Amidst the daily COVID-19 news and press conferences, travel restrictions and hospital case reports, there are some silver linings making the rounds on Twitter.
Nature seems much better off with humans stuck at home.
To be clear, a pandemic is not the solution to climate change. Locking ourselves away for the foreseeable future does not even remotely resemble a solution, and we have the technology and knowledge to address our environmental issues without widespread human suffering.
But COVID-19 does afford us a peek into what happens when humans take their foot off the gas — literally and figuratively.
Once the crisis gets under control and the dust settles, we should reflect on what it means for our relationship with other Earthlings (and our fight against climate change) when a week of staying a home has such a big impact.
If we just gave nature a little bit more of a chance — work remotely a little more, run errands more efficiently, make some other small changes in behavior — we could do a lot of good.
An important subtlety here is that humans are not intrinsically bad for the planet. But many of the things we do carelessly, like burning huge amounts of fossil fuels to commute, producing plastics and other materials that will never break down, and importing food from the other side of the world because it isn't in season, take their toll.
Maybe we should re-evaluate the systems we rely on in our global society, and how we can adapt them.