Week 11:

Environmental News: “Here’s What a Coronavirus-like Response to the Climate Crisis Would Look Like”


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world right now, I wanted to look at it from an environmental perspective. This article does exactly that by discussing the unprecedented global mobilization we witnessed in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It argues that aggressive steps like this have not been taken in an attempt to deal with the climate crisis, but that investing in solar and wind power, switching to electric cars, and mandating more efficient buildings in a similar manner would be far less disruptive than our current situation.

Several scientists were asked about their views on a coronvirus-like approach to dealing with climate change. One noted that narrowly addressing root causes is not enough. For example, with COVID-19, officials have not only tried to slow the spread of COVID-19, they have also suspended evictions, guaranteed paid sick leave, and proposed sending cash to Americans. Essentially, dealing with climate change would require similar actions. “We can’t really solve the climate crisis without having support for people’s healthcare and support for people being able to survive wage-wise and job-wise.”

Additionally, scientists note that we can learn a valuable lesson from the COVID-19 situation: confronting a crisis is far more difficult and expensive when it is already on your doorstep.

They also comment that these two issues are similar in the idea that they both require inter-generational solidarity. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, young people are staying in to prevent spreading the disease to their parents and grandparents, who are more at-risk. With climate change, it is older generations who are being asked to protect the planet for their children and grandchildren.

This article makes the statement that, clearly, we can ask people to make radical changes that we would not have thought possible, and they will do it. So why is this not the case for climate change and the environment?

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