Coronavirus’ record-breaking effect on climate change

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Juliette Ciullo

Since March 16th, Scotch Plains-Fanwood high school has closed, and its students have been in quarantine for months. The lockdown has drastically and suddenly changed life in America, highways are now empty, the economy is struggling, public health is in jeopardy, people are confined to their homes, and the majority of businesses closed down. For this reason, quarantine has been regarded as a drastically negative event, which is undeniably true, considering its impact on people’s lives and jobs. The United States, as of May 2020, has had 153,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, not including many other potential individuals that either haven’t been tested, had coronavirus and recovered, or possibly received a false negative. 
 Despite these tumultuous and challenging times, there is a silver lining for environmentally concerned citizens. Quarantine’s natural reduction of activity has greatly benefited the too often abused planet.

“Because everyone is staying home and a lot of businesses shut down, there is a lot less pollution from transportation and  companies have less to produce,” junior Abby Ryan said.   “It’s giving the environment and wildlife a chance to breathe and rebuild itself.” 

According to carbonbrief.org, “the crisis temporarily cut CO2 emissions in China by 25%, and coronavirus is set to cause the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions.” This suggests that the reduction of industrial carbon usage and transportation has contributed significantly to aiding the environment. 

“We should absolutely take the opportunity to implement better environmental strategies,” junior Mae Merkle said. “This pandemic has shown us that our country is capable of making extreme sacrifices. Economically, saving the environment is possible. It is our job as citizens to trust that this action is necessary.”

 Despite this, many experts anticipate a quick rebound, based on historical precedent,  but urge those passionate about protecting the environment to create profound change in their day-to-day life. Urgent and aggressive efforts to reopen the US economy could easily reverse these positive effects, not to mention the positive effects themselves still don’t discount the ever-growing concerns of climate change. 

“We should absolutely take the opportunity to implement better environmental strategies,” junior Mae Merkle said. “This pandemic has shown us that our country is capable of making extreme sacrifices. Economically, saving the environment is possible. It is our job as citizens to trust that this action is necessary.”