World Earth Day 2020 - Klaatu barada nikto
A recent YouGov polled 4,343 adults and remakably, just 9% want things to 'go back to normal' after coronavirus lockdown, citing cleaner air, more wildlife and feeling a stronger sense of local community.
With thanks to the lockdown, an array of photographs showing the positive environmental changes across the world have been released. There has been a significant improvement in air quality, from Los Angeles showing blue skies to Jalandhar in India. For the first time in 30 years, residents in the Punjab can see the beautiful Himalayas! In Krueger Park, South Africa, images emerged of a pride of lions laying on a concrete road, enjoying the warmth of the asphalt. In the capital of Corsica, Ajaccio, wild boar take advantage of a lack of people and walk around. Further, Conservationists in Florida have stated that sea turtles have been thriving during the lockdown measures, with Venice having reported more fish, ducks and dolphins in the empty canals, thanks to the reduction in boat traffic.
Even here in the UK, after speaking to colleagues in London, one remarked that you can now see the stars at night and hear bird song again. Moreover amusing photos of mountain goats roaming the streets of Llandudno in Wales were shared widely on social media.
With half the world's population on lockdown, wild animals can once again roam freely in many cities and regions usually bustling with people. Despite lockdown measures being temporary, one can only hope that our hearts have been warmed by these events, and that being with family, and enjoing the smaller things in life, will carry us through into a new way of thinking post pandemic. Over the past six weeks, our lives have been turned upside down, its time to think about the positive changes we can take from this experience.
Pondering late at night, the movie - The Earth Stood Still – came to mind and Klaatu’s conversation with Professor Barnhardt quite nails it:
Professor Barnhardt: There must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve our problem.
Klaatu: Your problem is not technology. The problem is you. You lack the will to change.
Professor Barnhardt: Then help us change.
Klaatu: I can not change your nature. You treat the world as you treat each other.
Professor Barnhardt: But every civilization reaches a crisis point eventually.
Klaatu: Most of them don't make it.
Professor Barnhardt: Yours did. How?
Klaatu: Our Sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive.
Professor Barnhardt: So it was only when your world was threatened with destruction that you became what you are now.
Professor Barnhardt: Well that is where we are. You say we are on the brink of destruction and you are right. But it is only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don't take it from us, we are close to an answer.
It’s an ironic coincidence that this once-in-a-lifetime moment is happening around the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on 22 April. These glimpses of a cleaner planet illustrate the challenge of cleaning the Earth up for the long haul, and HEMP CAN LEAD THE WAY as part of a green recovery.