Coronavirus Lessons Apply to Muted Earth Day Celebrations

Earth Day
Photo credit (Getty Images)

Like so many aspects of life right now, celebrations for Earth Day are bound to be disrupted worldwide by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know Earth Day events across the Bay Area won't be the same.

In many cases, they have been replaced by online, at-home activities.

While the shelter-in-place orders have led to less car pollution, Conservation International’s Shyla Raghav said that won’t have the long-term impact you might think it does.

"They’re likely just going to be temporary, and we haven’t really, as a society, made the systemic shifts that are needed for these gains to persist or be sustained in the long term," Raghav said.

This year’s Earth Day theme is climate change.

Raghav thinks the coronavirus pandemic could have long-lasting effects on the climate.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 15: Protesters carry signs as they march during the Youth Climate Strike on March 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"Support natural climate solutions, which includes planting of trees, restorations of natural ecosystems, and protection of standing forests," Raghav said. "Because a third or more of the solution to climate change comes from protecting and restoring nature."

Of course, Raghav thinks there’s always more we can do as a society.

"Clean and renewable energy; greening our agricultural system and our food system through regenerative agriculture and towards more of a plant-based diet," Raghav said. "Shifting to public transportation and the reduction of overall consumption [of items> like plastics."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Hear more of Raghav's interview here.

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