is so important to think globally and support the World Health Organization to curb the pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” singer Lady Gaga said. “We want to highlight the gravity of this historical, unprecedented and cultural movement.”
Furthermore, pop stars such as Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, country singer Keith Urban, Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz and Colombian singer Juanes, all presented live concerts from their social media accounts to combat the boredom that comes with self-isolation.
Besides the impacts of COVID-19 on 2020, the Australian wildfires in January affected the globe, too. Although this was a catastrophe, destroying 18 million acres of wilderness and causing around $3.5 billion in damages, citizens of Australia and all over the world came together as one for relief efforts. With the volunteer support, such as America firefighters who flew to Australia to help stop the fires and the millions of people around the world who have contributed to donating, the ecosystem has slowly shown signs of recovery.
Clearly, 2020 has shown a different way of looking at things; it has changed lifestyles and people’s perspective when analyzing all the events that have happened. Amid the craziness of the pandemic and other catastrophic events, humanity has continuously risen and united in many ways. What remains now is to continue taking care of each other and ourselves, maintaining social distance and believing that good things will soon come in the future.
Illustration by Sofie Kahlig